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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 2, 1995


Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will lead a Presidential Business Development Mission to Haiti March 7-8 in conjunction with the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce. Deputy National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, more than 20 business executives, and Members of Congress will meet their Haitian counterparts and officials of the Haitian government.

The Mission caps U.S. efforts thus far to promote the recovery of the Haitian economy and provides a starting point for continuing progress in this area. Members of the Mission will participate in the inaugural session of the recently-organized U.S.-Haitian Business Development Council which seeks to promote ties between the U.S. and Haitian business communities. Individual U.S. business participants will discuss ongoing and future business opportunities with Haitian business leaders.

This Mission takes place against a background of political and economic developments since October 1994 which have set the stage for economic progress. The U.S.-led Multinational Force has established conditions in Haiti which have allowed the beginnings of economic recovery.

The Haitian government has moved to implement the program of economic liberalization which it discussed at the August 1994 Paris meeting of the Consultative Group. This liberalization of its economy will provide a freer, more competitive atmosphere for business development. Haitian government actions to lower tariffs, sign the Uruguay Round, reach an understanding with the IMF on economic policy goals and consider moves toward privatization of state enterprises provide grounds for confidence in the future course of the Haitian economy.

The international community has provided substantial economic assistance to Haiti already and pledges made at the January meeting of the Consultative Group totaling approximately $1 billion are an indication of continuing positive interest in participating in Haiti's development.

Signs of progress have become visible in Haiti in the past several months as markets have reopened, agricultural exports have begun to increase and the assembly sector has shown signs of growth. The Business Development Mission will seek to build on this progress and intensify efforts to promote economic growth. Mission participants include, among others, representatives from tourism, energy, communications, agriculture and the assembly sector -- key areas in Haiti's future economic development.

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