[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[July 1, 1998]
[Pages 1157-1158]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to the Building Construction and Finance Community in Shanghai
July 1, 1998

    Thank you very much, Vice Mayor Zhou; Deputy Magistrate Wang; to 
developer Gu Cai Xin; to the Tang family, whose home the Members of the 
U.S. Congress visited; and to Ms. Yu and her family, who were very kind 
to take me into their home; and to all of you. It's a pleasure to be 
here today.
    I would like to begin by thanking the folk music band for the 
wonderful music. Thank you very much. And I would like to say to all of 
you who are moving into new homes, Gong xi, gong xi. Congratulations.
    More than 20 years ago, I bought my first home. I actually bought it 
because my girlfriend liked the house. [Laughter] We were driving by the 
house one day--it was a very small house--and she said, ``I like that 
house very much.'' So I found out the house did not cost too much money, 
and I bought it. And then I said to my girlfriend, ``I bought that house 
you like; now you'll have to marry me.'' [Laughter] And she did. So I 
hope that your homes bring you as much joy as mine did 23 years ago.
    I came here with your local officials and Ambassador Sasser and 
Ambassador Li and the Members of Congress to emphasize the importance of 
homeownership to the future of the people of China and to the prosperity 
of your country. As you could see from what Ms. Yu said, owning a home 
is a source of pride to a family and a tribute to its industry and hard 
work. But all China benefits from more homeowners because that means 
more jobs, a stronger economy, stronger families. And of course, when 
people own their own homes, they are free to take new jobs without 
worrying about losing housing benefits. We also see around the

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world that homeowners take more responsibility for the communities in 
which they live.
    In America, we have worked hard to expand the dream of 
homeownership, and today, 65 percent of all Americans--an all-time 
record--live in homes that they own. This has made our country stronger, 
and I know greater homeownership will also strengthen China.
    Because we want to support greater homeownership, I am proud to 
announce today that we are creating a U.S.-China residential building 
council to promote new technologies and energy-efficient materials to 
build sturdy homes that are affordable to live in. Our Department of 
Commerce will also bring Americans to China to discuss how to build a 
stronger system of financing homes, from strengthening property rights 
to developing stronger mortgage markets. This will help to make more 
homes available to more Chinese families.
    I am determined to build a strong partnership and a good friendship 
between the United States and China that will actually make a positive 
difference in people's lives.
    Congratulations to all of you on your new homes and on the bright 
futures you are building for your families.
    Thank you very much, and we thank the weather for holding off until 
after the event is over. [Laughter]
    Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 3:47 p.m. in the Jin Hui Gardens. In his 
remarks, he referred to Vice Mayor Zhou Muyao of Shanghai; Wang Zuchao, 
deputy magistrate for urban construction affairs, Minhang District of 
Shanghai; Gu Cai Xin, Jin Hui Gardens developer; homeowner Yu Jianyuan; 
and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Li Xhaoxing.