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U.S. Department of State
93/10/20 Remarks & Q&A at Conf. for Senior Business Executives
Office of the Spokesman



                      U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                      Office of the Spokesman


For Immediate Release                           October 20, 1993


                             REMARKS BY
                AND QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION WITH
               SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
             AT THE NATIONAL FOREIGN POLICY CONFERENCE
                   FOR SENIOR BUSINESS EXECUTIVES

                        Department of State
                          Washington, D.C.
                          October 20, 1993


SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning, and welcome to the State 
Department and to this conference.  Joan, thank you very much for that 
very nice introduction.  I'm just delighted to be with all of you today 
at this conference.  I'm delighted to be joined by and introduced by 
Joan.  The wonderfully talented Joan Spero is really the best thing 
that's happened to economic and business issues in this department for a 
long, long time.  She embodies our commitment to a foreign policy that 
supports economic security, both at home and abroad.

I'll be boarding a plane in about an hour to go to Central and Eastern 
Europe and Russia.  I'll be visiting Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, as 
well as the Baltics, so it'll be a good trip, and I'm looking forward to 
it.  When the president first directed me to take this trip, my 
scheduling office thought that I would miss this conference; but it 
seemed to me that there could hardly be a better time for me to meet 
with American business leaders, so I delayed my departure for a few 
hours.

My trip to the Soviet Union symbolizes the rewards that the United 
States can gain from the end of the Cold War.  Today Russia is our 
strategic partner, not our adversary; and that, in turn, has very 
tangible benefits for every American.  It means that economic and 
commercial considerations can move to the center of our foreign policy 
agenda, and it means that unprecedented opportunities for businesses 
like yours and for American workers are out there on the horizon for us 
all to reap.

It is in our economic interests to develop further export investment 
opportunities in the vast new markets that will be opening to us 
throughout the new independent states; and it's in America's security 
interests to reinforce our productive new cooperation with Russia, a 
cooperation that we benefit from on issues ranging from the Middle East 
peace process to curbing proliferation of the weapons of mass 
destruction.

I tell you it's just a different world than I remember in the late 1970s 
when every negotiation with the Russians was a tense discussion having 
ideological underpinnings.  Now, we work together in common cause on so 
many important issues around the globe.  On the other hand, if there is 
a reversal in Russia, if it reverts to its prior dictatorship, I think 
that America's security will be seriously threatened; and we'll also 
have a threat to our economic renewal here at home, for we would clearly 
have to go back to the era of large defense budgets and an even greater 
threat to our deficits.

President Clinton and I believe that promoting democratic and market 
reform in Russia is the wisest and least expensive investment that we 
can make in America's security.  Of course, we all know that we cannot 
afford to provide aid to Russia indefinitely.  Expanded trade must take 
its place as soon as we can possibly achieve that.  Russia and the other 
new independent states must themselves take the tough steps necessary to 
restore stability and provide a secure environment for foreign investors 
and for exporters to Russia.

The former Soviet Union, of course, is not the only place where the 
American private sector can be a very positive force to help cement, to 
help secure the breathtaking political changes that are going on in the 
world today.  For example, for years the issue of South Africa divided 
the American business community from large parts of the American public.  
Now our entire private sector and all those who had a very strong stand 
against apartheid in the past can find common cause.  With South Africa 
on the road to non-racial democracy, with Nelson Mandela calling for a 
lifting of all the remaining sanctions, a great new opportunity exists.  
By investing in South Africa, American business can reinforce the 
historic transformation to democracy in a country that has so eagerly 
awaited renewed American trade and investment.

The American private sector can also find business opportunities in 
helping to cement the Middle East peace process that is so transforming 
the Middle East.  We had a strikingly successful donors conference here, 
sponsored by the United States and Russia, three weeks ago in which we 
drew in a short 10-day period of time $2 billion in pledges.  But what I 
want to emphasize is that bringing peace to the region cannot be left to 
governments alone.  Taking advantage of the growing demand for energy, 
transportation, telecommunications, tourism, all of those things that 
they need throughout the Middle East, our private sector and each of you 
can help ensure that peace takes a firm hold in the Middle East.

These new opportunities that are flowering around the globe -- in the 
former Soviet Union, in the Middle East and in South Africa -- these 
opportunities highlight the convergence of economic and foreign policy 
in the post-Cold War world.  In a way, what I'm doing in these opening 
remarks is foreshadowing the remarks that you'll be hearing from others 
today in considerably more depth.  I'll be touching the flowers lightly 
and trying to save some time for your questions.

Early in our administration, some were concerned that President 
Clinton's determination to focus on economic renewal signalled some kind 
of an inward-looking trend.  That view simply could not be more wrong.  
The president understands that now more than ever before our prosperity 
depends upon our engagement in the global economy.  That is why he has 
placed so much emphasis on integrating foreign and domestic policy, so 
much emphasis on building sound economic relationships with our trading 
partners.

This approach by President Clinton was, of course, very apparent at the 
summit meeting in Tokyo in July of the G-7 countries.  For more than a 
decade, these G-7 countries had been complaining that we were not 
serious about reducing our budget deficit, not even serious about trying 
to stem its growth.  By pushing through the historic deficit reduction 
program, President Clinton sent a clear message to the world:  America 
is back as a responsible manager of its economy and a dependable leader 
for global economic cooperation and growth.

I can tell you that by having done that, it changed the atmosphere a 
great deal at Tokyo and enabled the president to achieve things that 
would have otherwise been impossible.  He was able to bring home an 
agreement on market access in connection with the Uruguay Round, got new 
pledges from others for aid to Russia, and we worked out a commitment to 
correct the trade imbalance with Japan through a new framework that's 
going to take lots more work, but that's a good start.

To the Japanese government and the people there, he sent a clear message 
that our administration attaches a very high priority to improving trade 
and economic ties with Japan, just as high a priority as we do to 
maintaining the other two legs of our relationship, the security and 
political legs.  We believe we can do both through constructive 
negotiations.  That is, we can pursue both courses -- political, 
security -- as well as trade and economic.  We can do that and be 
successful at that, and we intend to achieve that.

After World War II great statesmen like George Marshall and Dean Acheson 
recognized the importance of global economic engagement.  From that 
understanding in the late 1940s came such important agreements as the 
Bretton Woods agreement, the Marshall Plan, and the creation of the 
GATT.  These historic leaders of the United States understood that 
global economic growth was essential to our security, as well as our 
prosperity.  Today we must grasp once again how our future is tied to 
deeper engagement in our economy.

In the next two months, the United States faces very crucial economic 
challenges, decisions that will determine whether we look outward to a 
world of opportunity or whether we shrink from the challenge and turn 
inward and lay what I believe would be the seeds of economic decline.  
One of the challenges, of course, is NAFTA.  The other is the Uruguay 
Round.  I hope we can vow to work together to ensure the success of 
both.

NAFTA will create high-skill, high-wage jobs here in the United States.  
It will open new export and investment opportunities for American 
companies.  The coming vote on NAFTA, probably about November 17, will 
be a key test of our global economic leadership; and I know you'll be 
hearing more about this today from our trade representative, Mickey 
Kantor.  I hope that most here in the room share my belief that NAFTA 
deserves approval solely on economic grounds.  It will lock in and 
increase the advantages that have boosted our exports to Mexico more 
than 200 percent in the last seven years, creating more than 400,000 
American jobs.

Beyond the economic benefits, I want to stress that the foreign policy 
benefits of NAFTA make an even compelling case overwhelming.  It will be 
a turning point in our relations with our neighbors -- Mexico and all of 
Latin America.  In the first place, NAFTA will increase Mexico's 
capacity to cooperate with us on a wide range of issues along our 2,000-
mile borders, issues such as the environment, narcotics and illegal 
immigrations, issues that affect millions of Americans.  NAFTA will also 
send a signal throughout the hemisphere that economic reform and 
liberalization can work for the benefit of all of us, bolstering nations 
from Argentina to Venezuela that have opened their economies to the 
United States.  As the President has repeatedly made clear, this is a 
fight we must win; and I think that with your help we can win it.

Let me say that I've been making a lot of calls on NAFTA the last few 
days; and from the conversations I've had with members of Congress, I 
really believe that the tide is beginning to turn.  As the economic and 
foreign policy cases are being made, as members of Congress are 
listening and focusing, NAFTA is clearly gaining greater support.  I 
believe there's an increasing recognition that NAFTA is in our 
overriding national interests.  It's a once-a-generation opportunity 
that simply must not be lost.

As I think nearly everybody in this room knows, America's economic 
future is also tied to a successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round.  
The potential benefits for us and for the citizens of America are just 
enormous.  Many barriers to goods and services will be dismantled.  
Global growth will definitely be spurred and jobs will be created at 
home and abroad.

We cannot conclude this Uruguay Round on our own, unfortunately.  The 
European Community especially, Japan and the ASEAN nations, and others 
must make significant moves if we are to complete this by December 15, 
which is the deadline that Congress has imposed with great firmness.  
None of the remaining trade-offs in goods, services and agriculture will 
be easy -- especially not those in agriculture -- but they must be made. 

To our friends in Europe, let me restate that preserving common security 
across the Atlantic requires us to focus not only on NATO but on a 
successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round by December 15.  With only 56 
or 57 days to go, time is running out.  Unfortunately, failure of the 
Round would squander an enormous opportunity to spur international 
economic growth, and I believe it would set back our world economy in a 
very severe and dangerous way.

Nowhere is the growth more apparent or the export opportunities greater 
for America than in the Asia and Pacific region.  That is, as all of us 
know, the most economically dynamic region in the world.  Today some 2.5 
million American jobs depend upon our exports to the Asia-Pacific 
region.  More than half of our total trade is with this part of the 
world, 50 percent greater than our trade with Europe.  Economic growth 
has given rise in Asia to a large new consumer market, and it is fueling 
expectations of greater political empowerment to the new Asian middle 
class.

As a Pacific power, as a country that will remain a Pacific power, the 
United States has a major stake in democracy, security and prosperity 
all throughout Asia.  Next month I'll go to Seattle to host a meeting of 
the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. APEC, as it's called, will 
be a historic conference, historic because President Clinton has invited 
the leaders of all the Asian nations in APEC to join him at the end of 
the conference for a Saturday roundtable discussion, a discussion that 
will signal our commitment to a new Pacific community.  It will enable 
us to establish a framework for regional economic integration and trade 
liberalization.  It will help us improve market access, widen our 
financial flows and expand America's presence in Asia.

Perhaps because I'm a Californian, I attach particular importance to the 
opportunities we have in Asia; but there's an even larger reason, and 
that is America's future is increasingly linked to Asia.  That's why I 
have traveled there three times in the nine months that I've been in 
office, and that's why President Clinton traveled to Asia on his first 
overseas trip as president.  (Pauses to take a sip of water.)  Pardon 
me.

Three weeks ago, President Clinton announced a new strategy to help 
expand our exports.  In launching this initiative, he said we want to 
ensure that our embassies play a much more aggressive role in promoting 
our commercial interests in a uniform way all around the world.  I want 
to assure you that we intend to play that role, and I want to tell you 
what we're doing here at the State Department to help you compete and to 
succeed globally.

The State Department has a desk responsible for nearly every country in 
the world.  For example, we have a China desk, a Russia desk and an 
Egyptian desk.  As Joan said, I have pledged that at the State 
Department we will also have an American desk, and I'll be sitting 
behind it on a regular basis.  I'm determined that every person in the 
Department be conscious of our need to have an American desk as our most 
important service.

We're here to represent you.  We're here to represent America's 
interests.  We're here to properly deal with our foreign neighbors and 
friends and allies and adversaries; but most of all, we're determined to 
represent American interests.

We will simply not relegate America's economic security to the 
backwaters of our foreign policy.  We want to make sure that our 
training practices, our personnel practices, our management practices, 
our policy initiatives, all across the board, that they represent the 
centrality of economic issues to improve our strength both at home and 
abroad.  To help carry this out I have designated one of our senior most 
respected ambassadors, Ambassador Paul Cleveland, to be the Department's 
first Coordinator of Business Affairs, working with Joel Spero and Dan 
Tarullo, our Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs.

We have more than 250 Foreign Service posts abroad, and they are there 
to serve you.  We have named a Commercial Coordinator in each of our six 
geographic bureaus here at the State Department, and we're working 
closely with the Commerce Department and other federal agencies to 
accomplish this purpose.  Ambassador Cleveland's office will ensure that 
the Department is providing you with the best possible service, and if 
they don't I hope you will be in touch with me because it has a very 
high priority for me personally.

Our embassies around the world have already helped thousands of American 
firms.  I hear from many of you, thanking the State Department for the 
work that's been done.  Just let me give you a few examples.

Our airframe manufacturers have praised our vigorous support for 
billions of dollars of sales around the globe, an effort that I 
personally have been involved in in several countries.  We have 
persuaded the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to open the door to 
nearly $600 million worth of U.S. investment.  Our embassy in Athens has 
proved invaluable in helping a U.S. oil company maintain its share of 
the only commercial oil and gas deposit ever found in Greece.  We're 
helping American companies and investors to establish joint ventures in 
Italy and in Australia; and in Southeast Asia, one of our embassies made 
a major contribution to the largest single export sale ever made by a 
U.S. leader in the telecommunications industry.

Let me mention just one particular success story.  We recently assisted 
a U.S. telecommunications firm to win a hotly contested license in a 
vital emerging market.  In a letter to me last month, the company wrote 
that the new license would be a critical springboard for industrial 
development and free market expansion in the region.  The company said 
that it could not have succeeded without the continual support of the 
U.S. Ambassador and his Embassy colleagues.

I'm glad to tell you I get letters like that at least once a week; it 
sometimes seems to me almost daily.  I appreciate your writing them.  
They mean a lot to the ambassadors who you're working with, and they 
inspire others to do likewise.

I want you to know that I myself have been trying to lead by example.  
In my trips abroad I make it a point to meet with American 
businesspeople and hear their concerns, to make sure our embassies are 
helping in every way they can.  Tomorrow morning I'll be meeting with 
some American business leaders in Budapest.

I really learn from these meetings.  I find that there are comments 
about our service, sometimes complaints, and they illuminate.  They 
enable us to do a better job than we've done in the past.

We're making a major change in the way we train our diplomats.  A week 
ago today I dedicated the new National Foreign Affairs Training Center.  
It will offer a curriculum with much greater emphasis on business-
related issues.  Men and women trained at the center will emerge as 
advocates for American exports, not just foreign policy wonks.  They'll 
learn to promote not just our values, but our products; to protect not 
only our physical security, but our intellectual property.  We're trying 
very hard to prepare a new generation of entrepreneurial foreign affairs 
professionals who understand that assisting American business is 
essential in this new era of international relations.

As a nation, we also have many other interests, of course, that you're 
all concerned about yourself -- interests such as nonproliferation, 
democracy and human rights; but we intend to ensure, as we weigh and 
evaluate those other interests, that the interests of American business 
and our working men and women are given full consideration every time we 
have to take a foreign policy decision and balance these very difficult 
considerations.

When he unveiled his new export strategy, President Clinton emphasized 
that we must find a way to clear out the obstacles to U.S. exports.  I 
think we would all agree that export controls do safeguard a national 
interest and do have their place; but I think we would also agree that 
much of today's export control architecture rests on an obsolete Cold 
War foundation.  Clearly, it's time to reexamine this foundation.

That's why President Clinton has announced a substantial liberalization 
of export controls that will free $35 billion of computer exports, free 
them from the cumbersome requirements that existed in the past.  That's 
why we're also committed to lifting our COCOM regulations that are no 
longer necessary.  Undersecretary Lynn Davis is in Europe this very week 
working on a new approach to the COCOM regulations to see if we can't 
bring it into the modern era.

That is why early next year we'll be working with Congress to rewrite 
the outdated legal framework for export controls.  We want the letter 
and the implementation of the law to reflect the realities of this post-
war global economy.  We want to ensure that we're not tilting the 
playing field against businesses.  As we go about revising this 
legislation later this year and early next year, we want your advice at 
every stage of the process.

To change the subject just slightly, I've long been concerned about the 
adverse effects of corrupt practices on U.S. exports in foreign markets 
-- that is, corrupt practices by others.  I was concerned about this 
when I was in government in the late 1970s.  Reports I have suggest our 
companies are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts every 
year because their non-American competitors are able to bribe foreign 
officials while American companies are bound by our Foreign Corrupt 
Practices Act.

I don't think any of us want to change the Foreign Corrupt Practices 
Act; but what we want to press for is what the OECD is doing, and that 
is considering and pushing an initiative to recommend to its member 
nations that they have measures to prevent their companies from making 
illicit payments in the same way that we are prevented from doing so 
under our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  I think the time is long 
overdue for international action on this front, and I'll try to make 
sure that the United States firmly and aggressively raises this issue at 
the OECD council meeting next week.

We'll try to pursue other initiatives to combat corruption in connection 
with international institutions and development agencies.  This will not 
be easy; but I know from my conversations with a number of you, and a 
conversation I had in Singapore a couple of months ago, that this is a 
problem for American business abroad, and we want to try to help solve 
it, difficult though it may be.

Let me give you a final example of our Department's commitment to 
American business.  As many of you know, the Department here has a way 
of sharing security-related information with American firms.  In 1985 we 
initiated a public-private venture called the Overseas Security Advisory 
Council to promote security for American business interests abroad.  I 
urge you take advantage of these important services if you a security 
concern abroad.

As I conclude, I want to leave you with a rather simple message:  The 
State Department wants to be your helper, wants to be your advocate.  
We're ready to establish a new partnership with American business and to 
ensure that our economic policy is at the center of our foreign policy 
in this post-Cold War era.  I want to thank you again for coming, for 
being such a fine and attentive audience; and before I go to catch my 
plane for Eastern Europe, I'd be glad to have a conversation with you.  
If you'd like to do so, please ask questions or make comments.

Yes?

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, we applaud your leadership and your 
recognition of the critical connection between the State Department 
policy and business environments.  We know that you recognize that 
global competitors gain a great advantage when they have access to 
markets to which we are barred.

I wonder what your most recent position is with respect to lifting those 
barriers in places like Vietnam and Lebanon?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you.  With respect to Vietnam, as you 
know, the President has moved our stance forward there in two ways in 
the last several months, making Vietnam available for loans from 
international financial institutions and then permitting United States 
companies to bid on such projects.

We have under very active consideration this whole situation; but the 
President has emphasized that what will drive our policy in this area is 
getting the kind of assurance that we think we're entitled to from 
Vietnam with respect to our POWs and MIAs.  We're getting better 
cooperation from the Vietnamese on this subject.  I met with the Vice 
Premier of Vietnam when I was in New York for the United Nations General 
Assembly a couple of weeks ago.  I had a good conversation with him.  He 
was forthcoming.  I think they're making a real effort.

We'll be reviewing this again as we move toward the end of the year.  I 
would emphasize the President's determination to achieve results on the 
POW/MIA front and get satisfaction in that area as we move through these 
steps, but I think you can see with the two major steps that he's taken 
this year that this is very much on our agenda.

With respect to Lebanon, I know that's a problem for a number of 
American businesses that would like to be able to put American citizens 
into Lebanon.  This is a matter that I've discussed two or three times 
recently, sometimes at the instance of very highly placed Senators and 
Congressmen on Capitol Hill.

Frankly, it's a security issue for us.  We'd be delighted if we felt 
confident that Americans could go to Lebanon without the threat to their 
personal security and without the risk of being taken hostage.  I think 
we want to move carefully and sequentially in this area.  If we move too 
fast and another hostage was taken, I think it would set back our policy 
a good deal.

As you know, I've been in Lebanon twice myself in the last four months 
under conditions of security that probably would not be available to 
most of you.  (Laughter)  It's a country that's making real progress, 
and we want to do everything we can; but we have to be concerned about 
the security of Americans.  Unfortunately, the threat level is still 
such that I cannot confidently relax the standards that we have at the 
present time.

Many American businesses have found that they've been able to, by hiring 
foreigners, find a way to compete in that market and perhaps ingenuity 
will help you there; but that does not free us from the responsibility 
to keep it under very close review and to move forward as soon as we can 
safely.  I know you wouldn't want me to do anything else.

The questioning is as broad as you want to make it.  I guess I'm used to 
regular target practice.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, my question specifically is in Asia -- the 
People's Republic of China -- where there's a billion eight hundred 
million people poised to do business with the American community.

I've just come back from an extensive trip to China, to Harbin in the 
northeast, to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing.  The people there are in 
a much better transitional stage than we see here -- the policies being 
talked about.

It is most important that the MFN is going to be renewed because this is 
the greatest opportunity that we have as businessmen to do business with 
the PRC.  Would you kindly comment on it?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It's interesting your mentioning Harbin.  I 
can't help but recall that about ten years ago, when China was just on 
the beginning of this tremendous curve of growth, I was in Harbin; and 
even at that time I was, driving through the countryside, struck by how 
many TV antennas I could see and how well clothed the people seemed to 
be in that area.  So there are tremendous opportunities.

The President extended MFN, as you know.  I think that was a very sound 
decision on his part, conditioning it as he did on the continued 
improvement -- or improvement in the human rights field and also 
emphasizing the importance of their actions in the non-proliferation 
field and in the trade field.

We are continuing to work with the Chinese Government.  I met with the 
Foreign Minister very recently to urge them to take the steps necessary 
to put us in a position so that MFN can be continued in the future.  It 
will be my responsibility to assess whether or not they've made the kind 
of progress in the human rights area that is called for by the 
President's MFN decision last year.

It's a mixed record at the present time.  There are some discouraging 
pieces of news, and in particular we've been discouraged on the non-
proliferation front.  

On the other hand, Assistant Secretary John Shattuck of our Human Rights 
Bureau has been in Beijing recently, has been received there.  I think 
that's a good sign, and we're going to be doing everything we can to 
encourage the Chinese to achieve the kind of performance that will make 
it possible for us to continue MFN.

As you know, there's a very strong attitude on Capitol Hill that 
improvement must be seen.  The strongest advocates of this position were 
supportive of the President's decision last year; but I would have to 
say that I don't believe we can sustain the position of MFN for beyond 
next June unless we see some continued improvement or some improvement 
in the human rights field by the Chinese, as well as reform in 
connection with trade practices and progress in the non-proliferation 
front.

I have said to my colleagues in China that it's important to make this 
progress not next May and June but steadily throughout the year, so 
there's not a huge buildup of pressure for us after the first of the 
year to lift the MFN.

So I guess by my answer -- and maybe I've taken a long ways around it -- 
we're acutely conscious of the value of that market.  We want to improve 
your access to that market.  We also would like to improve the very 
large trade deficit that we have at the present time.  I think it's our 
second largest trade deficit in the world, now exceeding $20 billion.  

But that's a tremendous market, and we'll just keep our eye on the ball 
and try to make sure that we can keep those markets open going both 
ways.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, we, too, applaud your ongoing activities, and 
we recognize the potential within the former Soviet Union and the 
associated Soviet states.

My question revolves around how are we going to and what is the State 
Department doing in order to reconcile the monetary exchange issues that 
exist within the former ruble zone or within the ruble zone to make this 
a safer environment for U.S. business.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  You know, that's going to require, I think, a 
reform of the Russian economy that still is underway.  One of the high 
promises of the action that President Yeltsin has taken for the election 
of a parliament and for the approval of a new constitution will be to 
stabilize the situation there so that market reform, ruble reform can go 
forward.

Our people who return from there from the Treasury Department -- and 
particularly Larry Somers who, as you know, has got such a distinguished 
reputation in that field -- are somewhat encouraged by the reform 
activities of Russia; but I do not want to be guilty of being too 
illusioned about this.  I think it's a very difficult situation, but it 
clearly will be improved if the government can have a new stability 
based upon the elections in December and the approval of a new 
constitution.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, it follows this gentleman's question. Is there 
any initiative or program in the State Department that addresses the 
needs of helping the Russian people develop an infrastructure, a 
commercial code that has to be in place before businesses can do 
business?  In other words, the transfer of money from one Russian city 
to another sometimes takes a month.  The whole legal infrastructure that 
we have in all of the Western countries has to develop.  That's a long 
process that business people can't do on their own, but it's an 
intergovernmental educational process to transfer that.

Are there any initiatives in place to try to address that need in 
Russia?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes.  I've addressed that very subject with 
Andrei Kozyrev, the Foreign Minister, telling him that our businesses 
simply are unable to go places where there is not a commercial code, 
where there's not the assurance of the sanctity of contracts and the 
assurance of payments.  I'm going to be meeting with him again on Friday 
of this week and, prompted by your question, I'm going to raise that.

We do have on-going endeavors here at the State Department, trying to 
assist them in that, trying to provide them with the legal precedence 
that will help show them what is necessary to do.  I think we're going 
to have to have some priority given to that from their side in order to 
make the kind of progress.  I'm glad to be reminded by your question so 
I can raise it again on Friday.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, a point of clarification, please.  You 
mentioned that the State Department will be taking a more active role in 
American business abroad.  I have personally had the pleasure of meeting 
Ambassador Paul Cleveland, and he's excellent and he will be terrific in 
the job.

I'm just wondering, by way of clarification, if there will be guidelines 
for those of us who may be interested in doing business abroad so that 
we know when we go to Commerce and when we go to State?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'm so glad to have a question from a lady, but 
I couldn't see where you are.

Good, thank you very much.

Joan (Spero), I wonder, can you help on that question?  Frankly, it's a 
question that I need help on.

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO:  I think it's very fair question.  I know that a 
lot of business people would like to have one-stop shopping and would 
not like to have to shop around.

So let me make a very practical suggestion.  You have one-stop shopping 
in the field with the embassy.  You can go to the Ambassador, and he or 
she has a country team with all the representatives of the different 
departments.

Let me suggest here, if you like, you can use Paul Cleveland for your 
one-stop shopping; and if you wish -- because he's working extremely 
closely with his colleague at the Commerce Department, a woman who will 
be confirmed named Lauri Fitz-Pegado, who will be the head of the 
Foreign Commercial Service.  You can start there or you can start here.  
We are working extremely closely together.  They meet almost weekly.  We 
are in touch constantly, so you just need to make one phone call and 
we'll figure out how to get the service to you.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, sir?

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, my question concerns tied aid.  I was recently 
at a briefing by the TPCC.  One of the items that came up, or was 
mentioned, was the fact that the State Department considers tied aid to 
be dirty aid versus clean aid when it's a straight giveaway.

Most of our competitor nations -- the Germans, the Japanese, and many 
others that are members of the OECD -- aren't playing by these rules.  
The State Department has been trying to promote this good-guy thing.  I 
think that it just doesn't work and that we've got to be more realistic 
when it comes to tied aid.

I'd like an explanation of this thing that the State Department 
considers it dirty aid.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We think it's not so much dirty aid as usually 
inefficient aid.  When aid is given only in circumstances where the aid 
is produced by American businesses, that leads to a lot of abuses and 
frequently makes the aid not very effective.

I would say that's not the principal reason.  The principal reason is 
that we see our foreign competitors using it, just as you say, in a way 
to oust Americans from the markets.  I think it would be a sounder 
overall international system if the aid was given for the good purposes 
of aid rather than for tied aid and thus really producing a subsidy for 
other businesses.  It's another obstacle to the free movement of capital 
and the freedom that businesses ought to have to compete on a level 
playing field.

You'll be hearing more about this from the Secretary of Commerce, Ron 
Brown.  The issue of tied aid is by no means a closed one.  We 
understand that we shouldn't be at a competitive disadvantage on it.

On the other hand, over the years we've made a great deal of progress in 
persuading many foreign countries to get out of the business of tied 
aid, which is so often inefficient, quite often unfair.  We have to 
weigh where we are in the scale of that:  whether we are on the verge of 
a breakthrough there to ensure that the worldwide aid is not tied aid, 
or whether the United States needs to do some of it in order to be 
competitive.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, my question -- perhaps a comment to begin with 
and then a question.  I would thank you very much for the help that we 
have seen in the support from the Embassies; but I would say that it's 
somewhat mixed and would encourage you to continue that focus with the 
idea that the Embassy team -- the Ambassador has to recognize it takes 
some pretty bare-knuckle activities to get in there and contend with 
some of our foreign competitors and their Embassies.

My question is in regards to those areas where the country has perhaps 
legitimate foreign policy issues that restrict U.S. business in trade 
activities; but our foreign competitors don't respect the U.S. 
initiatives, and they consequently gain substantial commercial advantage 
because they're able to move when we're precluded from operating.

Is there any activity in that regard that we could slow the Germans down 
or some other country in these areas -- keep them from gaining this 
significant advantage?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  On the comments you made, I hope you won't be 
bashful about letting me or Joan (Spero) know if you feel like you're 
not getting the results.  I thought your comment that the result is 
mixed was perhaps a little euphemistic; and I hope if you're having bad 
experiences, you'll let us know.

The Ambassadors intend to be helpful, want to be helpful, but clearly 
we're in a time of changing some practices and mores.  I think if you 
just give us a gentle word, we'll react in a way that's not harsh with 
respect to the Ambassador but will send our message.

On the question that you make, I think it's our job to try to ensure 
that foreign competitors don't have an unfair advantage and -- 
especially our allies -- that they don't move into markets where we 
think it's not wise for the Western world to be.  

One of those areas that I've been working most diligently on is trade 
with Iran.  A number of our European competitors -- and perhaps this is 
what you were referring to -- have felt that they should continue normal 
trade with Iran, even perhaps giving preferential treatment of one kind 
or another, whereas the United States has firm barriers against that 
because of Iran's record for terrorism, their opposition to the Middle 
East peace process, their acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

We will, every time we can, try to persuade our allies and friends that 
they should have the same reaction to those countries that practice 
terror as we have had in barring some of our businesses from going into 
those areas.

That's not an easy equation; but where we've reached a firm conclusion 
that we should not undertake that kind of business, as we have in the 
case of Iran, we'll engage in intelligence sharing and other means to 
try to prevent other countries from taking unfair advantage of our 
absence from the market.

I'll take one more question, if there is one.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, I'm President of a company called Black 
Entertainment Television.  For several years we have been trying to get 
our programming carried in Canada; and, as you know, the Canadian 
Government has some severe restrictions on American cultural content 
coming into Canadian media.

Will NAFTA assist us and other purveyors of American products in getting 
their programming carried in Canada?  We, for example, have received 
invitations from the Canadian cable operators.  We've got requests from 
Canadian consumers for our product; but the Canadian CRTC, which is akin 
to our FCC, has on three occasions denied access to -- denied us the 
opportunity to deliver our product to the cable operators under the 
guise that this would harm Canadian cultural content.  It's my hope that 
NAFTA would have the impact on those barriers as it would have on the 
exchange of other kinds of commercial goods.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think I'll have to ask you to renew that 
question when Mickey Kantor comes here later today.  I have heard this 
discussion and I have had this discussion with some of my Canadian 
counterparts.  The preservation of their cultural identity is extremely 
important to them; and so far I think they've been able to find ways to 
do that that they think are compatible with the trade agreement between 
the United States and Canada.

Frankly, I don't know specifically the answer to your question.  We'll 
get it for you and, as I say, you might want to take up that subject 
with Mickey Kantor.

I want to thank you ever so much again for coming.  I've enjoyed this 
give-and-take, and I know you'll have a good conference the remainder of 
the day and you'll enjoy my cabinet colleagues who will be coming before 
you.

Thank you all.

(Applause)

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