Opening Remarks at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in Sydney
October 25, 2014
"Thank you very much, Andrew. And thank you for those kind words.
"First and foremost, I would like to associate myself with your remarks about what happened in Ottawa and express our deep sympathy and solidarity with Ed Fast, your whole delegation, and the people of Canada -- we’re delighted that you’re here, we’re honored that you’re here. And our thoughts are with your countrymen.
"I also want to express our sympathy for the victims of the volcano in Mt. Ontake in Japan, and to Minister Amari and his delegation and countrymen. Again, our deepest sympathies.
"Secondly, I want to thank Andrew Robb, his team, and the government and people of Australia for hosting both the chief negotiator meeting in Canberra earlier this week and this Ministerial. Everyone recognizes how much work it takes to pull off meetings like this and we’re enormously grateful to Australia for its hospitality and leadership throughout this process.
"The last time we all got together in Singapore in May, we mapped out a work plan for the summer and it’s been a very productive summer.
"We have been in almost constant negotiations throughout this period with teams meeting in Ottawa, Hanoi, and most recently Canberra.
"We’ve been meeting bilaterally, we’ve been meeting in small groups, and everyone has put tremendous effort into resolving remaining issues.
"Going into this weekend we’re enjoying a great deal of momentum and focus across the board. It’s up to us to seize that momentum and make sure that this meeting is maximally productive.
"The issues left at the end are often times the most challenging but now is the time to start working through those and finding solutions. We’ve got some work to do and the table is set in a way that will allow us to make progress on these difficult, remaining issues.
"I want thank all of the teams that have been meeting over the last days and weeks who have teed up this Ministerial to be a very productive Ministerial.
"Thanks largely to their efforts, we now have in front of us an excellent opportunity to resolve the outstanding issues where possible, to narrow our differences, and to tee up these issues for leaders as they see each other in the coming weeks in various places around Asia.
"We have a real opportunity here to make progress, significant progress, as we bring TPP closer to a successful conclusion.
"And we need to keep in mind what the end result is an agreement as Andrew Robb said involving forty percent of global economy, a third of global trade, expanding opportunity, unlocking opportunity, for our workers, for our farmers, for our businesses of all sizes and particularly small and medium sized businesses.
"It’s an effort that will further the integration of this very important region, the Asia Pacific region, and very importantly will be an agreement that will help set the rules of the road for this region, and be a very important economic and strategic opportunity.
"It is very much within our grasp as Andrew said and I look forward to getting to work with all of you to achieve that objective."