April 16, 1998: Shared Values and Interests with the Americans


Today, President Clinton travels to Chile for a state visit and the Santiago Summit of the Americas. These events are part of a focused approach to the Americas, which included state visits to Washington by Presidents Frei and Chretien in February 1997; the President's trip to Mexico, Central America and Caribbean in May 1997; and the President's trip to Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina in October 1997. This visit will build on President Clinton's message that he began in Miami in 1994, with the first Summit of the Americas, to bring the Americas together around democracy, open markets, and cooperation against common threats.

Embracing Democracy And Free Markets. President Clinton has recognized the quiet revolution that is taking place in the Americas. Today, 34 of the 35 nations in this hemisphere embrace democracy and free markets. After decades of civil wars and unrest has given way to peace and stability. U.S. exports to this region are growing faster than to any other region, indeed 42% of all U.S. exports went to Free Trade Area of the Americas ( FTAA) countries in 1997. The region is becoming a cornerstone for U.S. security and prosperity in 21st century.

Ensuring That Democracy And Open Markets Deliver. The people of Latin America have chosen democracy and open markets. Now, for democracy and markets to endure, they must deliver for all -- moving beyond basic building blocks of elections and market economies to "second generation" reforms in education, rule of law, health care, worker rights, and anti-corruption. These are the reforms that give everyone a chance to participate and prosper. The Santiago Summit will focus on bringing these reforms forward, including:

Pursuing Economic Integration. The Miami Summit set forth a vision of bringing the Americas together around open markets through a Free Trade of the Americas Agreement by 2005. In Santiago, leaders will launch comprehensive negotiations and direct trade ministers to make concrete progress toward this goal by 2000. It will establish a mechanism to allow labor, environment and other civil society groups to contribute to FTAA process. It also will pursue commitments to strengthen bank regulation and market oversight to promote stability of financial markets.

Highlighting Chile's Achievements. The state visit to Chile will give the President an opportunity to spotlight Chile's impressive achievements. The Chile of today has emerged from a turbulent past to become a vibrant democracy, working to ensure that all its citizens share in the fruits of open market economy. Success can be seen in broad-based prosperity, reduced poverty and universal access to improved educational opportunities.

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