Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the President's "E" and "E Star" Awards

May 23, 1984

I don't know about you, but all morning I've been sitting in there watching the sky. [Laughter] I heard early predictions of rain; we'll have to get this over with.

But I thank you all very much, and it's always a pleasure to welcome the business men and women of America to the White House. I'm delighted to take part in celebrating World Trade Week, which reaffirms the importance to our well-being of trade and recognizes the need for increased export efforts.

America's future growth and prosperity depend on how well we develop and compete in foreign markets. One in eight manufacturing jobs is related to exports, and 25 percent of our farmers' cash receipts come from exports. In fact, exports account for 25 percent of the total value of all goods produced in this country.

Exports mean jobs for our people, profits for our businesses, and growth for our economy. And that's why it's going to be a pleasure to present the well-deserved "E" and "E Star" Awards for excellence in exporting.

But let me begin by pointing out the backdrop for export opportunities in the economic climate here at home. I know you're all familiar with the dramatic turnaround that has been accomplished. We're in the midst of a wonderful economic expansion, and I believe we have a lot to be proud of. Our growth is helping to pull the rest of the free world out of recession, and this will increase demand for American exports.

But occasionally the interests of diplomacy and the interests of American industry seem to conflict. Well, our administration sees it as our job to reconcile the two and make it easier for American business to open up new markets on a fair footing. And we're working hard in that direction.

In 1982 we passed the Export Trading Company Act aimed at opening foreign trade opportunities for medium- and small-sized companies. The bill removed impediments to trade, permitting companies to sell American products overseas more efficiently and more effectively. We're also implementing an international investment policy to reduce the number of government measures that distort or impede the flow of international investment. Our trade missions have been to Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, seeking to develop new export opportunities.

Now, these are just several of the efforts. We're going to do everything we can to get government out of the way to make sure that you have the opportunity to compete effectively in world markets. And there's something else. Last November 1 visited Japan and Korea. And last month it was China. And next week it's Europe and the London Economic Summit. I'm beginning to feel a little like an export product myself. [Laughter] But one of the key purposes of these trips is to see that all the export trading doors are opened as wide as possible.

As I told a number of export trade industry representatives last month in Tacoma, when I go abroad I go as something of a salesman and do everything I can to promote U.S.. exports except, possibly, wear a "Buy American" bumper sticker on my bag.

We're committed to keeping markets open to free trade. We oppose protectionism because, like so many other forms of government intervention, it doesn't work. Protectionism brings higher prices, it provokes retaliation, and it insulates inefficiencies in production. And we'll continue to oppose it.

Government can set the framework for expanded trade, but it can't make trade flourish. That's up to you, the private sector, to make that happen. And that's why it's my privilege to present the "E" and "E Star" Awards. Our award winners are making it happen in a fiercely competitive environment. And you have good reason to be proud, and we're proud of you.

And so now, for the awards, I shall turn this back to Secretary Brown.

[At this point, the awards were presented.]

Well, thank you all again for being here. And congratulations to all of you, gentlemen. Thank you very much.

And now, I'll go back to work.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Following the President's remarks, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Clarence J. Brown announced the names of the award winners, and a representative of each organization was presented with a framed citation by the President.

Recipients of the "E" Award were James B. Cantrell, president, Belco Industries, Inc., Carrizozo, NM; John R. Bondhus, president, Bondhus Corp., Monticello, MN; Emery G. Olcott, president, Canberra Industries, Meriden, CT; Sergio de Armas, president, Florida Exporters and Importers Association, Miami, FL; Leonard Kunzman, director, Agricultural Development and Marketing Division, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Salem, OR; J. Reese Phifer, president, Phifer Wire Products, Tuscaloosa, AL; Dwight F. Messinger, president, Power Curbers, Inc., Salisbury, NC; D. David Szymanek, president, REC Specialties, Camarillo, CA; Dr. Leonard Skolnick, president, Spitz Space Systems, Chadds Ford, PA; John Walker, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Nashville, TN; and Dr. Donald Tourville, president, Zeus Scientific, Inc., Raritan, NJ.

Recipients of the "E Star" Award were Harold W. Godberson, president, GOMACO Corp., Ida Grove, IA; William Donohue, commissioner, New York State Department of Commerce; and Steve Perry, general manager, Toledo Scale Co., Division of Reliance Electric, Worthington, OH.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the President's "E" and "E Star" Awards Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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