Opening Remarks by Ambassador Katherine Tai During APEC Press Conference

BANGKOK – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today joined Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken for a joint press conference during the APEC Ministerial Meeting at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC).
In her opening remarks, Ambassador Tai discussed the importance of pursuing resilience, sustainability, and inclusion in all of APEC’s trade and investment work.  Ambassador Tai also reiterated how the United States, during its host year in 2023, will build on Thailand’s efforts and lead on policies that drive broad-based growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including lifting up female entrepreneurs and workers, helping small businesses grow, and unlocking economic opportunities for underrepresented populations.
Ambassador Tai’s remarks as delivered are below:
It’s good to be here with all of you in Bangkok.  It’s been great to see so many of my counterparts in person.  I think that there’s a great energy when we meet face to face that’s really not substitutable, and I look forward to having more productive discussions this week.
I’d like to first begin by congratulating Thailand on its leadership this year to take our collective work forward and for its generous hospitality throughout our meetings.  The United States has been a strong supporter of Thailand’s host year.  We welcome Thailand’s increased focus on sustainability and inclusion as well as support for the WTO and advancing implementation of MC12 outcomes.
These topics are more important than ever as we continue to face a world full of challenges and uncertainty – the economic fallout from COVID-19, Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine, fragile supply chains, growing inequality, and worsening climate crisis, to name a few of the challenges.  These are not small problems, and people’s confidence in the global economic system has been shaken.  But as an incubator of ideas and as a catalyst for cooperation, APEC is uniquely positioned to explore how we can build a more durable and resilient global economy.  The Biden-Harris administration believes that trade can be a force for good to address these issues, to create a race to the top that delivers inclusive prosperity for all of our citizens.  The United States is fully committed to working with APEC economies to realize this vision and to strengthen our ties across this region.
And of the many things we’ve been working on, two areas stand out on trade.  First, protecting the environment, and second, addressing shared challenges like supply chain disruptions and economic inequality.  The right trade policies can help facilitate access to lower-emission goods and services, promote investment in climate-friendly technologies, and help incentivize environmental protection.  And Thailand’s leadership to catalyze APEC cooperation around the Bio-Circular-Green economy model is a great contribution to make sustainability an even stronger core component of our time and focus in APEC in the area of trade.
In the pursuit of sustainable trade and understanding of trade’s true environmental and social costs, we must also factor in the people who are working to make trade possible at each step of the supply chain, whether on farms or in factories.  We’ve made good progress and we’re excited to pick up the mantle next year when the United States hosts APEC.  We’ll continue to build on the momentum from this year through existing work streams, but also develop new efforts to prioritize resilience, sustainability, and yes, inclusion in our trade and investment work.  We must continue to examine how trade policy can drive broad-based growth across the APEC region.  This includes lifting up women entrepreneurs and workers, helping small businesses grow, and unlocking economic opportunities for underrepresented parts of our populations.
During our host year, we look forward to partnering with other economies to build on these and other policies that support sustainable and inclusive trade.  And I personally look forward to hosting APEC trade ministers in Detroit, Michigan next May.  Detroit embodies American innovation, ingenuity, and yes, also renewal.  And I can’t wait to share its culture and history with our counterparts in this region.
We have a lot of work ahead, but we also have an important opportunity here to choose a path for inclusive, equitable growth, and to forge a new tomorrow for our people and for our planet, to restore confidence in the global system by demonstrating that our work can build economies from the bottom up and the middle out.  To seize this opportunity, we must continue to work together to build a more resilient economy that delivers a prosperous future for all.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to do just that.  Thank you.