Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Members of the President's Export Council

October 15, 1981

Thank you all very much. I'm pleased to greet you this morning as members of the Export Council, Mr. Secretary and Mr. Chairman, Madam Chairman.

There is much to be done, and each of you has been selected because you have a contribution to make. In a message to Congress in 1957 President Eisenhower said, "International commerce is beneficial to the community of nations and conducive to the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the world."

Well, maybe that's even more true today. We see free and expanded trade between people and nations because this form of human activity is beneficial to everyone. It solidifies bonds of friendship and increases the standard of living of those on both sides of the transaction. The America of the 1980's is far more dependent on exports than during Eisenhower's time. Since 1960, our export business has grown from $19.6 billion per year to $220.6 billion in 1980. More than five million jobs in the United States are now directly tied to our thriving export industry. Our exports have played a key role in offsetting this Nation's increased import of foreign oil.

As a group, you possess a wealth of experience and knowledge. Under the leadership of Paul Lyet and Anna Chennault, we plan to tap this resource by asking you to help direct your country's policies in this vital area. We're relying on you to help improve America's competitive position in international trade.

The previous council did an excellent job in identifying regulations that impede the export industry. We are counting on you to expand upon this and further reduce such disincentives. Competition is good. You may have heard that somewhere before. [Laughter] Seriously, whether it's domestic or international, competition provides better quality and lower-priced products.

Nevertheless, we must ensure that our businessmen are not unintentionally hobbled by government. You will be of invaluable service if you will help us identify and correct government-related problems that hamper our exporters. This is a great example of how the private sector and government can work together. And when they do, everyone is a winner.

Now, thanks to all of you in advance for the time and the effort that you will put into this. It's well appreciated, I can assure you of that. And you will find that the administration, policywise, is in favor of the things that I have suggested that you give your attention to.

And now, you may not believe this—I'm only going to have a few minutes, because I want to say hello to all of you down there-but then, I'm finally going to get to Philadelphia.

Note: The President spoke at 10:17 a.m. at the ceremony in the Rose Garden, where the private sector members of the Council were sworn in by Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige.

J. Paul Lyet is Chairman and Anna C. Chennault is Vice Chairman of the Council.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Members of the President's Export Council Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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