[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book II)]
[December 18, 1993]
[Pages 2188-2189]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
December 18, 1993

    Good morning. On this last Saturday before Christmas I want to thank 
you for listening before you go shopping. And on behalf of America's 
retailers, I promise I won't keep you long today.
    I'd like to talk a little bit about our economic future. I don't 
mean next week's sales, as strong as I hope they'll be. I mean the 
future that you and your children will enjoy as families and as workers 
in the global economy that is taking shape around us.
    When I entered office, I pledged that economic renewal would be my 
highest mission. Our first order of business was to get our own economy 
in competitive trim. That's why we enacted an economic plan that reduces 
our deficit by half a trillion dollars over the next 5 years while 
making targeted investments in technology, education and training, and 
defense conversion to help those industries and people who have been 
hurt by defense cutbacks.
    Already, that plan is helping to earn important dividends. Interest 
rates are at historic lows. Inflation is down. We've had 4 straight 
months of rising housing starts, and last month there was a 19-year low 
in the number of people who were late in their home mortgage payments. 
Millions of people have refinanced their homes and businesses, and the 
country's created more private sector jobs this year alone than in the 
previous 4 years combined. Consumer confidence is up dramatically. 
Ordinary Americans are finally beginning to feel the impact of this 
recovery. But there is a lot more to do.
    First, while renewal must begin here at home, we also have to reach 
beyond our borders if we are to prosper over the long run. That's one 
message I have to leave with you today. We're in a time of enormous 
economic change. Old Communist economies are giving way to market 
forces. Information, ideas, and money speed around the planet at the 
speed of light. The new global economy is generating incredible 
prosperity but also an awful lot of uncertainty and dislocation.
    Americans are worried, rightly, about the security of their jobs, 
about the ability of their companies to stay afloat, about the flight of 
factories abroad and whether the people running

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their companies really care about them, about the opportunities all our 
children will have. It's understandable that so many Americans view the 
global economy as a threat. But we have to resist the impulse to 
withdraw behind our trade barriers. From the founding of our Republic to 
the settling of our broad prairies, it's always been in the American 
character to reach out and shape our own destiny. We must draw on that 
spirit for our Nation to thrive in this new age.
    Our workers in today's economy are more productive than ever. Fewer 
people are producing more and more goods and services. But in an 
environment like that, the only way to create more jobs and to raise 
incomes is to have more customers. And that means more exports. That's 
why, in this global economy, America must compete and not retreat.
    Since this summer, our administration has taken several important 
steps to do that. First, at a July summit in Tokyo, we reached agreement 
with our major trading partners in Europe, Japan, and Canada to open 
their markets in a number of sectors to our products. We also struck a 
new agreement with Japan that can begin to correct our unacceptable 
trade imbalance with them.
    Second, in November we secured congressional approval of the North 
American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA creates the world's largest free 
trade area. For America, that means we can find new customers in Mexico, 
and that in turn means more jobs here at home. And NAFTA can lead to 
similar arrangements with emerging free market economies all across the 
Latin American area.
    Just after we passed NAFTA, I convened a first-ever meeting in 
Seattle with leaders from the Asian-Pacific region, the fastest growing 
economy in the world. I made it clear that our Nation intends to share 
in the rising tide of Pacific prosperity.
    And just this week, we concluded the GATT world trade talks that 
began 7 years ago. This is a good, solid deal for our workers and our 
businesses. It cuts foreign tariffs on U.S. products in 8,000 different 
product areas by an average of a third. Once it's fully in place, it 
will add as much as $100 billion to $200 billion to our economy every 
year, and create hundreds of thousands of new and good-paying American 
    When you put that with the fact that we have removed export controls 
from over $35 billion in high-tech computers and telecommunications 
equipment, I'm proud of the strides our country has made toward opening 
our economy, generating more jobs from trade and renewal this year.
    Not since the end of World War II has the United States secured so 
many historic trade expansion agreements in so short a period. These 
efforts are making the world's economic changes work to our advantage, 
and they're reestablishing our leadership in global affairs. But none of 
this would have been possible without the work that you do every day to 
make our Nation stronger, to make our communities more vibrant, and our 
families more secure.
    This year, we've worked hard to help you in those daily strivings. 
We've put the economic interests of America's broad middle class back at 
the center of our policies at home with a fairer Tax Code, with a tax 
break to 15 million lower wage working families to encourage them to 
keep working and raising their children and to stay off welfare with 
passage of the family and medical leave law.
    And during the coming year, my administration will continue to work 
so that all Americans can benefit from this new global economy. That 
means we have to pass a dramatic retraining program, pass our school-to-
work program to help with apprenticeships for non-college-bound young 
people, pass the safe schools act and our safe streets initiative to put 
100,000 more police officers on your streets, and pass universal health 
care reform so that health care will be a security for American families 
and always be there.
    As we celebrate our blessings during this holiday season, let's 
remember that Americans have never cowered from change; we have always 
mastered it. That is something to be grateful for. And together, we're 
going to do it once again.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. from the Oval Office at the 
White House.