[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 11, 1994]
[Pages 25-28]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to the American Business Community in Brussels 
January 11, 1994

    Thank you very much. Thank you, Jim, and good morning, ladies and 
gentlemen. I got here in time to hear the last several moments of the 
Secretary of State's remarks and all that stuff where he was bragging on 
me, and it reminded me of Clinton's fourth law of politics, which is 
whenever possible be preceded on the platform by someone you've 
appointed to an important position. [Laughter]
    Nonetheless, we did have a good day yesterday, the United States 
did, and I think the Atlantic alliance did. I came here to Europe hoping 
that together we might begin to realize the full promise of the end of 
the cold war, recognizing clearly that this is a difficult economic time 
in Europe, there are still profound difficulties in the United States, 
and that is having an impact on the politics of Europe and of the United 
States and of what we might do.
    Nonetheless, it seemed to me that the time had come to try to 
define, here on the verge of the 21st century, what the elements of a 
new security in Europe and in the United States should be in the 
aftermath of the cold war, one premised not on the division of Europe 
but on the possibility of its integration, its political integration 
around democracies, its economic integration around market economics, 
and its defense integration around mutual defense cooperation.

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    Yesterday when the NATO alliance adopted the concept of the 
Partnership For Peace, we did what I believe history will record as a 
very important thing. We opened up the possibility of expanded NATO 
membership to nations to our east, not only all the former Warsaw Pact 
countries but also other non-NATO members in Europe, all who wish to 
begin to work on joint planning and operations with us and to work 
toward being able to assume the full responsibilities of membership. But 
we did it in a way by opening up the possibility to everyone and making 
no decisions now. We did it in a way that did not have the United States 
and NATO prematurely drawing another line in Europe to divide it in a 
different way but instead gave us a chance to work for the best possible 
future for Europe, one that includes not only the countries of Eastern 
Europe but also countries that were part of the former Soviet Union and 
indeed Russia itself. So we have made, I think, a very good beginning in 
the right way.
    We also are going to have today the first summit with the European 
Union after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, to begin to talk 
about what we can do together to rebuild the rate of economic growth and 
opportunity here and throughout the world.
    Our firms, our American firms, are deeply woven into the fabric of 
Europe's economies. Over 60 percent of all the overseas profits of 
American companies come from Europe. We have 225 billion American 
dollars invested here, employing nearly 3 million Western Europeans 
alone. And back home, trade with Europe generated $120 billion worth of 
exports and about 2\1/2\ million jobs in 1993. We all know--you know 
better than I--that this continent favors, excuse me, faces high 
unemployment and very sluggish growth rates. We also see that in Japan. 
And even though in our country the unemployment rate is coming down, we 
see in every advanced economy great difficulty today in creating jobs 
and generating higher incomes even when people are working harder and 
working smarter.
    The renewal of the Atlantic economies is critical to the future of 
America and, I would argue, critical to the future of our alliance. For 
in a democracy, as we have seen time and time again in votes at home, in 
votes in Europe, and in votes in Russia, when people feel that they are 
anchored and stable and secure, when they believe they will be rewarded 
for their work, when they believe that the future will be better than 
the past, they vote in a certain way. When they are in economic and 
emotional free fall, when they feel disoriented, when they don't know 
whether the future will be better than the past, they often vote in 
another way and in ways that, indeed, make their futures even more 
difficult and life for all peoples more difficult.
    When I became President, it seemed to me that my first order of 
business ought to be to put our own economic house in order. And so we 
worked hard to reverse the exploding deficits of the last 12 years, to 
begin to invest in our own people, to try to do it in a way that would 
keep interest rates low and inflation low and turn the tide of private 
investment in the United States. We have begun to do that. Last year 
more new jobs came into our economy than in the previous 4 years. 
Millions of Americans refinanced their homes and businesses. Consumer 
confidence at the end of the year rose to its highest level in many 
years, and people began to believe that they could pay their debts and 
control their lives. In November, delinquencies on home mortgage 
payments in America reached a 19-year low. So we are beginning to 
believe that we have some discipline, some control of our own destiny.
    We also had to make a tough decision in America last year as a 
people, and that is whether we could grow internally or whether we could 
continue to grow by reaching out to compete and win in a global economy 
and helping our friends and neighbors to grow. That debate was, I 
suppose, captured more clearly for the people of our Nation and the 
people of the world in the congressional debate over NAFTA than in any 
other thing.
    But the issue was bigger and in some ways simpler than that. It 
seems to me clearly that there is no way in a global economy for a 
wealthy country to grow wealthier, to generate more jobs, and to raise 
incomes unless there are more customers for its goods and services and 
customers beyond its own national borders, and that the United States 
can ill afford to be in the vanguard of those running away from that 
idea and instead should be in the vanguard of those promoting it. That's 
really what the NAFTA vote was all about.
    To be sure, those who voted against NAFTA were responding to very 
legitimate pressures and very real fears, for workers all over the world

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believe now that they are too fungible, relatively unimportant to people 
who control their jobs and their lives, and that in the flash of an eye 
their jobs and their livelihoods could be taken away by someone who can 
move money, information across the globe in a millisecond and indeed who 
can move management and technology across the globe in a short amount of 
    And so it is going to be a continuing challenge for us to keep 
Americans outward looking, committed to open trade and more open markets 
and still, at the same time, to make our working people more secure in 
the sense not that they will be able to hold the job they have, because 
they won't--the average American will now change jobs seven or eight 
times in a lifetime--but they must know that they are employable, that 
they will have their basic health care needs and the needs of their 
families taken care of, and that they will have a chance to make the 
changes that will dominate at least the foreseeable decades of the 21st 
century changes that are friendly, not hostile to them. And that is our 
challenge as we begin the next session of Congress in 1994.
    But because of the NAFTA agreement and because of the meeting that 
we had in Washington State with the leaders of the Asian-Pacific region, 
there was a new energy given to the prospect of successfully concluding 
the GATT round. And after 7 years of frustration and progress, we were 
able to do that. I was not fully satisfied with the round. It was 
obviously not perfect from any nation's point of view, and there are 
clearly many things that still have to be done. But there is no doubt in 
my mind that it was in the interest of the United States to conclude the 
GATT round successfully, that it will lead to the creation of hundreds 
of thousands of jobs in our Nation alone and millions worldwide by the 
end of the decade. [Applause] One person believed that. [Laughter]
    And I think now we have to ask ourselves where we go beyond GATT. 
There are several issues, of course, that we need to take up with our 
European friends and with others around the globe. And we will take them 
    We also have to deal with the structural challenges facing our 
economies, the economies of the advanced nations. In March we're going 
to have a jobs conference in the United States. We have a lot to learn 
from some European countries about training and retraining of the work 
force. They have something to learn, perhaps, from us in flexibility of 
the work force and mobility of the work force and the creation of an 
entrepreneurial environment that will enable unemployment to be driven 
down to lower levels. But it is clear that together, along with our 
friends in Japan, we all have to learn something about how to make 
technological and other changes that are going on lead not only to 
higher productivity but the ability of working people to be rewarded for 
that productivity and the ability of nations to create more employment 
within their national borders.
    Beyond that, let me emphasize that when I leave here today after the 
European Union summit, I am going on to Prague to meet with the leaders 
of the Visegrad countries. And it seems to me that it is folly to 
believe that we can integrate Europe through NATO or just on the basis 
of affinity for democracies, unless we are also committed to the 
economic integration of all of Europe and to reaching out to our east.
    I will be urging the leaders of the European Union today to work 
with the United States to further reduce trade barriers and increase 
trade and investment to our east. Today I say to all of you, I hope that 
you are representing companies that as a result of the activities taking 
place in these few days will take another and harder look about your 
prospects in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond, because without 
private investment we cannot hope to have private economic development.
    Oh, I know we have a lot to do in Russia. I know we have a lot to do 
in the other states of the former Soviet Union and still some work to do 
in Eastern Europe. And we are doing that. I am going on to Russia after 
I leave Prague. But in the end, private investment and the development 
of successful private sectors will determine the future of European 
integration economically. And without it, I don't believe we can hope to 
sustain the military and political ties that we are building up.
    So I ask you to do that. The United States Government has worked 
hard to eliminate outdated export controls and to support American 
companies in Europe. We hope that in turn you will feel emboldened to 
make more investments further east and to do what you can to improve our 
prospects to generate higher levels of trade and investment across 
national borders in ways that benefit people everywhere. For in

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the end, governments do not create wealth, people like you do.
    Soon your efforts will be sending goods back and forth through the 
Chunnel. Your capital already is building bonds of commerce and culture 
across the Atlantic. You are in many ways the pioneers of the new Europe 
we are trying to ensure. Just by instinct, you will want the kind of 
integration that we have to work for around the political conference 
tables. Your determination to enter new markets is a hallmark of the 
American spirit and can help make the 21st century an American century 
as well.
    I hope you will do that. I assure you that we will work hard to do 
our part.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:06 a.m. at the Conrad Hotel. In his 
remarks, he referred to Jim Prouty, president, American Chamber of