Remarks by Ambassador Katherine Tai at the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Digital Upskilling Event

September 08, 2022

LOS ANGELES – Ambassador Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today welcomed ministers from the 13 IPEF partner countries to the first-ever in-person Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Ministerial.

During the event, Ambassador Tai and Secretary Raimondo announced that select companies have agreed to provide virtual training and career development for 5,000 women in IPEF countries. 
Ambassador Tai's remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Hello, everyone.
Thank you, Secretary Raimondo, for that kind introduction and for putting together this important event.  
When President Biden launched the IPEF in May, he said, “This framework should drive a race to the top among the nations in the Indo-Pacific region.”
And a race to the top must include investing in women.
Our region, stretching from our Pacific coastline—not too far from here in Los Angeles—to the Indian Ocean, is home to more than half of the world’s population and 40 percent of the world’s GDP.  It is projected to be the largest contributor to global growth over the next 30 years.
Imagine the possibilities for our trading relationship if women in the region finally can access more economic opportunities.
So, it is appropriate that we are celebrating the launch of this initiative during our IPEF Ministerial.
For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women in the region.  Among other challenges, women have not been provided sufficient access to the upskilling and reskilling opportunities needed to achieve their full range of economic opportunities.
This is not just a challenge for women—it is a tragedy that affects the entire region.
As we continue to work together to build a more inclusive, sustainable economic recovery, and as we discuss innovative ways to do trade under the IPEF, we must prioritize lifelong learning for our women.  This includes providing access to the relevant skills to thrive in the digital and green economies of the future.
We are seeing some progress—including on increased access to education and greater political representation—but there is still a wide gap between our ambitions and reality.
Trade can be an important tool to advance these goals.  That is why this initiative is so important.  
It represents a commitment by all of us toward lifting up women across the region.  To empower women to bring about transformative change.  To invest in women to unlock their full economic potential—not just today, but for generations to come.  If we can accomplish that, the possibilities are truly endless.
Our ties were forged two centuries ago, when Americans came to the region seeking commercial opportunities, and grew with the arrival of Asian immigrants to the United States.  Through conflicts and natural disasters, highs and lows, that bond has only strengthened.  And this is how we want to strengthen our ties for another century.
Our commitment to this issue is clear.  And we look forward to working with our IPEF partners and private sector stakeholders to equip and empower women to advance inclusive, economic growth.
With that, I will turn it back to Secretary Raimondo.  Thank you.