WASHINGTON -- The United States will remain an unrelenting advocate of free trade as part of its world strategy for 'peace with freedom,' President Reagan said Tuesday in his State of the Union speech.
Reagan said the underpinnings of democracy -- free speech, free elections and especially freedom of the individual -- are 'the bedrock of our strength' and the link between the United States and its allies.
'Fortunately, we and our allies have rediscovered the strength of our common democratic values,' he said. 'And we are applying them as the cornerstone of a comprehensive strategy for peace with freedom.'
The president renewed a pledge made in London last year to develop an 'infrastructure of democracy' throughout the world through military and economic strength.
Reagan promised to work to restore growth in the world economy with other allied leaders at their economic summit at Williamsburg, Va., in May.
'As the leader of the West and as a country that has become great and rich because of economic freedom, America must be an unrelenting advocate of free trade,' he said. 'As some nations are tempted to turn to protectionism, our strategy cannot be to follow them but to lead the way toward freer trade.'
Noting one in five U.S. jobs depends on trade, the president promised an increased emphasis on trade issues in his own administration.
'We must strengthen the organization of our trade agencies and make changes in our domestic laws and international trade policy to promote free trade and the increased flow of American goods, services and investments,' he said.
Earlier Tuesday, special trade representative William Brock said a possible reorganization of the trade-related areas of the administration has been under discussion for the past couple of months.
Reagan said he will seek new negotiating authority from Congress to cover tariff reductions or new agreements on services, investment and high technology.
The president also called on Congress to 'get together' with the administration and enact legislation to modernize U.S. ports after two years of debate.
Reagan said he would seek legislation to increase resources for the International Monetary Fund, which provides assistance to developing countries.
'We will continue to work closely with the industrialized democracies of Europe and Japan and with the International Monetary Fund to ensure it has adequate resources to help bring the world economy back to strong, non-inflationary growth,' he said.
In other areas, Reagan:
-Said the United States will continue to press its plans for peace in Lebanon and in the entire Middle East.
-Renewed his call for passage of the trade and tax incentive portions of his Caribbean Basin Initiative, which passed the House in the last session of Congress but was not taken up by the full Senate.