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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks before the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors
Washington, D.C., April 2, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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As Prepared

Thank you Dick Grasso and Rusty Powell. This is a magnificent setting, and an incredibly distinguished audience. I am delighted to see so many representatives from the diplomatic community, and from Congress. And I am pleased to welcome to Washington the Board of the Stock Exchange, and your advisors from around the world.
I know that you heard from Secretary Rubin at lunch today, and that you will hear from Arthur Levitt and Alan Greenspan tomorrow. Together, they should give you a comprehensive picture of trade and monetary policy. I will try to do the same for foreign policy.
In my job, I'm often asked about America's view of the world now that the Cold War is receding into memory, and a new century is about to dawn.
Because I am a former professor, I have no trouble answering that question in sound bites that are fifty minutes long.
But tonight, in deference to the length of your day, and the lulling effects of this wonderful dinner, I will give an abridged version.
In my view, it is possible now to divide the world, very generally, into four categories of countries: those that participate as full members of the international system; those that are in transition and seek to participate more fully; those that are too weak to participate in a meaningful way; and those that reject the very rules and precepts upon which the system is based.
For policymakers, there is a corresponding four-part challenge:
Clearly, the "international system" is not a precise term. It refers to a network of rule-based institutions and arrangements that govern the ties among countries. These vary from the simplest bilateral treaty to the most complex global agreement.
It is American policy to strengthen and broaden this system. That serves our interests and those of our friends and allies across the globe.
Accordingly, under President Clinton's leadership, we are working with Russia and others to establish and implement rules that reduce the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.
We are engaged with our partners in adapting European institutions so that we may fulfill the dream of a continent fully undivided, democratic and at peace.
We are standing with the peacemakers against the bombthrowers in the Middle East, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and other troubled regions.
And we are helping to shape a global economy that is more open and fair.
In this connection, we are encouraging the accession of Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to the WTO, provided it is on commercially acceptable terms.
We are pursuing with the OECD a multilateral agreement on investment that would protect our investors and promote the free flow of capital.
We are seeking fast track negotiating authority from Congress to expand further the liberalization of trade.
And we are providing assistance to emerging democracies that would like to participate more fully in the international system.
In recent years, I have traveled to a number of countries where democratic reforms have begun, but are not complete. And I have found that everyone from tycoons to street vendors understand that attracting investment is one key to their future.
But an investor who doesn't ask questions won't stay an investor very long. In societies where the rule of law is suspect, dollars have a habit not of contributing to development for the many, but to the bank accounts of a greedy and corrupt few.
So if we want to enlarge the circle of market democracies, we need to focus more of our energy and resources on helping friends to build democratic institutions that work and to create a legal environment in which capital markets may grow.
That is exactly what the United States is doing in Central Europe where our Agency for International Development assisted most recently in opening the Romanian Stock Exchange.
That is what we are doing in Latin America where we are working with the civilian police in El Salvador, boosting microenterprise in Bolivia, helping the Attorney General fight corruption in Honduras and aiding the war against illegal drugs throughout the hemisphere.
And it is what we are doing in Africa, where the public image of starvation and strife tells only a superficial and misleading part of the story.
The best new leaders in Africa are pursuing monetary, regulatory and legal policies designed to help private enterprise take hold. Many stress "trade not aid" as a means to economic growth. But they also recognize that the right kind of aid will help create the stability in which local entrepreneurs may thrive and outside investors may have confidence.
To encourage these trends, the Clinton Administration is working with Congress towards renewal of the GSP trade preferences program, including an expansion of benefits for the least developed countries. And we have placed the economic integration of Africa high on the agenda for the Summit of Eight meeting in Denver this summer.
A more inclusive international system will contribute to political stability and higher standards of living. But to maintain the system's integrity, we must protect it from those who willfully disregard its rules.
Accordingly, the United States is insisting that Iraq and Libya comply with all the UN Security Council resolutions to which they are subject.
We have encouraged other countries to stop doing business with Iran until Iran stops doing business with terrorists.
We are pursuing initiatives to win the fight against transnational crime.
And we do not hesitate to speak out against the violation of internationally-recognized human rights.
During my recent trip around the world, I became more convinced than ever that the President's description of America as "the indispensable nation" is apt. American leadership is essential. But the active help and engagement of others is equally important.
Global progress is not a zero sum game. As nations, corporations and people, we all have a stake in whether we can establish and enforce a system of standards that will cause our global community to grow more peaceful, prosperous, stable and free.
Despite this, within almost every country, in every region, there are those who oppose or resist the trend towards integration.
Some seek the illusion of economic security behind protectionist walls, forgetting that although imports replace jobs, exports create more and better jobs.
Some see cooperation among nations as a threat to national sovereignty, when in fact, it is one means by which national sovereignty is exercised.
Some, especially dictators, fear that compliance with international rules in one area will increase pressure for compliance in others--and let's hope they're right.
Finally, some are simply afraid of the process of change.
As a result, the debate between those who wish to strengthen the international system, and those who would weaken or remain apart from it, is not settled. We still have some persuading to do.
To succeed, we must remember first that the purpose of international cooperation is to raise standards. We must be bullish about our ability to improve upon the past.
Until a few years ago, we were trying to negotiate limits on the growth of nuclear arsenals. Now, we are discussing the pace at which those arsenals may be reduced.
In the 1980's, a book entitled "How Democracies Perish" was hailed as a prophecy of events to come; now we are helping new democracies to meet the high standards of NATO and the European Union.
Until recently, we tended to talk about trade in isolation. Now, we are striving to ensure that trade liberalization, environmental considerations and core labor standards are mutually reinforcing.
We used to view corruption as an accepted way of doing business. Now, we have achieved a consensus in our hemisphere and at the UN General Assembly, and we hope to do the same at next month's Ministerial meeting of the OECD, that bribery is wrong. And that anyone who offers a bribe to a foreign official should be given not a tax deduction, but a jail term.
We must also respond to the reality that while the global marketplace provides rich rewards for many; others--both among and within nations--risk being left behind.
This requires that we maintain our commitment to the vitality and vision of the Bretton Woods institutions. Their medicine is sometimes bitter, but--unlike the placebos offered by centralized economies--it is medicine. When taken as prescribed, economies get healthier, inflation goes down and employment goes up.
By acting responsibly, multinational corporations can help the international banks and local governments succeed. Nothing is more encouraging than the competition that has begun in some industries for bragging rights about which company has done the most to help the environment, improve working conditions or train employees. This competition is good for the international system, good for business, and one that consumers welcome and will reward.
Finally, those of us who understand the benefits of a world that is working together to build stability, prosperity and freedom must make our case over and over again.
Here in America, we must stress that the time has long since past when we could turn our backs on those overseas.
The Stock Exchange is a potent symbol of the interconnections that now exist between America's well-being and that of others. Because of our power and the power of our ideals, we are expected to lead.
But global leadership is a multinational enterprise. We look to allies and friends on every continent to do their fair share, and we insist that all countries respect the law.
A half century ago, a generation of leaders offered a plan for re-building a Europe decimated by war, and a helping hand to former friends and adversaries in Asia. Their goals then were similar to our goals today. They understood that nations working together as trading partners and partners in peace would be less likely to fall into the abyss of war.
They believed that gaining the commitment of nations to high standards of law and human rights would make the world less brutal and less unjust.
And they believed in human progress--for they had just defeated the greatest enemies of progress ever to walk the earth.
Their task, then, was concentrated on the former battlegrounds of that war.
History enables us now to cast the net more broadly. Today, there is no region of the earth that need remain outside the international system.
As I have said, the broadening and strengthening of that system cannot be done by governments alone. It is a joint opportunity, in which the private sector--that's you--must play a strong partnership role.
As one whose job it is to protect American interests, I hope and believe that, together, we will seize that opportunity. And by so doing, arrive at the end of this century well prepared for the next.
Thank you very much.

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