President Clinton Participates in National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade, November 10, 1999


President Clinton Participates In "National Dialogue On Jobs And Trade Day"
Building A New American Consensus On Trade
November 10, 1999

Today, President Clinton will participate in "National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade Day" by travelling to York, Pennsylvania to tour a Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant. The President will participate in a roundtable discussion with workers, management, and Commerce Secretary William Daley. Following the roundtable, the President will address more than two thousand company workers on building a new consensus on trade between all Americans -- labor and management, government and industry, community leaders and ordinary citizens. In addition to the President’s event, "National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade Day" will include 15 other similar events and more than 200 smaller events around the nation.


In his State of the Union address this year, President Clinton stated "I think trade has divided us, and divided Americans outside this chamber, for too long. Somehow we have to find a common ground on which business and workers and environmentalists and farmers and government can stand together" The "National Dialogue on Jobs And Trade Day" is an effort to find that common ground -- bringing labor and management, government and industry together all across the nation to talk about the benefits and challenges of trade. The President’s agenda for the upcoming Seattle WTO also represents his attempt to build a new consensus. The President’s agenda would expand economic opportunities by opening new markets to American goods and services. And, at the same time, the President’s agenda for Seattle would help put "a human face" on the global economy by advancing the rights of workers and protecting our environment.


  • Trade Is Fundamental To American Prosperity Today And In The Future. Since 1948, eight separate rounds of international trade negotiations have helped make the last half century the period of the most rapid, sustained economic growth ever recorded. There remains great potential for further progress. Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S., many in countries that are only now achieving the means to become significant purchasers of American products. The President’s call for a new round of multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization would expand access to these and other markets for American manufacturers, farmers, ranchers, and service providers. Increased trade will continue to contribute to American prosperity in the 21st Century by:
    Supporting higher paying jobs through exports in our most productive sectors;
    Providing producers with a wider choice of suppliers, making them more competitive;
    Providing consumers with more choice and value in purchasing decisions; and
    Stimulating productivity, investment and economic growth through greater competition, exposure to new ideas, and access to capital.
  • Trade Has Contributed To The Continuing Strength Of The Economy. America’s successful engagement in the world economy has helped to propel the economy’s remarkable record of sustained, non-inflationary growth. Market opening agreements have expanded commercial opportunities for many of America’s most productive industries.
    U.S. exports are up 51% over the past six years, in part due to market opening agreements.
    Export expansion has accounted for more than one-quarter of U.S. economic growth between 1992 and 1998.
    The U.S. has grown nearly twice as fast as all of the other countries in the G7. Real industrial production in the US is up over 34% since 1992, compared to a 4% gain for Germany and a 1% decline for Japan.
    Increased trade has contributed to more than 19.6 million net new jobs being created since 1992 (through August 1999), and a 4.1% unemployment rate that is the lowest in a generation.
  • Trade Has Contributed To Higher American Living Standards. By expanding exports and maintaining the world’s most open major market, America has sustained the world’s highest real per capita incomes.
    Average real wages in the U.S. economy have grown 6.3% under President Clinton, and grew by 2.7% in 1998 -- the fastest annual growth in over 20 years.
    From 1992 to 1998, export-related jobs paid 15% more on average than non-export-related jobs.
    The average per capita income of 265 million Americans is high even relative to countries like France, Germany, Japan, Canada, and Australia. The World Bank reports that U.S. real per capita income exceeded the average for 650 million people living in other such high-income countries by nearly 40%.
    Our incomes could be higher still by further opening foreign markets.


The new Round of World Trade Organization negotiations is set to begin in Seattle, Washington on November 30th. The President’s agenda reflects his desire to make Seattle "a new type of Round for a new century: a Round that is about jobs and development." Working with the other nations of the WTO, the President wants the Seattle Round to be about expanding prosperity and improving the quality of life and work here at home and around the globe. This Round should ensure that the global trading system honors our values and meets our goals for the 21st Century. The U.S. agenda in Seattle includes:

  1. Expanding Opportunities For American Agriculture.
    Today, America is the largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, and those exports support 750,000 American jobs that pay higher than average wages. In Seattle, the United States will push for new opportunities for agriculture products:
    Work To Eliminate Export Subsidies
    Reduce Tariffs
    Ensure Market Access For Ag-Biotechnology
    Reduce Trade-Distorting Domestic Supports
  2. Expanding Opportunities For American Goods and Services.
    Manufacturing: Further reduce trade barriers; Eliminate or Sharply Reduce Tariffs; Simplify Customs Procedures.
    Services: Seeking commitments for more openness in key sectors; Ensuring growth for key sectors; Preventing discrimination against particular modes of delivering services.
    Seek Immediate Tariff Cuts In Eight Key Areas
    Increase Transparency in Government Procurement
  3. Ensuring Continued Freedom In The New Industries Of The Future.
    E-Commerce: Extend the 1998 U.S.-led moratorium on electronic transmissions; Ensure that WTO members take no action to inhibit the growth of e-commerce; Ensure that developing countries benefit from e-commerce.
    Promote Adoption of ITA-2: The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) eliminated duties on $600 billion worth of technology products. ITA 2 would make additional information technology products tariff-free.
  4. Putting A Human Face On The Global Economy. President Clinton has worked to "put a human face" on the world economy. In Seattle, the United States will pursue a specific agenda to broaden participation in the benefits of trade among and within nations.
    Labor: The United States proposes the creation of a WTO Working Group on Trade and Labor during the Seattle Round. This Group would provide a mechanism within the WTO to ensure a commitment to internationally recognized core labor standards and to build consensus on issues important to the lives of working people all over the world. In addition, the U.S. supports a strengthening of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
    Environment: The United States will: conduct its own environmental review of the Round and urge the WTO to conduct a review as the round proceeds; pursue “win-win” opportunities that provide open markets and environmental benefits; insist that the WTO continue to recognize the right of members to take measures to meet environmental standards higher than those required by international standards; and strengthen the cooperation between the WTO and international environmental organizations.
    WTO Reform And Developing Country Institution Building: The United States will also pursue an agenda to make the WTO itself more open and accessible. The U.S. is also proposing measures to help developing nations by providing technical assistance on implementing trade policy and strengthening institutions in developing countries responsible for trade, labor, and environment.
  5. Expanding The Community Of Nations That Benefit From And Play By The Rules Of The Trading System.
    Bringing More Nations Into Open Trading System
    Ensuring That Developing Countries Fully Benefit From The Open Trading System

Return to WTO Conference Page ]

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Calls for Efforts in Benefits of Expanded Trade

Support for Enhanced Market Access

Agenda for Seattle WTO

Expanded Opportunities through Agriculture Trade

The Clinton Administration Agenda for the WTO

Summary of U.S.- China Bilateral Agreement

Trade and Ensuring a Healthy Environment

U.S. - China Bilateral WTO Agreement

Dialogue on Jobs and Trade

Harley-Davidson: A Success Story

National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade Day Events

Gene and Barshefsky Press Briefing

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Briefing by Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Gene Sperling

Press Briefing of ILO Convention

ILO Convention Press Release

Remarks on Roundtable with Harley-Davidson Employees

Interview with Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Seattle Farmers, Students, and Officials

Speech to Farmers

Ministers attending the WTO Meetings

Signing of ILO Convention on Child Labor

Executive Order

Worldwide Environmental Protection

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