The USTR delegation to the 2010 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting has completed a first full day of activities in Sapporo, Japan. As previously announced, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis is serving as head of delegation on behalf of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who sustained injuries in a car accident in Dallas, Texas this week and remains with his family there.
Today in Sapporo, U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke spoke for the United States at the first session of the Ministers’ Retreat, also attended by WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, regarding the future of the Doha Round of Trade negotiations. Ambassador Punke reiterated the U.S. commitment to a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the Round, and stressed that APEC economies and other key players in the negotiations must focus on the day-to-day work of ensuring meaningful market access contributions commensurate with WTO members’ roles in the global economy. Ambassador Punke said that the United States will continue to bring creative solutions to the talks and seek opportunities in multiple venues, such as this year’s APEC meetings, to achieve these results.
Ambassador Marantis spoke for the United States in the afternoon session of the Ministers’ Retreat discussing the importance of concrete progress this year on APEC trade and investment agenda of making it easier, cheaper, and faster for APEC partners to trade in the region, reducing technical and standards-based barriers to trade, and promoting trade in environmental goods and services. Ambassador Marantis applauded the progress that many APEC members have made in achieving the 1994 Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. APEC economies are now the destinations for 60 percent of U.S. exports, totaling nearly $1 trillion annually. The United States has a $70 billion surplus in services trade with the APEC economies. The United States will host APEC meetings in 2011, and looks forward to building on progress made at the 2010 Japan meetings.
Marantis also held numerous bilateral meetings, focusing on U.S. export priorities with several economies, including:
Market access for U.S. beef and rice in Taiwan and other agriculture export priorities with Taiwan
Access for U.S. pharmaceutical sales in Indonesia
Protection of U.S. intellectual property in Thailand, with a focus on Thailand’s efforts to enforce IP rights as the United States encouraged in this year’s Special 301 report, and
Cooperation from Malaysia on a plurilateral initiative to lower tariffs on climate-friendly technologies.
Ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations were also a key focus of bilateral discussions with Chile and Malaysia and of plurilateral discussions in a meeting of the eight current TPP members: Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. Ambassador Marantis co-chaired the meeting on Ambassador Kirk’s behalf, underscoring the U.S. intention to negotiate a high-standard agreement that facilitates trade across the Asia-Pacific and that reflects the way businesses and workers will operate in the 21st century, as well as key priorities on labor and the environment. He noted that it will be important to make substantive progress at the upcoming second round of TPP negotiations in San Francisco, California, the week of June 14. TPP partners are issuing a joint statement following today’s meeting; this will be provided by separate e-mail.