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Exchange With Reporters Following Discussions With Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada in Seattle

November 18, 1993


Q. [Inaudible]—resolve your differences on NAFTA?

The President. Well, I wouldn't say we resolved them all, but we had a very good meeting, and we agreed that our respective trade representatives would get together, Mr. MacLaren and Ambassador Kantor, and try to work through the issues in a timely fashion. And I feel comfortable that we've set up a good process. We've identified what the points of concern are, and I think we've got a good shot to work it out.

Q. Mr. Prime Minister, can you resolve the issues now without completely reopening NAFTA?

Prime Minister Chretien. That debate is going on at this time. We've discussed the nature of the problem and we tried to find a way to solve the problem. I guess we could, but I'm not sure. That's why, you know, we'll have to reflect on the nature of the problem, and we have only a few weeks to make a final decision because proclamation is for the first of January. But I'm confident that they seem to understand our position and understand the American position, too. So, yes, I'm optimistic that we can find a solution. The technique is something to be worked on, and we'll find a solution. There is always a solution to a problem.

Q. What are the—problems?

Prime Minister Chretien. For us, we talk about a clear definition of what is subsidy and what is dumping and counterbidding. We want to have rules on that; it's extremely important for us. So we're debating that at this moment, how can we find the process to solve this problem and discuss other issues like water and so on. We hope to find the proper solution in the weeks to come.

Trade With Japan and China

Q. Mr. President can you coax China and Japan to open their markets to U.S. products?

The President. We hope so. That's one of the things we're working on here. And in a larger sense, both Canada and the United States being the sort of Western partners in this Asian-Pacific economic group, we want very much to continue to buy from those Asian countries, and we want them to buy our products. We want to build a free trading relationship that will support the growth of Asia and support jobs in our nations. Both of us are very excited about it. We're happy to have this meeting here being hosted in North America.

Prime Minister Chretien. We want to reassure them, too, that what is happening in North America at this moment, it's not a bloc that will become protectionist. It's very important that they understand that now we want to expand trade with the other nations in the Pacific, because there will be more wealth around the world, more jobs for the people who are seeking jobs—United States and Canada.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately 9:15 p.m. at the Westin Hotel. This exchange was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 19. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Following Discussions With Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada in Seattle Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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