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U.S. Department of State
96/02/29 Remarks: Wal-Mart Super Center, Avellaneda, Argentina
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)
For Immediate Release February 29, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
AT HIS VISIT TO WAL-MART
Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 29, 1996
Buenos dias. Good Morning. Minister, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Ambassador, Mr.
Martin, colleagues, it is really exciting to be here this morning. I am
up here on the stage surrounded by individuals from two friendly but
foreign countries: Argentina and Arkansas. I want you all to know that
it is just a coincidence that I have chosen to make this stop here at
the Wal- Mart store in Buenos Aires. It has absolutely nothing to do
with fact that Wal-Mart is headquartered in President Clinton's home
state of Arkansas. It has nothing to do with the fact that I saw Mrs.
Alice Walter [Walton] coming out of the President's office a few days
ago. Seriously, she didn't know that I was coming here and she was
terribly pleased that I was going to come by here and say "hello."
I particularly enjoyed my tour of the store this morning. But they did
not let me stop to look at any of the goods...they just moved me right
through. I was particularly attracted by the bicycles, Bobby. Thinking
of the things I have got to do today, I really think I could use a
I particulary want to thank Minister Cavallo for being with us today.
He is one of our heroes in the United States. We credit the Minister
and President Menem with the revival of the economy here and the
transformation that has taken place. He and the President have made
Argentina one of the great economic success stories of this decade --
indeed of this century. Foreign investment has poured in; the United
States, with companies like Wal-Mart, have led the way.
I also want to acknowledge the presence of my close friend Mack McLarty.
He is the President's counselor and one of his closest advisors. He and
I became close friends when I was stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas for
parts of the President's campaign. I can tell you that Mack is a big
booster of Argentina. He was very instrumental in persuading me to come
here. It did not take too much arm twisting because I, in my private
life, in real life, I made several trips here and I just love this city
and this country.
This store is already a huge success. It has really been a
international phenomenon. This one store sold one million dollars in one
day. You can see why American companies are coming here when you have
that kind of an opportunity -- so long as they do a good job. Our
bilateral trade with them, Argentina is growing by leaps and bounds:
$1.7 billion in Argentinian exports to the United States last year. By
the same token, U.S. exports to Argentina are rising. It is good
business for both of us.
Companies like Wal-Mart, GTE, and Enron are providing good jobs and
great new opportunities in both of our countries. Through our efforts
to open new markets, to eliminate trade barriers, the Clinton
Administration is trying to do its part to make this kind of an
investment profitable and possible.
You probably all know that this is an election year in the United States
and we're hearing again from those who say that the United States should
erect walls and shut itself off from the world. Let me assure you: we
will not do that. As President Clinton said, "we must reach out and not
retreat. We have to break down walls, not build them up."
Later today I will be meeting with President Menem, as well as my
counterpart Foreign Minister Di Tella. In that meeting we will be
renewing our commitment to open trade and economic cooperation and
having free trade, open trade in the entire hemisphere by the year 2005.
Let me thank you all once again for letting me join you on this very
happy occasion. This is one of the things that a Secretary of State gets
to do. It is a happy time and a happy day.
Successful investments such as this one are real tribute [not only] to
the energy and skill of the American businessmen but also to the success
of Argentina's economic reforms. So I end where I began, and that is by
complimenting President Menem and the Finance Minister for doing what
they have done to make Argentina's economy an engine for trade and
investment all through this hemisphere and particularly for the United
States. I know that Minister Cavallo would join me in saying to all of
you "Enjoy your good jobs. Work hard at them. And enjoy good life."
Thank you very much.
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