THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PROMOTING MANUFACTURING EXPORTS TO SUSTAIN U.S. JOBS January 9, 1999
Following years of double-digit growth, U.S. manufacturing exports slowed in 1998 as a result of global economic problems, which have also led to layoffs by U.S. manufacturing firms. The President's initiative expands and enhances the Administration's export promotion efforts to reflect these new global realities and respond to stepped-up export advocacy by other countries. By expanding the availability of export credit, reaching out to new customers and markets, and delivering higher quality services to U.S. exporters, we can increase U.S. manufacturing exports and protect high-wage jobs. This $108 million initiative will generate $1.8 billion in new U.S. manufacturing exports and sustain 16,000 high-wage U.S. manufacturing jobs. The initiative:
INCREASES FUNDING FOR THE U.S. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK BY 10% TO SUPPORT MORE MANUFACTURING EXPORTS IN MORE MARKETS
For 65 years, Ex-Im Bank has helped U.S. exporters by providing prudent financing for customers in developing countries when private funds are not available and by leveling the playing field against aggressive, foreign export-credit subsidies. The Bank generates more than $16 of U.S. exports for every $1 it spends, and small exporters account for most of its transactions. Ex-Im Bank's role is particularly critical now, because banks have stopped providing credit to many developing countries that are key markets for U.S. exports. The President's initiative provides $81 million in additional funds for Ex-Im Bank -- 10% above its FY99 budget of $815 million -- so that Ex-Im Bank can:
Help meet the demand for financing aircraft and capital equipment exports in developing markets. One of every four U.S. commercial aircraft is sold to an Asian airline, but many of these airlines cannot get commercial credit because of Asia's economic problems. Ex-Im Bank currently finances 10% of all U.S. capital equipment exports to the developing world. The President's proposal would allow Ex-Im Bank to provide significantly more financing for exports of U.S. manufactured capital goods and aircraft -- sales that would otherwise have to be deferred or canceled altogether. Expand short-term and medium-term credit to keep U.S. products flowing to emerging markets where private sector financing is no longer available. Ex-Im Bank supported 2,400 transactions involving more than $1 billion in U.S. exports to Korea in 1998 (up from $50 million in 1997). By providing insurance for short-term and medium-term export financing, Ex-Im Bank can help stem the decline of U.S. trade with Latin America, Asia and other developing country markets, which purchase 40% of all U.S. exports. Finance exports to riskier markets. U.S. exporters increasingly seek Ex-Im Bank financing to meet demand for their products in riskier markets, but the higher cost of providing such financing strains the Bank's budget. Ex-Im Bank support is critical in these markets because commercial bank financing often is unavailable and U.S. exporters compete with foreign firms whose governments often subsidize export credit. Expand environmental technology exports that create U.S. jobs while protecting the environment in developing countries. Since 1995, Ex-Im Bank has financed $2 billion in U.S. environmental products and capital goods with very low pollutant emissions. The Bank is key to expanding the U.S. share of this rapidly growing market.
EXPANDS THE TRADE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (TDA); PROVIDES NEW OPIC RISK INSURANCE TO SUPPORT EXPORT-GENERATING PROJECTS
Provides $4 million increase for TDA-funded feasibility studies that allow U.S. companies to enter the planning stages of major export-generating infrastructure projects overseas. Offers a new type of political risk insurance through the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) to make possible up to $1 billion in new, export-generating investment.
INCREASES RESOURCES FOR EXPORT ADVOCACY AND SERVICE DELIVERY TO SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTERS
The President's initiative provides an additional $14 million for the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) for the following:
The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service will significantly increase the number of its commercial officers in key overseas markets, including China, Latin America and Africa. The Department will lead 25 trade missions in 1999 focused on manufacturing, including aircraft parts, auto parts, machine tools, environmental technology, telecommunications equipment and information technology. ITA will work with Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to begin delivering export assistance services to our 350,000 small manufacturers through MEP's 100+ locally run manufacturing extension centers.
EXPANDS U.S. EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH A COMMERCIAL "INFRASTRUCTURE" IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The initiative provides $9 million for ITA and Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to make it easier and cheaper for U.S. exporters to sell their products in developing markets:
Expands Commerce efforts to help developing countries establish the legal and regulatory "infrastructure" to facilitate commercial transactions, including: commercial law development, intellectual property rights protection, and internationally recognized product standards. Provides support through NIST for greater participation by U.S. industry and government in international standard-setting bodies, to counter the use of exclusive, non-transparent products standards as barriers to trade. Assigns Commerce "standards attaches" to key foreign markets to promote use of product standards that help expand U.S. exports. ###
RAISING LABOR STANDARDS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
January 9, 1999
The enormous growth and integration of the international economy since the end of the Cold War promises a higher standard of living for more people in more countries than ever before. But we must ensure that spirited economic competition among nations never becomes a race to the bottom on labor standards. More and more countries are learning from the financial crises in Asia that strong worker protections promote social stability during times of economic turmoil. But developing nations need our help if they are to put in place basic labor protections and strong social safety nets for their workers. President Clinton's FY2000 budget will provide up to $40 million for the first time ever to help those countries making a determined effort to raise labor standards.
A NEW INITIATIVE TO HELP DEVELOPING COUNTRIES PROTECT WORKERS
In many cases, governments lack the internal expertise or resources needed to implement and enforce core labor and workplace safety standards and build social safety net programs like unemployment insurance and pensions. The U.S. will assist those countries that are willing -- but unable to move forward alone -- by:
Establishing a new multilateral program at the International Labor Organization (ILO) to provide technical assistance to developing nations; Encouraging other nations to join us in supporting the ILO?s new program; and Developing a new program at the Department of Labor to provide direct technical assistance in support of our bilateral relationships.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE LABOR STANDARDS
The international community recognizes certain core labor rights as fundamental human rights:
freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining;
the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
the abolition of child labor; and
the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.
The failure of some governments to afford their workers core labor rights and adequate social safety nets has further exacerbated the financial crisis gripping some Asian nations by eliminating from public dialogue the very people upon whose shoulders economic recovery must be built and exacerbating the adjustment process. Free trade unions and other core labor standards are a vital component of a vibrant democracy and a thriving economy, and they must be an integral part of any stable, democratic, and prosperous society.
BUILDING ON PRESIDENT CLINTON'S RECORD OF AGGRESSIVE SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS
President Clinton has made leveling up, not down, a key priority as we build a trading system for the 21st Century.
At the World Trade Organization last May, President Clinton called upon the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) to work together to make certain that open trade lifts living standards and respects the core labor standards that are essential not only to worker rights, but to human rights. In an October speech, President Clinton called on the international financial institutions, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to build a commitment to core labor standards and labor market institutions into their investment policies. The U.S. pressed an effort that led, in June, to the ILO adopting an historic, new declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work that obliges all member countries to respect and promote core labor rights and that includes a meaningful follow-up mechanism to assure accountability. Last year, President Clinton fought and obtained from Congress a ten-fold increase -- to $30 million a year -- for the U.S. contribution to the International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). The U.S. now leads the world in supporting programs to move children from work to school and build lasting economic solutions for their families. ###