May 5, 1988
By the President of the United States of America
Setting aside a week in celebration of international trade is a fitting way to remind ourselves of the countless benefits of world trade for Americans and for people around the globe, and to remember that freedom is, and must be, an essential element in economic life -- individual, national, and international.
International trade can link individuals and nations alike by providing opportunities for the interchange of goods and services, the fruit of human talents that transcend boundaries of geography and culture. The key ingredient in every act of trade is freedom. Only freedom respects the inherent rights, dignity, conscience, and worth of individuals; only freedom encourages individuals to develop their creative abilities to the fullest and to command fair return for their labor; and only freedom provides a rational and humane basis for economic decision-making. The freedom of exchange that is at the heart of every genuine economic transaction benefits all parties and builds competition, enterprise, prosperity, justice, cooperation, and social well-being as people achieve economic success by finding their fellowman's unmet needs and filling them well.
Our country's prosperity likewise depends on our ability to identify needs and markets for goods and services and to meet them well. Our free market economy, our belief in free but fair trade on a global basis, and the American people's ingenuity and ability all make our products among the world's most competitive -- and we intend to keep it that way.
My Administration has worked to improve the climate for international trade by seeking a renaissance in American competitiveness. Last year, as American goods regained price competitiveness overseas, exports hit a record level; more than 407,000 manufacturing jobs were created; and employment surged, with more Americans in the labor force than ever before. Exports spell opportunity for American business; thousands of U.S. firms have increased their profit margins by exporting, and thousands are beginning to discover their untapped potential to succeed in export markets. This year's World Trade Week theme, "Export Now,'' champions the message that I have joined the Secretary of Commerce in sending and exemplifies America's winning spirit.
Foreign markets are now more open to American goods than in the past, but we have far to go in the quest to undo unfair restrictions on trade. We seek to encourage removal of foreign barriers to free trade, but we simultaneously work to discourage domestic protectionism -- more accurately described as "destructionism,'' because it stifles progress and prosperity by preventing competition and economic transactions that people everywhere desire and need. We also reiterate the intention of the United States Government to ensure that our trade policies serve to reinforce our national security interests around the world. International trade policies and practices must promote the causes of freedom, human rights, and economic growth everywhere.
World Trade Week is a truly appropriate time to remember the many benefits international trade has conferred on our country and to reflect on the many blessings the spread of economic freedom has brought, and can bring, to people in every nation.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the week beginning May 22, 1988, as World Trade Week. I invite the people of the United States to join in appropriate observances to reaffirm the great promise of international trade for creating jobs and stimulating economic activity in our country and for generating prosperity everywhere freedom reigns.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:07 p.m., May 6, 1988]