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Exchange With Reporters

December 14, 1993

Multilateral Trade Negotiations

Q. Mr. President, are you disappointed about audiovisuals in the GATT?

The President. Well, I'm disappointed we didn't get it resolved, but I sure wanted it out of there once I realized—I didn't want to settle for a bad deal. So we took it out, and now it will be subject to the ordinary trade rules. I think it's far better than accepting what was offered. And no one I knew, including the people in the audiovisual industry, thought it was worth bringing the whole thing down over. They just didn't want to get stuck with a bad deal. In other words, if we could get it out, which we did, as Americans, they want our country to benefit from these overall big reductions in tariffs. But they just didn't want to get trapped into something that wasn't good. So I think we're in pretty good shape.


Q. Mr. President, now that you have had another day to think about the Russian election results——

The President. Well, obviously—no, I haven't talked to anybody about my trip to Russia— any of our people. So I don't know what I'm going to do there. I think that it is—I'll say just what I said yesterday—I think it was probably largely a protest vote. I think that when people are having a tough time and they have a tough time over a long period of years, they often look for simple answers. It's not unique to Russia. You can see that in many other democracies throughout the world and throughout history. It's not all that unusual. I don't think any of us expect to be giving up Alaska any time soon. But I think, there must be a lot of people in Russia who are extremely frustrated and have a high level of anger because they've been through a lot of tough times.

And the people running the multinational institutions that are trying to help these countries convert from old-line Communist, top-down, command-and-control economies to market economies need to be very sensitive to that. I think we need to ask ourselves not so much about him right now, but about what this means for democracy in Russia, in Poland, and in other republics of the former Soviet Union and the other countries of Eastern Europe. And I'll have more to say about that as we go along.

Q. Would you rule out——

The President. Look, I have talked to nobody about anything. I can't even comment on that. I have not discussed my trip. We have not—except in general terms with my own staff. We've been working on other things. I have not had time to even think about it.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 11 a.m. at the Mellon Auditorium. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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