February 25, 1982

Today the United States completed its arrangement on November 24, 1981, to procure 1.6 million tons of Jamaica bauxite for the United States strategic stockpile. The agreement, which was signed today by representatives of the United States and Jamaican Government in Jamaica, will benefit both countries as it stimulates the growth of Jamaica's private sector. The United States will receive needed bauxite for our strategic stockpile. Bauxite is the raw material used to produce aluminum, a major element in almost all modern military weapons, such as the F-15 fighter aircraft and the B-1 bomber.

Jamaica in return for its bauxite will receive approximately $39 million in needed foreign exchange plus about 7,000 metric tons of nonfat dry milk and 1,900 metric tons of anhydrous milk fat valued at $13 million. These dairy products are part of the agriculture barter aspects of this bauxite procurement, and they represent the first use of agriculture barter to acquire strategic raw material in almost 15 years. The other portions of bauxite will be procured by direct cash payment, as well as exchange with excess stockpile material no longer needed because of the changing requirements of technology. The procurement will be accomplished under current budget allocations.

This program, developed during the first year of the Reagan administration, is directly supportive of United States policy toward the Caribbean Basin announced by the President yesterday. The program also demonstrates that trade programs between the United States and Caribbean countries are mutually beneficial as will be the aid, trade, and investment aspects of the Caribbean Basin Initiative.