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<DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page i-ii] Monday, October 27, 1997 Volume 33--Number 43 Pages 1611-1656 Contents [[Page i]] Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents [[Page ii]] Addresses and Remarks America Reads initiative--1622 Argentina, Nahuel Huapi National Park in San Carlos de Bariloche-- 1620 Asia Society and the United States-China Education Foundation Board--1648 Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues--1624 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dinner--1626 National Board for Professional Teaching Standards honoring board- certified master teachers--1643 National Geographic Society--1629 Radio address--1618 Voluntary national testing for basic education skills--1622 White House Conference on Child Care--1634 Bill Signings Second continuing resolution for fiscal year 1998, statement--1641 Communications to Congress Narcotics Traffickers in Colombia, letter transmitting notice--1616 Executive Orders Further Amendment to Executive Order 13038--Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters-- 1634 Interviews With the News Media Interview with Argentine reporters in Buenos Aires, Argentina--1611 Notices Continuation of Emergency With Respect to Significant Narcotics Traffickers Centered in Colombia--1616 Proclamations National Character Counts Week--1617 National Forest Products Week--1617 United Nations Day--1642 Statements by the President See also Bill Signings Death of Ann Devroy--1641 Japan-U.S. trade agreement on access to Japanese ports--1615 Supplementary Materials Acts approved by the President--1656 Checklist of White House press releases--1655 Digest of other White House announcements--1653 Nominations submitted to the Senate--1654 WEEKLY COMPILATION OF ------------------------------ PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents contains statements, messages, and other Presidential materials released by the White House during the preceding week. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is published pursuant to the authority contained in the Federal Register Act (49 Stat. 500, as amended; 44 U.S.C. Ch. 15), under regulations prescribed by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, approved by the President (37 FR 23607; 1 CFR Part 10). Distribution is made only by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents will be furnished by mail to domestic subscribers for $80.00 per year ($137.00 for mailing first class) and to foreign subscribers for $93.75 per year, payable to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The charge for a single copy is $3.00 ($3.75 for foreign mailing). There are no restrictions on the republication of material appearing in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. [[Page 1611]] <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 1611-1615] Monday, October 27, 1997 Volume 33--Number 43 Pages 1611-1656 Week Ending Friday, October 24, 1997 Interview With Argentine Reporters in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 17, 1997 MERCOSUR Trade and the World View Q. I will begin with a question about one of the main aspects of your visit to Brazil and Argentina, which was the MERCOSUR question. During several months it appeared that there were controversial views in the U.S. concerning MERCOSUR. Since you strongly backed, both in Brazil and Argentina, MERCOSUR, the question is how you built up your conclusion or your position over the MERCOSUR, and did you consider, eventually, other approaches before taking a final decision, particularly in Brazil the other day? The President. Well, I think that the impression developed--first of all, let's talk about how the impression developed. Q. Yes. The President. I think the impression developed because some people in the Government and in the press in America I think had the impression that MERCOSUR might be used as a vehicle to limit the growth of trade and investment with the United States in ways that would have adverse consequences for our long-term political, as well as our economic, cooperation. Now, let me say, at the end of the cold war there were Americans who felt that way about the European Union as well. When I became President, there was a group of people, good people, in our Government, permanent civil servants, who had the same feeling about the European Union. But I have a very different view. I believe that the United States should do whatever it can to promote the political and economic cooperation of democracies, not simply to grow the economy but in a larger sense to lift the conditions of ordinary people and to strengthen democratic institutions so that they cannot be reversed, and finally, because the threats we face today at the end of the cold war are much more likely to be threats that cross national borders, like terrorism, drugs, organized crime, as opposed to threats from other nations. So we all have to adjust our thinking. What I'm trying to do is to promote a process of reorganization of the world so that human beings are organized in a way that takes advantage of the new opportunities of this era and permits them to beat back the problems. If you start with that presumption, instead of a political organization in South America that doesn't include us is a threat to us, then you come to a very different conclusion. My conclusion is that MERCOSUR has been good for the countries that are members of it because they've torn down barriers among each other. That helps them all economically. At the same time, our trade with all the MERCOSUR nations has increased. And it permits other things. For example, Brazil and Argentina worked with us to stop the interruption of the democratic process in Paraguay. We now have the problems of potential terrorist activities in the tri-border--the countries are now better equipped to do that. So to me this is a positive thing. Now, having said that, what I had hoped to do on this trip is to convince the leaders, not just the Presidents but the leadership, generally, that it is also in our interest to follow through on the commitment we made at the Summit of the Americas in Miami to work toward a free trade area of the Americas, and to see MERCOSUR, NAFTA, Andean Pact, CARICOM as building blocks in this. This is very important, because if the rest of the world should happen not to agree with us philosophically, then having a big trade area will be a great insurance policy for all these countries. And if we can prove that you can merge integrated economies and integrated democracies, then we'll be more likely to build a global system of this kind. [[Page 1612]] So that's a long answer, but anyway it's important that you understand that this MERCOSUR issue for me is part of a very big world view. I just never felt as threatened by it as a lot of people who saw it in terms of this particular negotiation over this tariff or this custom or that sort of thing. Social Inequity Q. Mr. President, in this era of free market in the region, the problem of social inequity is a great deal for our countries and also for the strength of our democracy. I would like to have your views about that. The President. First of all, I think it's important to point out that this problem of social inequity is a problem that every country in the world is facing, even countries with very robust growth. No country has solved the problem perfectly of how to grow the economy and preserve more equality and at the same time move more poor people into the middle class. Let me just give you a couple of examples. Look at France, which has a very strong social contract but pays for it with very high unemployment. Great Britain has opted for a policy more like ours, where they're generating lots of jobs now--their unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, only about a point and a half higher---- Q. Five-point-nine yesterday. The President. ----5.9 yesterday, so it's only a point higher than ours. And they're open to immigrants now, as the United States is. But as a result of that, because the modern economy favors technology and education, they've had increasing inequality there, just as we have. I think it's important to point out that most of this is due to the structural changes in all advanced economies driven by technology. Trade is a part of it, but mostly it's the changing of the paradigm, if you will, away from the industrial society to the information age. And I believe the answer is to have the Government have less destructive involvement in the economy, but the Government should have more constructive involvement in the society. Basically, you have to do, I think, three things. You have to, first of all, have a system of lifetime education and training so that everybody can participate. Secondly, you have to have a strategy to bring the benefits of free markets to the places that are untouched. Technology can help. Investment can help. I think that is very important. And thirdly, you have to have adequate protections for people who, through no fault of their own, are not participating. This is easy to say and difficult to do, because if it costs too much to do this you will weigh down the economy. But essentially that is what must be done. So the challenge in Argentina, the challenge in Brazil, the challenge in Latin America is, in a different way, the challenge that we in America face--in the United States--and that the Europeans are trying to do--even the Japanese now are having to deal with it. So this is the new social challenge of the 21st century. The answer is not to withdraw from the trade or to pretend that the technology doesn't exist, the answer is to get all the benefits. Argentina for example--I will make you a prediction here. If you can maintain these levels of growth that you have now, your unemployment will go down, but it will not go as low as you want unless you have real systems to create more small businesses, to hook small business into technology and exports, and to create much more universally effective education systems. But that's no criticism of the last 7 years; you had to fix all the problems of the past before you can confront the challenges of the present. Integrity in Government Q. Mr. President, to follow up what you just said, corruption makes inequality even worse. You said that the applying of the term ``endemic corruption'' to Brazil has been a mistake. What's the precise meaning of widespread corruption that had been implied in the same document to the Argentine situation? The President. Well, first of all, I wasn't even familiar with this document. I didn't know it was issued. I don't know who wrote it. But let me back up and say when you are in a period where the Government has had heavy-handed involvement in the economy and then things start to change and arrange- [[Page 1613]] ments are unsettled, that's a point where, in general, civil societies are vulnerable to corruption. Also, human nature being what it is, there will nearly always be someone somewhere who is doing something wrong. So what you want, however, is a system where the incentives are to be honest; where there are disincentives--sanctions--for being dishonest; and where you're moving in the right direction. I told President Menem--we had a talk about this last night--I was complimenting President Caldera of Venezuela because he took the lead in making sure that our hemisphere--we have, basically, the only convention against corruption of any hemisphere in the world. And I said to President Menem, and I said to the young people at the townhall meeting yesterday, what my experience is, just from my life in politics. And that is that if a civil society can maintain a vigorous, free press, an economy that works, and you can just preserve democracy, time takes care of a lot of this. That is, I believe that 20 years from now, an American President will be sitting here, and either you will be sitting here or your successors will be, and I will predict to you that if democracy survives in Argentina, which I believe it will, there will be less corruption, but you could still ask a question about corruption. Do you see what I mean? You could still ask. So what my advice would be here, because this country has come so
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