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Reagan Urges More Loans for Third World Self-Help

September 29, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan today called for stepped up lending by multinational banks and commercial institutions to assist indebted Third World nations, saying a cooperative approach by both prosperous and poor nations "is the only real answer" to the red-ink problem.

In a speech to the joint meeting of the 151-nation World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, its sister organization, Reagan also renewed his opposition to a tide toward protectionism in the Congress and urged once more the elimination of agricultural subsidies worldwide.

"The huge debt burden carried in the Third World is not just their problem," Reagan said. "It is our problem. And today, let us pledge: We will solve it together."

Reagan told the international financiers gathered not far from the White House that "a number of proposals to strengthen the IMF's ability to promote growth-oriented reform will be advanced soon. But this will not be enough.

"Leaders in debtor nations have tough decisions to make. Our slogan must be, 'It can be done.' "

Reagan boasted that the economic policies his Administration has pursued since he came into office in 1981 ought to serve as a guide for debtor nations trying to stimulate their economies. The moral of the Reagan economic story, he told the audience, is that economies flourish under democratic systems where the central government lowers its profile and gives incentives to private business.

At the same time, he said, "the central themes of our relations, especially with developing countries, have been, and should continue to be, trade rather than aid, mutual benefit rather than charity, a hand-up rather than a hand-out."

"Overcoming the obstacles to progress in these poorer nations is, perhaps, the greatest management challenge in the world today," he said. "A cooperative solution to the debt problem is the only real answer."

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