Gerald R. Ford photo

Joint Declaration Following the International Summit Conference in Puerto Rico.

June 28, 1976

THE HEADS of state and government of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America met at Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico, on the 27th and 28th of June, 1976, and agreed to the following declaration:

The interdependence of our destinies makes it necessary for us to approach common economic problems with a sense of common purpose and to work toward mutually consistent economic strategies through better cooperation.

We consider it essential to take into account the interests of other nations. And this is most particularly true with respect to the developing countries of the world.

It was for these purposes that we held a broad and productive exchange of views on a wide range of issues. This meeting provided a welcome opportunity to improve our mutual understanding and to intensify our cooperation in a number of areas. Those among us whose countries are members of the European Economic Community intend to make their efforts within its framework.

At Rambouillet, economic recovery was established as a primary goal and it was agreed that the desired stability depends upon the underlying economic and financial conditions in each of our countries.

Significant progress has been achieved since Rambouillet. During the recession there was widespread concern regarding the longer-run vitality of our economies. These concerns have proved to be unwarranted. Renewed confidence in the future has replaced doubts about the economic and financial outlook. Economic recovery is well under way and in many of our countries there has been substantial progress in combating inflation and reducing unemployment. This has improved the situation in those countries where economic recovery is still relatively weak.

Our determination in recent months to avoid excessive stimulation of our economies and new impediments to trade and capital movements as contributed to the soundness and breadth of this recovery. As a result, restoration of balanced growth is within our grasp. We do not intend to lose this opportunity.

Our objective now is to manage effectively a transition to expansion which will be sustainable, which will reduce the high level of unemployment which persists in many countries and will not jeopardize our common aim of avoiding a new wave of inflation. That will call for an increase in productive investment and for partnership among all groups within our societies. This will involve acceptance, in accordance with our individual needs and circumstances, of a restoration of better balance in public finance, as well as of disciplined measures in the fiscal area and in the field of monetary policy and in some cases supplementary policies, including incomes policy. The formulation of such policies, in the context of growing interdependence, is not possible without taking into account the course of economic activity in other countries. With the right combination of policies we believe that we can achieve our objectives of orderly and sustained expansion, reducing unemployment and renewed progress toward our common goal of eliminating the problem of inflation. Sustained economic expansion and the resultant increase in individual well-being cannot be achieved in the context of high rates of inflation.

At the meeting last November, we resolved differences on structural reform of the international monetary system and agreed to promote a stable system of exchange rates which emphasized the prerequisite of developing stable underlying economic financial conditions.

With those objectives in mind, we reached specific understandings, which made a substantial contribution to the IMF meeting in Jamaica. Early legislative ratification of these agreements by all concerned is desirable. We agreed to improve cooperation in order to further our ability to counter disorderly market conditions and increase our understanding of economic problems and the corrective policies that are needed. We will continue to build on this structure of consultations.

Since November, the relationship between the dollar and most of the main currencies has been remarkably stable. However, some currencies have suffered substantial fluctuations.

The needed stability in underlying economic and financial conditions clearly has not yet been restored. Our commitment to deliberate, orderly and sustained expansion, and to the indispensable companion goal of defeating inflation provides the basis for increased stability.

Our objective of monetary stability must not be undermined by the strains of financing international payments imbalances. We thus recognize the importance of each nation managing its economy and its international monetary affairs so as to correct or avoid persistent or structural international payments imbalances. Accordingly, each of us affirms his intention to work toward a more stable and durable payments structure through the application of appropriate internal and external policies.

Imbalances in world payments may continue in the period ahead. We recognize that problems may arise for a few developed countries which have special needs, which have not yet restored domestic economic stability, and which face major payments deficits. We agree to continue to cooperate with others in the appropriate bodies on further analysis of these problems with a view to their resolution. If assistance in financing transitory balance of payments deficits is necessary to avoid general disruptions in economic growth, then it can best be provided by multilateral means coupled with a firm program for restoring underlying equilibrium.

In the trade area, despite the recent recession, we have been generally successful in maintaining an open trading system. At the OECD we reaffirmed our pledge to avoid the imposition of new trade barriers.

Countries yielding to the temptation to resort to commercial protectionism would leave themselves open to a subsequent deterioration in their competitive standing; the vigor of their economies would be affected while at the same time chain reactions would be set in motion and the volume of world trade would shrink, hurting all countries. Wherever departures from the policy set forth in the recently renewed OECD trade pledge occur, elimination of the restrictions involved is essential and urgent. Also, it is important to avoid deliberate exchange rate policies which would create severe distortions in trade and lead to a resurgence of protectionism.

We have all set ourselves the objective of completing the Multilateral Trade Negotiations by the end of 1977. We hereby reaffirm that objective and commit ourselves to make every effort through the appropriate bodies to achieve it in accordance with the Tokyo Declaration.

Beyond the conclusion of the trade negotiations we recognize the desirability of intensifying and strengthening relationships among the major trading areas with a view to the long-term goal of a maximum expansion of trade.

We discussed East/West economic relations. We welcomed in this context the steady growth of East/West trade, and expressed the hope that economic relations between East and West would develop their full potential on a sound financial and reciprocal commercial basis. We agreed that this process warrants our careful examination, as well as efforts on our part to ensure that these economic ties enhance overall East/West relationships.

We welcome the adoption, by the participating countries, of converging guidelines with regard to export credits. We hope that these guidelines will be adopted as soon as possible by as many countries as possible.

In the pursuit of our goal of sustained expansion, the flow of capital facilitates the efficient allocation of resources and thereby enhances our economic well-being. We, therefore, agree on the importance of a liberal climate for international investment flows. In this regard, we view as a constructive development the declaration which was announced last week when the OECD Council met at the Ministerial level.

In the field of energy, we intend to make efforts to develop, conserve and use rationally the various energy resources and to assist the energy development objectives of developing countries.

We support the aspirations of the developing nations to improve the lives of their peoples. The role of the industrialized democracies is crucial to the success of their efforts. Cooperation between the two groups must be based on mutual respect, take into consideration the interests of all parties and reject unproductive confrontation in favor of sustained and concerted efforts to find constructive solutions to the problems of development.

The industrialized democracies can be most successful in helping the developing countries meet their aspirations by agreeing on, and cooperating to implement, sound solutions to their problems which enhance the efficient operation of the international economy. Close collaboration and better coordination are necessary among the industrialized democracies. Our efforts must be mutually supportive, not competitive. Our efforts for international economic cooperation must be considered as complementary to the policies of the developing countries themselves to achieve sustainable growth and rising standards of living.

At Rambouillet, the importance of a cooperative relationship between the developed and developing nations was affirmed; particular attention was directed to following up the results of the Seventh Special Session of the UN General Assembly, and especially to addressing the balance of payments problems of some developing countries. Since then, substantial progress has been made. We welcome the constructive spirit which prevails in the work carried out in the framework of the Conference on International Economic Cooperation, and also by the positive results achieved in some areas at UNCTAD IV in Nairobi. New measures taken in the IMF have made a substantial contribution to stabilizing the export earnings of the developing countries and to helping them finance their deficits.

We attach the greatest importance to the dialogue between developed and developing nations in the expectation that it will achieve concrete results in areas of mutual interest. And we reaffirm our countries' determination to participate in this process in the competent bodies, with a political will to succeed, looking toward negotiations, in appropriate cases. Our common goal is to find practical solutions which contribute to an equitable and productive relationship among all peoples.

Note: Participants in the 2-day conference were President Ford, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing of France, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany, Prime Minister Aldo Moro of Italy, Prime Minister Takeo Miki of Japan, and Prime Minister James Callaghan of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The text of the joint declaration was released at Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.

Gerald R. Ford, Joint Declaration Following the International Summit Conference in Puerto Rico. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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