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1993 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Tokyo

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview held in Tokyo on Tuesday 6th July 1993.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, President Clinton has talked today of the crisis of slow growth in the developed world, what are you going to be able to do about it here?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think he is right about that. Right the way across Europe, in Japan, in the United States, right across the industrialised world there has been very slow growth, the only thing that has grown faster of course has been unemployment and there are 23 million people unemployed amongst the G7 nations here. So I think we have to make that a centre-piece for the discussions we have over the next few days. No-one is suddenly going to find a magical solution that will put all those people back into work but what we do need is to make sure all countries have the right policies to produce growth. Britain is coming into growth, I want to see other countries coming back as well.

QUESTION:

You said after Munich that you would badger and bully until the GATT negotiations came to a solution, who do you blame for the fact that that solution has not yet been achieved?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am not in the business of distributing blame. What I am in the business of doing is continuing to badger and bully, we do need a settlement, it is no less vital now than it was months ago at Munich, no less vital than it was a couple of years ago and I think it is important we make some progress. I very much hope that by the end of this summit we will have a market access agreement opening up markets, lowering tariffs, increasing trade and enabling more jobs to be created. I hope that we will have that and I hope we will also have an agreement that we can return to the multilateral trade talks in Geneva, that I hope will be achieved this week. It will not be easy to achieve, there will undoubtedly be difficulties, that is perfectly clear, but I think that is what we must aim at.

QUESTION:

Is it conceivable when there has been a failure for 4 years to sort out the GATT talks?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think you need to ask the people who have not been able to reach agreement, it is not the British.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

It is not the British, there are other people who have particular difficulties in their own countries, the Cairns Group by and large can sign up to the agreement, there are other countries that cannot, we are urging them to do so. I believe that Britain could reach a final agreement on the trade talks very speedily, we will be encouraging other people to do the same.

QUESTION:

A domestic question, if I may, are you going to try and repair the defeat on the rail bill in the Lords?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have not had a chance to discuss it with John MacGregor yet, I only heard of it as I got on the plane to leave for here, but I think it is probable we will, yes.

QUESTION:

You will try and reverse it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think it is probable we will but I have not yet discussed it with the Secretary of State.

QUESTION:

The Japanese have indicated today officially that they are putting in a request to join the Permanent Members of the Security Council, would you now be ready to support this?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have never ruled out the question of Security Council reform, I think it is something that has; to be taken very gently. There are a lot of ramifications to that, one has to look at the competing demands from a number of countries who would like to become Permanent Members, Japan clearly has a case, there are a number of other countries as well. So I think it is a very wide issue and I think it is one that will involve us for some time in discussion.

QUESTION:

What about Bosnia, is this a forgotten subject at this summit?

PRIME MINISTER:

I do not think anyone could forget Bosnia, I do not think we could and I do not think we should. It is not the centre-piece or this particular summit, I think the two centre-pieces of this summit, if you can have two centre-pieces, are unemployment and growth and the need for progress in the trade negotiations. But I do not think anyone pushes the horror of Bosnia to one side, it is with us all the time.

QUESTION:

The Japanese Prime Minister, when talking to President Clinton, said that the gap between imports and exports are beyond our control, we cannot play with GDP figures. He does not sound like a man who is prepared to do business on this issue?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I had not heard that, Michael, no doubt that is one of the many matters we will discuss perhaps most obviously in our first sessions on employment and on the economies. I am sure a range of issues like that will come up.

QUESTION:

It is going to take a lot of give and take to get some trade agreement?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, but I think I had better comment on it after we have had the give and take and we see what emerges from it.

QUESTION:

Do you like the idea of a Jobs Summit, as proposed by President Clinton?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I have not seen the details of what he has said, I understand he has in mind getting experts together to examine what might be done, I see no objection to that, I think it might be productive. No doubt he will raise it at the summit.

QUESTION:

Would you send Britain's Employment Minister to such a summit?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think here we have all got something to learn from one another, I shall certainly be advancing the case for a whole series of supply side changes in countries right the way around the world. If this is a practical proposal that can be of use to us, of course we would take part.

QUESTION:

Do you expect and hope that this will be the last summit of its kind?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have made no secret of the fact that I would like to reform the summit, I would like more talk of trade opportunities and perhaps fewer photo opportunities. They summit is a huge gathering. There are, if I may say so, 11,000 journalists here, I am not sure that perhaps that is the best use of 11,000 journalists. Perhaps if we had smaller summits, more cohesive summits, perhaps if there were not such great expectations built up for them beforehand, if we could have the quiet, reflective and frank discussions that I think Heads of Government should have more frequently, then perhaps they would be more productive. I would hope we can move in that direction after this summit.