During President Walesa's visit to Washington in March, President Bush announced a trade enhancement initiative for the Central and East European countries. President Bush is determined that the historic political and economic transformation in these countries must and will succeed. Supporting these new democracies wherever possible is one of this administration's top priorities. The economic transformation of these countries will depend greatly on increased trade and access to world markets.
In May President Bush dispatched a team of experts to the region to determine ways of reducing trade barriers and other impediments the region faces in trying to expand access to export markets. Based on the team's report, President Bush has approved a package of specific actions to implement his initiative. These actions are outlined below:
1. Opening Markets. The United States will provide substantially expanded market access for the Central and East European countries by liberalizing quota programs and by enhancing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). We will adjust the quota programs for steel and textiles to meet requests by these countries to the extent possible. For textiles, we will renegotiate successor bilateral agreements with Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia by the end of the year. Concerning cheese quotas, we will act in conjunction with the results in the Uruguay round to increase country access for cheeses covered by quotas. Concerning the GSP, we will give special and expedited consideration to the countries in the region by: 1) inviting additional and reviewing previously rejected product petitions, and 2) helping to improve utilization of the GSP program, such as by sponsoring seminars and providing assistance in preparing petitions.
2. Building Export Infrastructure. The United States will help the export performance of Central and East European countries through a targeted technical assistance program. This would include assistance for these countries in setting up export and investment promotion programs, and export finance programs that meet OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] guidelines; additional training in management and marketing; and advice on tariff restructuring, customs service operations, and standards development.
3. Avoiding the Displacement of Agricultural Exports. The United States will take precautions to ensure that its agricultural export subsidies do not displace shipments from the Central and East European countries. These precautions will include periodic reviews with these countries of their overall pattern of exports. We will urge that the EC [European Community] take similar precautions.
At next week's London economic summit, President Bush will urge leaders of other Western nations to take similar trade expansion steps. For example, he will suggest that other countries also give greater priority to opening their markets to textiles, steel, and agriculture.
The actions outlined above are part of a continuing and comprehensive effort by the United States and other developed countries to promote economic growth in Central and East Europe. Other elements are highlighted below.
The International Monetary Fund [IMF] has arrangements with countries in the region that will allow it to disburse up to billion in 1991. The World Bank has announced plans to commit billion to the region over the next 3 years. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, established in April, made its first loan in June, and is planning to lend more than billion to the region over the next 5 years.
The United States has provided 4 million in grants and more than billion in other assistance in fiscal years 1990 and 1991.
The United States is providing technical assistance valued in excess of 0 million in a wide range of areas, including management training, market economics education, privatization, legal and financial reforms, and strengthening democratic institutions.
The United States has created enterprise funds in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. These funds, which promote the development of the private sector, will have a total capitalization of at least 0 million.
The United States has provided a total of 6 million in food aid to countries in the region during 1990 and 1991. This includes food assistance of 2 million to Romania.
The United States and other members of the Paris Club have agreed to reduce official debt owed by Poland equivalent to billion.
The G - 24 countries have provided more than billion in grants and loans during 1990 and 1991 in support of Central and East European country reforms.
The G - 24 countries have undertaken to provide financing to fill residual balance of payments requirements estimated by the IMF to be in excess of billion in 1991.
The G - 24 countries contributed to a billion stabilization fund for Poland. This included a 0 million grant from the United States.
Note: This statement was not received in time for inclusion in last week's issue. Lech Walesa is President of Poland.