|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade
November 10, 1999, Washington, D.C.
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
I am pleased to add my voice to those of President Clinton and my fellow Cabinet colleagues on the occasion of today's National Dialogue on Jobs and Trade. In my travels abroad representing our great country, I have witnessed firsthand the growing integration of our economy with the rest of the world -- everywhere I go, there is more and more evidence of U.S. industrial goods and farm products in foreign markets. It is fitting that in three weeks the United States will host the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle. This event is an opportunity to shape the economic landscape of the next century to ensure that the benefits of freer and fairer trade continue for the U.S. and other countries. We will do this in a manner that enhances our commitment to the environment and the welfare of workers.
The growing export of U.S. industrial products and agricultural goods overseas has been key to the success of our economy over the past decade -- we have become the greatest trading nation in history. This expansion of trade has been due in large part to the access to foreign markets that WTO rules guarantee. These exports support millions of American jobs. At the same time, our economic expansion has enabled us to buy more and more goods from overseas. The foreign laborers who produce these goods also consume American products, and so the mutual market access guaranteed by the WTO brings benefits to U.S. and foreign workers alike.
This Administration also wants to ensure that working people everywhere feel they have a stake in global trade. The observance internationally of core worker rights is one means we will insist on to help raise the quality of life for workers everywhere. The U.S. has also proposed the creation of a working group on trade and labor in the WTO because of our firm view that this is a legitimate and necessary means to address concerns about the effects of freer trade on workers. We also support establishing a role for the International Labor Organization in the WTO.
Similarly, because economic growth entails the potential for both environmental benefit and harm, the Administration will make sure that the expected environmental impact of new trade liberalization will be taken into account in the negotiations. The U.S. will conduct an environmental review of the new Round and is also committed to taking complementary action in other fora to protect the environment.
The rules that govern the world trading system may seem arcane, but they are not sinister. Nonetheless, we believe that the rules-based WTO system that has worked to the great benefit of the U.S. economy over the past few years should be made more accessible to those on the outside. Enhanced transparency will strengthen public trust and support for the WTO system as a whole.
Thus at the end of the month, President Clinton will welcome the World Trade Organization to Seattle. Together, the United States and more than 130 other nations will launch a new round of trade talks that will ultimately determine how trade is conducted in the 21st Century. We will begin a dialogue that, as President Clinton has said, will strive to put a human face on trade, promote sound economic development, and establish practices that protect the environment.
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