Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Trade Bill


April 15, 1988


The President has said he would like to be able to sign a trade bill that will open markets and improve America's competitiveness. The Congress made good progress in moving towards such a bill, although further reasonable improvements still need to be made.


The bill does improve our negotiating authority. It strengthens our hand in taking action against unfair trade practices. It helps us protect our intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, it still contains the plant-closing provision and other nontrade provisions that are injurious to a dynamic economy and America's future prosperity. Our negotiators yesterday were encouraged to believe that the plant-closing provision would be eliminated. Later, however, we were told that after certain consultations took place they could not remove that provision. The labor unions apparently would sacrifice the entire trade bill for this provision.


While the administration would be willing to accept a positive trade bill, we cannot accept a bill that includes seriously flawed elements that will hurt America's competitiveness and economic success. If the bill reaches the President in its present form, the President will veto it.