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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 21, 2008

President's Radio Address

     Fact sheet In Focus: APEC 2008

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend I am in Lima, Peru, meeting with leaders from nations in the Asia Pacific region at our annual summit.

This summit comes at a time of serious turmoil in the global economy. It also comes at a time of unprecedented cooperation. A week ago in Washington, I hosted the first in what will be a series of international meetings to address the financial crisis. We reviewed the actions we have taken to manage the crisis. And we agreed on principles and specific actions to modernize our financial structures for the 21st century and help prevent another crisis.


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As we work to rebuild confidence in our financial systems in the short term, we must also work to promote long-term economic growth. Together, our nations must focus our efforts on three great forces that drive this growth -- free markets, free trade, and free people.

No region of the world demonstrates the power of these forces more vividly than the Asia Pacific. Free markets have helped millions lift themselves out of poverty. Free trade has helped small nations turn themselves into global economic powers. And as more people in the Asia Pacific are free to develop their talents and pursue their ambitions, the whole region has grown in prosperity. We're facing a difficult challenge and there will be tough days ahead. But by relying on these principles, we can be confident in the future of our Nation and the world.

Back at home, one of the most serious economic challenges we face is the situation in our auto industry. America's auto manufacturers are facing severe and urgent financial shortfalls. Earlier this fall, I signed a bill that authorized up to $25 billion in loans to help these automakers make more fuel-efficient vehicles. Under the law, this money is not available to help auto companies with their immediate funding challenges. So this past week, Senators Bond, Levin, and Voinovich came forward with a new proposal that would allow auto companies to access the loans they need -- as long as they're willing to restructure to become financially viable.

This proposal earned support from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, the leadership in Congress adjourned without even allowing this measure to come up for a vote.

My position is clear: If the automakers are willing to make the hard decisions needed to become viable, they should be able to receive the funds Congress already allotted to them for other purposes. This is a critical issue for our economy and our country. The American people expect their elected leaders to do what it takes to solve it.

Thank you for listening.

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