THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TAPED RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
The Map Room
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. It's good to be back home after my trip this week to Russia and Ukraine. I went there to join with two of our brave allies in World War II to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our victory over fascism in Europe.
Just as we did here at home this week, people all over the world remembered the sacrifices that protected our freedom and made our world more secure. But I also went on this trip to make Americans more secure in the future.
I want to take a moment to report on some of the highlights of my meeting with Russian President Yeltsin that will increase our security.
First, he agreed to move ahead with Russia's participation in the Partnership for Peace. That's the military cooperation program between NATO and other European democracies, who all pledge to respect each other's borders and to work together to strengthen collective security in Europe.
Second, President Yeltsin agreed to cancel the sale of nuclear enrichment technology to Iran, which clearly could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Third, we agreed to ask the Special Commission, headed by Vice President Gore and Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, to look into whether Russia's sale of nuclear reactors to Iran could help it produce nuclear weapons.
Fourth, we resolved outstanding issues that will help lead Russia to close down conventional arms sales to Iran.
Fifth, we agreed to begin visits to biological weapons factories this August as a part of our common efforts to reduce the threat of biological and chemical weapons proliferation. This has particular importance to us now in the wake of the use of poison gas by a radical group in Japan's subways, and indications that such groups all over the world are working to get access to chemical and biological weapons.
And sixth, in light of the tragedies in Oklahoma City and Russia's plague of organized crime, we agreed to share technology and information and law enforcement resources in increasing our common efforts to combat terrorism and organized crime.
One other important decision this week will also help to make this a much safer world for many years to come. The United Nations agreed to make the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty permanent. This treaty has been our main weapon in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for 25 years. And now it will be in effect indefinitely. This was not an easy fight to win, and I am very proud that the United States led the effort to extend this essential and powerful tool in our common efforts to make all Americans and all people throughout the world more secure.
This week, besides working for a more secure world for Americans, we've also worked to open economic opportunities for our people throughout the world. The United States is deeply committed to open and fair trade among the nations of the world. That's why I have fought so hard in the last two years for the largest market opening initiatives in over a generation -- NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agrement; the GATT world trade agreement. I've worked to get our partners through the Asia Pacific region and here in our own hemisphere to commit to free and fair trade by certain dates. And that's why I have fought to eliminate Japanese trade barriers that shut out competitive American products made by skilled American workers.
We've concluded 14 results-oriented agreements in 27 months to open Japan to everything from our apples to our rice, our telecommunications equipment to our construction services. And these agreements are beginning to pay off in terms of jobs and profits here in America.
But when it comes to selling cars and auto parts to Japan, we are still hitting a brick wall. Foreigners have about 30 percent of our market, but only 4 percent of Japan's market, both for cars and for car parts. We've been hitting that brick wall long enough. Now we must act to protect and create American jobs.
In the United States, auto and auto parts industries employ nearly 2.5 million Americans and account directly for 5 percent of our total economy. But because of all the other products purchased by automakers, when we sell more cars, it has a positive ripple effect throughout our economy.
Our efforts to open Japan's markets as wide as ours is good for American workers and American companies. It's also good for Japanese consumers, who today pay much higher prices because of their trade barriers.
Opening Japan's markets is a win-win situation for everyone. But old habits and entrenched interests die hard. For more than 20 years every American president has wrestled with this problem. Our administration has talked with Japan for 20 months now. But there's a big difference between talk and results. I am determined to open Japan's auto market. That's why I've asked my administration to draw up a list of potential sanctions to impose against Japanese imports. We are prepared to act and we will act soon if we must.
We don't want a trade conflict with Japan, but we won't hesitate to fight for a fair shake for American products. And I want to emphasize two things -- we seek no special preference for American cars and auto products over those of others. We want all -- all countries to have equal access to Japanese markets. We'll always take our chances with fair competition.
I also want to emphasize that Japan is a valued friend and partner. We cooperate on many important issues, including efforts to open trade in other areas and to advance our common security interests. Japan should join us again. Together we must make sure that the future is not only safer and more secure, but also prosperous -- more prosperous for the American people and for people throughout the world.
Thanks for listening.