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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 18, 1997
                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT 
          Today, my Administration is transmitting to Congress 
     legislation to reauthorize both the Export-Import Bank of 
     the United States and the Overseas Private Investment 
     Corporation (OPIC.)  I am also asking that my requests for 
     these agencies and for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency 
     (TDA) be fully funded.

          These three specialized agencies play important 
     complementary roles in helping U.S. firms compete for valued 
     export markets.  Never in our recent history have exports 
     been more critical to American economic growth and to the 
     creation of high-paying U.S. jobs.  Other major trading 
     countries rely heavily on government trade and finance 
     agencies to help their companies compete in the world's 
     fastest growing economies.  Because of our efforts over the 
     past four years, the United States has signed more than 200 
     new trade agreements and is once again the world's leading 
     exporter.  We need Ex-Im Bank, OPIC and TDA to help maintain 
     that position and continue to create good jobs for our 

          The appropriations for these agencies are relatively 
     modest, particularly compared to the benefits of increased 
     export growth that ripple throughout the entire U.S. 
     economy.  Each of these programs delivers public benefits by 
     expanding U.S. commercial opportunities abroad, helping meet 
     competition from other countries, and broadening the base of 
     U.S. export-oriented businesses.  Each has taken steps to 
     streamline its own operations and improve its coordination 
     with other agencies.  My Administration stands ready to work 
     with Congress on ideas for further improvements that will 
     yield even greater benefits for the American economy.