States is recognized in the Charter of Partnership signed on January 16, 1998, which clarifies the principles upon which U.S. relations with the Baltic states are based and provides a framework for strengthening ties and pursuing common goals. These goals include integration of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia into the transatlantic community and development of close, cooperative relationships among all the states in Northeastern Europe. The Charter also establishes mechanisms for high-level review and adjustment of this cooperation.
After a 30-year winter of sectarian violence, Northern Ireland has the promise of a springtime of peace. The agreement that emerged from the Northern Ireland peace talks on April 10, 1998 opened the way to build a society based on enduring peace, justice and equality. On May 22, 1998, the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland seized this opportunity to turn the common tragedy of Northern Ireland’s past into a shared triumph for the future by strongly endorsing the peace accord. In so doing, they have written a new chapter in the rich history of their island by creating the best chance for peace in a generation.
The United States actively promoted this peace process and will continue to stand with those who seek to build lasting peace and enduring prosperity in Ireland and Northern Ireland. They can count on the continuing aid, support and encouragement of the United States. The task of making the peace endure will be difficult. Some may seek to undermine this agreement by returning to violence. Anyone who does so, from whatever side and whatever faction, will have no friends in America. We will work closely with British and Irish law enforcement and intelligence officials to prevent outrages before they happen by identifying terrorists and their sources of financial and material support.
We will continue to work with Northern Ireland’s leaders as they seek to transform the promise of the Accord into a reality—with new democratic institutions and new economic opportunities for all of Northern Ireland’s people. Working through the International Fund for Ireland and the private sector, we will help the people seize the opportunities that peace will bring to attract new investment to create new factories, workplaces and jobs, and establish new centers of learning to prepare for the 21st Century.
Newly Independent States (NIS):
The United States is pursuing a wide range of security objectives in the NIS. We seek to bring Russia, Ukraine and the other NIS into a new, cooperative European security order, which includes strengthening their participation in NATO Partnership for Peace activities and building effective NATO-Russia and NATO-Ukraine partnerships. We seek to reduce the threat of nuclear war and the spread of nuclear weapons and materials, as well as other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, especially to outlaw states.
The United States has vital security interests in the evolution of Russia, Ukraine and the other NIS into democratic market economies, peacefully and prosperously integrated into the world community. The governmental and financial sectors in this region appear especially susceptible to penetration by organized criminal groups, who have the ability to subvert and destroy these nascent institutions. Further democratic and economic reforms and integration into the WTO and other international economic institutions will strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights, foster growth by expanding private sector activity, and encourage open and cooperative policies toward the global community.
Europe is a key element in America’s global commercial engagement. Europe and the United States produce over half of all global goods and services. More than 60% of total U.S. investment abroad is in Europe and fourteen million workers on both sides of the Atlantic earn their livelihoods directly from transatlantic commerce. As part of the New Transatlantic Agenda launched at the 1995 U.S.-EU Summit in Madrid, the United States and the EU agreed to take concrete steps to reduce barriers to trade and investment through the creation of an open New Transatlantic Marketplace. We have concluded Mutual Recognition Agreements eliminating redundant testing and certification requirements covering $50 billion in two-way trade. Our governments are also cooperating closely with the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, a U.S.-European business partnership, to address a wide range of trade barriers.
Building on the New Transatlantic Agenda, the United States and the EU launched the Transatlantic Economic Partnership on May 18, 1998. This is a major new initiative to deepen our economic relations, reinforce our political ties and reduce trade frictions that have plagued our bilateral relationship. The first element of the initiative is reducing barriers that affect manufacturing, agriculture and services. In the manufacturing area we will focus on standards and technical barriers that American businesses have identified as the most significant obstacle to expanding trade. In the agricultural area we will focus on regulatory barriers that have inhibited the expansion of agriculture trade, particularly in the biotechnology area. In the area of services we will seek to open our markets further and to create new opportunities for the number of service industries that are so active in the European market.
The second element of the Transatlantic Economic Partnership is a broader, cooperative approach to addressing a wide range of trade issues. We agreed to maintain current practices, and will continue not imposing duties on electronic transmissions and develop a work program in the WTO for electronic commerce. We will seek to adopt common positions and effective strategies for accelerating compliance with WTO commitments on intellectual property. We will seek to promote government procurement opportunities, including promoting compatibility of electronic procurement information and government contracting systems. We will seek innovative ways to promote our shared labor and environmental values around the world. To promote fair competition, we will seek to enhance the compatibility of our procedures with potentially significant reductions in cost for American companies.
The United States strongly supports the process of European integration embodied in the EU. We are also encouraging bilateral trade and investment in non-EU countries and supporting enlargement of the EU. We recognize that EU nations face significant economic challenges with nearly 20 million people unemployed, and that economic stagnation has eroded public support for funding outward-looking foreign policies and greater integration. We are working closely with our European partners to expand employment, promote long-term growth and support the New Transatlantic Agenda.
By supporting historic market reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and in the NIS, we both strengthen our own economy and help new democracies take root. Poland, economically troubled as recently as 1989, now symbolizes the new dynamism and rapid growth that extensive, free-market reforms make possible. Recent economic turbulence in Russia demonstrates that the transition to a more prosperous, market-based economy will be a long-term process characterized by promise and disappointment. In Ukraine, reinvigorating economic reform remains a key challenge to strengthening national security and independence. Much remains to be done throughout the region to assure sustainable economic recoveries and adequate social protection.