THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Denver, Colorado) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 19, 1997
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL JIM STEINBERG, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY DAN TARULLO AND TRADE AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY
Colorado Convention Center Denver, Colorado
6:00 P.M. MDT
MR. MCCURRY: Our purpose right now is to give you a readout on the meeting the President just had with Prime Minister Hashimoto. The two had planned to meet for roughly a half an hour, but as they joked with each other the list that they had to get through was considerably longer. They also, given the personal relationship they had, I think they enjoyed the conversation enough that it went on considerably longer, so that they meeting lasted an hour and 10 minutes -- considerably longer than we had planned.
And I've got a triple-header briefer here -- Dan Tarullo, Jim Steinberg, and Ambassador Barshefsky, who can answer questions about the various aspects.
MR. TARULLO: Let me start off with two areas -- one the discussion of the upcoming summit by the two leaders, and the second, the economic issues. The conversation on the summit was, as you can imagine, not particularly long. The Prime Minister indicated his desire to support the President's efforts to get some of the statements out from the summit that we want to get. He also indicated a particular interest in working -- in the discussion on the environment that we'll be holding on Saturday afternoon, emphasized the importance of the 8 speaking with one voice on a number of important environment issues because of his sense that the 8 needed to provide leadership. The President indicated his thanks to the Prime Minister for the support that Japan has offered during the preparatory process and also his expression of support for the summit.
On economics, the President raised two topics: one, the general issue of trade and, secondly, civil aviation. On the subject of trade, generally, the President observed that over the course of the last year and a half or so trade had not been a front-burner, front-page issue, that things had actually progressed quite well; indicated his concern that some recent indications are that there may be large trade surpluses on the not too distant horizon; indicated that he welcomed very much the agreement that Ambassador Barshefsky and her Japanese counterparts reached in the wee hours this morning; indicated further his hope and expectation that there would be early progress resulting from this agreement and suggested that Charlene and her counterpart report back to the leaders as quickly as possible.
He further indicated his continuing hope that Japan would adopt and maintain the kinds of policies which support strong, domestic, demand-led growth in Japan.
The Prime Minister, on the economic subjects, responded by, first of all, saying that the deregulatory program he had announced was very much in the interest of Japan and that it was important for Japan to continue to follow through with it, and that within the context of their deregulatory program they were pleased to have the United States as a friend offer advice on the deregulatory approach and to conduct a structured dialogue along those lines.
On civil aviation, the President indicated that the United States continues to believe that an open skies policy is the best policy in our bilateral aviation relationship, as well as more generally. He further -- he indicated an understanding that Japan was not prepared to move to an open skies agreement, at least not right away, and indicated the willingness of the United States to discuss interim or transitional measures.
He also made the point that there had been outstanding for some time now problems with our cargo operations through Japan, that he thought it was very important that those problems be resolved expeditiously. The Prime Minister, in response, repeated the Japanese position, which we have heard, that they are not prepared to accept open skies. He did indicate a readiness on the part of the Japanese government to discuss all the issues, including the cargo issues. The President commented that our people were putting together another series of talks and should be meeting again soon. The Prime Minister, indeed, had suggested that through the Transport Ministry and the State Department they continue to have conversations.
He indicated further that Japan was prepared to consider -- I'm sorry, prepared to deal with the cargo at the Federal Express issues and hoped that that could be done in the context of the overall discussions.
That was pretty much it for the economic and environmental discussions. There was -- probably I've summarized it more quickly than the trade discussion and the little bit of the history of where we would come, and the Prime Minister, I might note, handed out to those of us in the meeting an English translation of his deregulatory and reform plans. This was a slight difference from the meeting we had in Washington, where in the Oval Office the Prime Minister handed out a set of papers suggesting why there was no problem in the U.S.-Japan trade relationship. This time there was a suggestion that the structural reform papers were part of the solution.
MR. STEINBERG: The two leaders also spent considerable amount of time talking about key regional and global foreign policy issues of concern to them both. They began with a brief discussion of the defense guidelines review. The President noted that the review -- his satisfaction and pleasure with the progress in the review and the interim report, which he said he thought was very well received and represented real progress in implementing what the two leaders had agreed to at the Tokyo Summit in terms of bringing a fresh perspective to our security alliance, and stressing the fact that it was an alliance that was not directed at any one country, but rather designed to enhance regional stability, and looking forward to the completion of the guidelines review.
He next turned to a discussion of Korea, and the President briefed the Prime Minister on our discussions in trying to get the four-party talks started between North Korea, South Korea, the United States and China, and his hope that we would be able to move forward in the not too distant future with further work in terms of getting those negotiations begun.
They had a long interchange on China. The President told
the Prime Minister about the fact that the vote had been scheduled on
MFN and his hope that we would be successful in extending MFN to China
when the House takes this up. He stressed the importance that he places
on the MFN vote as a part of our
overall strategy of engagement with China and noted in particular the importance of maintaining that strategy in the upcoming reversion of Hong Kong.
He indicated to the Prime Minister that he was very much looking to make sure that China upheld its commitments under the 1984 agreement with the United Kingdom and the Basic Law and asked that, as the Prime Minister prepares for his visit to China, that they have a common message about their joint desire to engage with China, but also to make sure that China lives up to its commitments and try to pursue a strategy of bringing China into the broad international community in both political and economic institutions, including into the WTO with an effective and commercially meaningful agreement that would assure market access for foreign companies seeking to trade in China.
The Prime Minister also gave his views about what he saw as the evolution of China, its importance in the region, and the need to pursue a strategy of engagement.
They also had an extensive discussion about the U.N. The President briefed the Prime Minister on the recent action of the United States Senate in adopting a plan to pay off the U.S. arrears. He noted that this was a particularly significant development in that it was a bipartisan agreement that gained the support of a number of people who in the past had been reluctant to support the payment of the arrears, and he thought that this represented a significant breakthrough in terms of the U.S. ability to participate, and sought the Prime Minister's support as we move forward with reforms as outlined in the Senate legislation and also in a reduction in the U.S. assessment.
The Prime Minister, in turn, stressed the importance to Japan of seeking a permanent membership in the Security Council, and both the President and the Prime Minister agreed that that would be an important objective for them both as we try to strengthen the United Nations for the next century, and promised to try to work together on a strategy to bring about Security Council reform, including Japan's membership as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Let me just say one other thing in connection with the China MFN vote. A number of question have come up and I just want to say a word about the President's decision which he indicated in a letter to Speaker Gingrich on the administration's decision to try to move to 24-hour-a-day Mandarin broadcasting on Radio Free Asia.
We consider the broadcasting efforts as a very important part of maintaining our commitment to try to increase information to the people of China. We think that the year-old experiment with Radio Free Asia has been enormously successful and that there's a need to expand that. It's an idea that the Speaker has had for some time and which the President has in general terms indicated his support for, and we're now prepared to move forward, working with the Congress, to find the funding to go to 24-hour-a-day Mandarin broadcasts on Radio Free Asia, as well as significant additional broadcasting in Cantonese and Tibet, as well.
And I think this reflects a common commitment to try to find an effective strategy to reach out to the forces of democracy and human rights in China, and a part of a dialogue that the President engaged in last night with the members of Congress who came to discuss them with him -- and a real sense that these kinds of efforts can have a real impact in China.
MR. MCCURRY: I think because of deadline pressure we'll go
to questions. Ambassador Barshefsky is here and can tell you more about
the deregulation agreement reached in the wee hours of this morning. We
have put out a transcript of the
little session she had out at the speech site earlier, but if there are any specific questions on that you can direct those to her.
Q Ambassador Barshefsky, the Prime Minister seemed to take exception to the description of the agreement as one that gives the U.S. an advisory role. What kind of a role -- how would you describe it?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: The role is as described by Dan; that is, that the Prime Minister through this agreement has invited the United States to participate in helping Japan to formulate deregulatory initiatives in the sectors covered by the agreement. And those sectors include telecommunications, medical-pharmaceutical, housing, financial services, competition policy, distribution and transparency.
Obviously, the United States is not going to dictate to Japan what it should do, but we will have a series of negotiations to hammer out measures which we believe Japan should take to deregulate its markets in a manner that both promotes consumer choice and domestic prosperity in Japan, while at the same time -- and this is the important point -- while at the same time providing for increased market access for U.S. and foreign equipment and service providers.
MR. TARULLO: If I could just add something to what Charlene said, because I think at the pool spray the Prime Minister seemed to hear someone suggest that we were saying we were going to supervise the deregulatory process. And in his response you'll note he said, we're not going to be supervised. But actually in the meeting itself he indicated that the U.S. would be offering advice on their deregulatory approach within the framework of a structured dialogue.
Q On the environment, you said the Prime Minister raised the environment. Did he specifically press the President to endorse any particular position as to global warming? And, if so, what was that position he pressed?
MR. TARULLO: No, he did not press a particular position on global warming. In fact, he did comment that he thought it was important that there be realism about the eventual proposals that are made. He was most concerned, I think, with a discussion among the leaders that focused on the issue and how we're going to move forward from here to Kyoto. He emphasized the Japanese role in hosting the climate change convention in Kyoto, which he I think looks at as the culmination of this negotiating process.
Q What do you think he means by realism?
MR. TARULLO: I don't know.
Q Well, you told us that he -- does he mean go slow?
MR. TARULLO: I'm not going to characterize what the --
Q Did he use the word "realism"?
MR. TARULLO: No, he said -- let me try to give you as good a quote as I can. He said that -- what he actually said is that, whatever agreement we reach should be one that would actually be implemented and enforced.
Q If I could ask you on the trade thing, did they -- I'm not clear -- did they simply agree things are looking better? Or did they specify the areas where things are looking better and areas that need improvement?
MR. TARULLO: On trade?
Q On trade, excuse me.
MR. TARULLO: On trade. No, on trade the President made his observation that the recent trend in the bilateral trade figures from Japan was a grounds for concern and, in that context, indicated both the importance of domestic demand-led growth being established in Japan and of the deregulatory process that the Prime Minister has launched. And this framework for consultations on which Charlene negotiated yields some early results.
They did not go through a list of sectoral issues. Civil aviation was discussed, but not the spec sectors that Charlene mentioned.
Q Did the President question any specifics of, for instance, why the government had increased the sales tax, which certainly would not have a stimulative effect on consumer buying, for instance?
MR. TARULLO: No, he did not question specifics, which is in line with our general approach on these matters. We are interested in policies that result in a strong domestic demand-led growth position. What the mix of -- particular mix of policies is, is obviously going to be a matter for the internal political process of Japan to decide. The importance and the emphasis is on the outcome and the impact of those policies on their macroeconomy.
Q Why is there so much emphasis on that if there's not a lot they can do outside the deregulation? Their interest rates are low, they've got the banking problems there -- what action do you want them to take other than this structural adjustment that's going to take multiple years to affect the trade position?
MR. TARULLO: We are not at this moment asking for a specific action. What we're indicating is that the trend of the current account surplus is one that gives significant grounds for concern and asking that the Prime Minister adopt and maintain policies that maintain domestic demand led growth.
Now, let me add, the Prime Minister, himself, has agreed -- has stated in the recent past that that is, in fact, his aim.
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: Can I just add to that, simply by saying that the deregulatory initiative is one element in a range of actions that we've taken to promote market access in Japan in order, in part, to bring down Japan's surplus with the United States. So we have not only the 24 agreements that we've negotiated, many of which were under the framework, which resulted in an average increase overall in exports of 85 percent in the sectors covered -- which is about two and a half times our rate of growth of exports to Japan in general -- but also, as you know, we've taken Japan to the WTO on distilled spirits market access, a case which we've won.
We've just asked for a WTO case on Japan's varietal testing of agricultural products. This is a very big issue with respect to our agricultural market access. And we have very strong views that we will win that case, as well. And, of course, our general enforcement efforts with respect to the agreements already negotiated. In addition, as you know, we have further deregulation that's occurring under the auto agreement, as well as further market opening initiatives in a variety of other sectors under the framework.
So all of that is being conducted. What we've added here is a specific input into Japan's own deregulatory process in an effort to enhance not just the aspect of deregulation with respect to the sectors at issue, but to ensure that deregulation actually leads to market access for U.S. and foreign producers.
Q How is that different from supervision? What is in that versus supervision?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: Oh, I think what Prime Minister Hashimoto was rightly sensitive to is any notion that the United States would be dictating the content and bounds of Japan's own deregulatory efforts. On the other hand, as he said to the President, he welcomes United States advice.
He looks at the United States economy, he sees an economy that's had extraordinary economic performance. He sees an economy that is largely open and that is highly deregulated, and he wants to know how we did it. And if you look at the sectors that are covered by the initiative -- sectors like telecommunications, where we're the world leader, financial services, where we're the world leader; housing construction, where we're a world leader, and so on, you can see that Japan wants to absorb that input from us.
Japan has specifically committed in the agreement that in the context of these discussions and negotiations, they will undertake measures to reduce the prohibitive effect on imports of their current regulatory regimes in these areas.
Q -- government was going to ask Japanese exporters to restrict export activity in order to forego trade --
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: No, that issue never arose.
Q May I ask one overview question -- for the average person out there looking ahead as the summit begins tomorrow, now that you've had this for today, how would you assess as the summit is beginning a sort of overall perspective of this -- for the average person?
MR. MCCURRY: That requires someone who is not an expert or doesn't really know much of anything. The President is delighted with the fast start to this summit, very warm and fully engaged conversation with one of his counterparts. Tomorrow, as Boris Yeltsin joins this group, metaphorically and physically, for discussion, it will be an opportunity for these world leaders to talk about how they can build stronger economies that benefit all of their citizens and ultimately benefit everyone in the world that sees the fruits of an expanding global economy.
Is that close enough?
Q Could Jim get a little more particular?
MR. MCCURRY: Let me do -- the wires have asked for a little setup for tomorrow, and we'll do that now.
MR. STEINBERG: Let me just say a word about the bilateral with Yeltsin, and obviously this will also be a part of the dinner which Dan will talk about as well. The President, as you all know, regularly meets with President Yeltsin on the margins of international meetings where they're together, and this is no exception.
They've had an extraordinary opportunity to meet over the last several months, beginning with the summit that they held in Helsinki, and then last month in Paris for the signing of the NATO-Russia agreement. What we'll see tomorrow I think at the bilateral is a continuation of the three-part Helsinki agenda; that is, continuing their discussions about building European security arrangements leading to a democratic and undivided Europe, making progress on implementing the NATO- Russia agreement, and strengthening the involvement of Russia in European institutions.
Second, they'll discuss the progress that we are trying to make together on the arms control agenda, including moving forward with START II, and hopefully, moving on to START III, as well as the efforts to achieve a CFE, at least a framework for moving forward in the CFE negotiations in Vienna.
And finally, they'll talk about the progress we're trying to make in the areas of economic integration. As you'll remember from Helsinki, they discussed at some length about strategies to bring Russia more effectively into the international economic institutions, including the Paris Club, the WTO and the OECD.
So I think that framework will describe where they're trying to go. They'll review the progress they've made and look forward to moving ahead on this agenda.
MR. TARULLO: The summit, as you know, begins -- the summit proper begins tomorrow evening. It starts with a reception for the leaders and the ministers, and then moves to the first session, which is the dinner among the leaders. The dinner will largely be taken with a kind of informal conversation that usually attends the first session of the summit. However, Bosnia will be on the agenda as well.
The President has asked President Yeltsin to lead off the dinner discussion and, thus, the summit itself, tomorrow evening with President Yeltsin's assessment of developments not only in his own country, but throughout the world since the Lyon summit. I anticipate that what will follow will be the general conversation, picking up from developments in the other countries and in the world at large.
Bosnia discussion I anticipate will focus on what the 8 can do now in Bosnia to advance the non-military parts of the peace process.
Q Mike, can I see if I have this right? Within 48 hours after the trade imbalance showed a monthly jump of about 90 percent, the President met with the Prime Minister for an hour and 10 minutes and voiced only general concern about the current state of trade?
MR. TARULLO: "Voiced general concern" -- he voiced quite specific concerns about the current state, the current direction in which things were going and --
Q And they were?
MR. TARULLO: Just as I stated. The trend that appears to be growing for the current -- excuse me, the bilateral trade surplus, as well as Japan's global current account surplus; and indicated in that regard the importance that he attached to the measures I had mentioned earlier, the domestic demand-led growth measures, as well as specific progress under the deregulatory initiative to stem excessive increases in those surplus, in those external surpluses.
MR. MCCURRY: Let me add to that, too. I think in probably what was one of the more direct and candid exchanges of this meeting, the President said previous persistent trade imbalances with Japan had been a source of real damage to the bilateral relationship, and it was very important to ensure that we continue progress on trade so we don't return to that type of atmosphere.
One of the features of this relationship is that we've now been able to take so many of these trade disagreements and work through them without making them the dominant feature of the bilateral relationship -- allowing us to work on global issues, work on so many of the other things that we've discussed. And the President pointed out the reality that's a very positive thing in the development and we can't allow trade to again emerge as the dominant factor in the relationship.
Q How important will the Middle East be in the discussions? Because the French are saying they won't discuss it, and the United States has not said anything about including the Middle East in the agenda. Could you tell us how important that will be, the peace process?
MR. STEINBERG: That's not correct. In the Sunday session there will be a discussion of foreign policy issues and the Middle East will be very much on the agenda, as it has been regularly in these meetings. And the President looks forward to talking to his colleagues about how to move the process forward.
This remains a very important priority for the United States and we believe that as the more agreement that we can get among the countries here, all of whom have played important roles in one way or another in the peace process, that we do want to try to discuss that. So it would be very prominent on the agenda.
Q The French said that after the meeting between President Chirac and Mr. Mubarak that the United States has disengaged from the peace process. Would you comment on that?
MR. STEINBERG: I'm not going to comment on statements that I haven't seen, but the President has been working very closely with President Mubarak. We've been very supportive of the initiatives that President Mubarak has been pursuing, they're very much in parallel to our own efforts. We consider Egypt to be a very important partner in this process and it has been playing a very constructive role in making that go forward.
Q Can I ask Ambassador Barshefsky or Dan to define for us how the participation of the United States in the deregulation of the markets that you mentioned is different from the kind of participation the U.S. has had in past deregulatory efforts -- the large scale retail store --* when there was deregulation of regulations on Toys R Us and other large stores, or past financial negotiations.
In each of those cases, American negotiators said they were participating in the Japanese process. How is this any different?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: I think that there are several differences here. Although, I don't think this is new. The differences are, first off, we have never before gone through and identified a series of specific sectors all at once in which we would like to see deregulation in a structured dialogue with reporting to the leaders within a year.
Q Isn't that what 1993 was all about in the framework accord?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: Nothing happened particularly in
the deregulation basket of the framework because we were never in the
right place at the right time. We, in the original framework, discussed
deregulation some at a point in time when Japan wasn't deregulating.
We're in a different period now where the Prime Minister of Japan has
said his priority is economic deregulation and where we, through this
enhanced dialogue, including the identification of regulatory and other barriers in these sectors, are able to say, well, then let's sit down and go sector by sector and talk through the kinds of things we would hope you would include in your deregulatory proposals.
Q So, Charlene, you're saying basically that we are returning to a set of topics that we initially discussed in 1993 --
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: No, no, no.
Q -- which there was not much progress.
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: No, we never identified a series of sectoral topics in 1993 as here -- telecommunications or housing, financial services deregulation.
Q Medical equipment was in in 1993 and it's in today.
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: We did for procurement -- procurement, but not deregulation, at the time. But we did conclude a medical equipment procurement agreement which encompassed the teaching hospitals in Japan. Procurement was a separate issue, and we have a very lengthy agreement now on transparency in procurement, bidding processes, and so on. That came out of the first framework.
But with respect to deregulation on product approvals, with respect to reimbursements, with respect to the insurance aspects of medical pharmaceutical, these issues had not been discussed under the framework.
Q Ambassador Barshefsky, what happens, Ambassador, if Japanese deregulation plans don't shape up to boost American competition in Japan? Does this fall under the rubric of 301?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: I don't think we want to discuss failure scenarios here. We have the Prime Minister of Japan stating to his domestic public, as well as to the international community, first, that he does not wish to see Japan run up excessive surpluses, and second, that he is committed to a substantial and aggressive program of deregulation, particularly before the turn of the century. These are two pronouncements that are significant and that seem to us to portend success in these areas with respect to deregulation and market access, rather than failure.
But plainly -- plainly -- this initiative does call the Japanese -- call on the Japanese government to make good on the Prime Minister's promises.
Q We were told that the Russians are going to press for full G-8 membership this time around. Obviously that's not going to happen. But what is the U.S. response going to be if President Yeltsin raises that subject tomorrow?
MR. TARULLO: I can just repeat to you what we've had -- what we've discussed in prior conversations, which is that there is a Summit of the 8 now -- I mean, some refer to it as G-8; the official title is Summit of the 8. It is an entity unto itself. There are some issues which the original seven countries continue to deal with among themselves, but we haven't had any misunderstandings or differences of views, I think, among any of the eight, including the Russians, in the run-up to the summit.
There has been an acknowledgement of full participation in
the eight, while there is still reserved a discrete number of financial
and macroeconomic issues which are
discussed among the seven.
Q Dan, did Hashimoto and Clinton discuss currencies? Did Hashimoto and Clinton discuss the yen-dollar?
MR. TARULLO: No.
Q Ambassador Barshefsky, you said in your earlier briefing that there was no reciprocity in this agreement, but the Japanese briefer is telling his reporters now that the Japanese, under this agreement, will be allowed to bring up issues in U.S. deregulatory situations. Can you explain what --
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: Oh, sure. The Japanese -- in any negotiation, the Japanese can bring up whatever issues they want; we can bring up whatever issues we want. What I was referring to by reciprocity was the following: that Japan had taken the position that it would not implement deregulatory measures unless the U.S. also implemented deregulatory measures. That was rejected by us because the focus of the exercise, as under the original framework in 1993, is on further opening of the Japanese market, particularly with respect to market access issues.
On the other hand, we have always said to Japan --and the framework makes it clear -- this is always a two-way dialogue. And if there are particular issues of concern to Japan that they wish to bring up, by all means, they are free to do so.
MR. MCCURRY: Okay, last question, Leo.
Q Mike, you've said repeatedly -- both in April and now here in Denver -- the President urged Hashimoto to get out of this trade deficit box by having more domestic-led demand in Japan for foreign goods, and yet, very recently, Japan increased its sales tax from three percent to five percent. Did the United States have an opportunity to try and dissuade Japan from taking this step?
MR. MCCURRY: We had that question asked and answered earlier.
Q I'm sorry, I didn't hear it.
MR. MCCURRY: Okay, anything else? Last question over here.
Q Yes, a question for Ambassador Barshefsky. I know the auto agreement was not mentioned today, but I'm wondering if you could give us an assessment of how well the auto agreement is working since, as I understand it, the President is supposed to be having a meeting with the Big Three automakers coming up? And are you going to have to -- do you think you're going to have to go back to the well with the Japanese on this auto agreement again?
AMBASSADOR BARSHEFSKY: The President did mention in his speech that the agreement has worked well. We've seen a very substantial increase certainly in the export of U.S. auto parts to Japan and, until recently, a very significant increase in export of Big Three vehicles to Japan. What we're seeing now is still a fairly -- a very healthy growth in our exports of auto parts, but a down-turn -- a sharp down-turn in our exports of finished vehicles to Japan. Obviously, that is of concern.
First off, on the auto parts side, let me say, Japan must continue to deregulate its auto parts regime and its garage regime to ensure that we maintain healthy growth rates on our auto parts export sales to Japan.
On the question of the Big Three vehicles, of course, the position of the Big Three has been that the shift in the exchange rate has been disadvantageous to them. They do believe their quality is very, very good. We do know that GM, for example, intends even now to continue to introduce the Saturn line into Japan, which, of course, has met with very great success here.
I think this is a situation that our vehicle producers will have to work through as we move ahead. But obviously, we are concerned by the down-turn in the vehicle sales. We are still encouraged by healthy growth in the auto parts sales.
Q Do you accept that argument, that the down-turn is caused by the exchange rate?
MR. MCCURRY: All right, any other subjects? We're done with today.
Q Is there any word on the tobacco negotiations?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, my understanding from those that have been watching things back in Washington is that Attorney General Moore indicated that they would do more work tomorrow, having made some progress today. And he still soundly mildly encouraging. That's the report we had.
Q When was the President last briefed on that?
MR. MCCURRY: He had an update from Erskine Bowles relayed via Bruce Lindsey just before his meeting with Prime Minister Hashimoto.
Q Mike, could you elaborate on the President's comment that he would not abide by the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney?
MR. MCCURRY: I can't. I haven't had an opportunity to talk to him about the issue. You're on your own.
Okay. Anything else? All right. We'll post some type of schedule on what our briefing arrangements will be for tomorrow as we go through those bilaterals, and you can check in with the Press Office to get the schedule.
Q Mike, is he down now for --
MR. MCCURRY: Yes. He's got -- the morning is down. He's going to do some additional briefing and then he's got some staff meetings beginning, I think, around 10:00 a.m. or so.
Q No sightseeing?
MR. MCCURRY: Not planned as of now, no.
Q Mike, what time is the Yeltsin bilateral?
MR. MCCURRY: It's currently scheduled for 12:50 p.m., 12:50 p.m.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 6:40 P.M. MDT