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Statement of Ambassador Ron Kirk at the Press Conference of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade

Statement of Ambassador Ron Kirk
United States Trade Representative

Press Conference of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade
Big Sky, Montana
May 20, 2011

*As Prepared for Delivery*

“Good afternoon.

“It has been an inspiring week in Big Sky. As the United States Trade Representative, I was proud to bring my fellow ministers to the American West. But the scenery has been more than a backdrop. These majestic mountains have called APEC ministers to broaden our vistas. To plan on a grander scale.

“Certainly, the United States wants to do big things with our Asia-Pacific partners. Strong engagement with the region is a major component of the U.S. trade agenda. Because the markets of the Asia-Pacific are so large and so dynamic, its importance to the United States will only increase. And APEC, along with the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, is a fundamental pillar of our trade engagement.

“The United States has seen our host year as a potential watershed year – not only for us as a single economy, but for APEC as a whole. We view this as a critical juncture to keep APEC’s trade and investment agenda on the cutting edge for the next 20 years. And this week’s work in Big Sky has produced meaningful progress toward our shared goal of a seamless regional economy.

“Together, we have taken significant steps toward concrete deliverables for our Leaders’ meeting in Honolulu.

“We have identified specific next-generation issues that, as we address them together, will make the trade rules of the region reflect the realities of the global trade environment.

“We have seen that our trade objectives and our work to promote green growth clearly intersect. And we have advanced a robust discussion on how best to liberalize trade in environmental goods and services. This is a sector in which our economies excel particularly, and one vital to the future health of the planet.

“We have identified clear ways to improve regulatory quality and transparency. This serves our shared goal of making it cheaper, easier, and faster for companies to trade across the region, supporting economic growth and employment in all our economies. And I am proud of this week’s first-ever joint ministerial on trade and SME’s. That work will benefit businesses from right here in Montana to the farthest reaches of the region.

“In Montana, APEC Ministers have demonstrated their willingness to cooperate to achieve concrete outcomes on issues of importance to all of the people we serve. From the future of Asia-Pacific trade… to long-standing issues like food security… to topics that range beyond our region.

“The ministers’ discussion of Doha has been significant. It has been a more honest discussion of where the Round stands. I must praise Director General Lamy for his frank and earnest contribution in that regard. Importantly, all ministers agreed that we cannot simply keep doing what we have been doing in the Doha talks if we mean to move forward. At the same time, not one minister said we should throw in the towel. We should, instead, start a sober assessment of next steps. Today’s statement by the APEC economies will certainly inform the work of future meetings, including the Australian ministerial on the margins of the OECD next week.

“Strong and smart engagement among the APEC economies, in the flexible, forward-leaning atmosphere of this forum, has produced real results. I look forward to the work we will do together as we prepare for Honolulu. I look forward to seeing all that we’ve begun in Big Sky come to life, on a grand scale, in the decades to come.

“And with that, I would like to recognize our partner in the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Mohamed Noor, to say a few words about this week.”

Check out full coverage from the APEC 2011 MRT meetings here.