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Remarks by Ambassador Demetrios Marantis at the U.S.-New Zealand Forum

October 7, 2009
U.S.-New Zealand Forum
Washington, D.C.

*As Prepared For Delivery*

Thank you very much for that introduction.

Stepping into any room with my Kiwi friends and colleagues, I always feel welcomed and humbled. Welcomed by my Kiwi colleagues' genuine friendliness and warmth, and humbled knowing these same colleagues' achievements and ambitions. It is an honor to be here today, with Kiwi and American friends old and new. I would like to especially thank our New Zealand hosts, the Right Honorable Jim Bolger [Bowl-gehr] and the Right Honorable Mike Moore, and our American hosts, the Honorable Cal Dooley and Ambassador Susan Schwab.

As Deputy United States Trade Representative, half the world is my portfolio. Four months into my job, I am traveling to Asia or Africa as much as I am in Washington. Some trips have been better than others. There is much to accomplish and I have a lot to learn. But I have already learned one lesson that the international trade veterans in this audience well know: Key to any successful negotiating mission is the team that supports and accompanies you, your fellow travelers.

For decades, Americans and Kiwis have been a team, supporting each other as fellow travelers in good times and bad, achieving new successes and overcoming adversity. American and Kiwi soldiers served side-by-side in the Second World War, Vietnam, and Korea. Today, New Zealand's elite SAS combat force is helping coalition forces bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

We have also linked arms in science and technology. Kiwi scientist William Pickering was instrumental to launching America's first satellite at the outset of our "space race" with the Soviet Union. United States Antarctic Program researchers deploy from Christchurch, and American and New Zealand scientists work hand-in-hand at the South Pole. Americans and Kiwis even join forces to fight nature's challenges, exchanging expertise, equipment, and personnel to fight wildfires.

Our cooperation has brought us safety, security, and scientific advancement. It has also brought us prosperity. The United States is New Zealand's second largest trading partner. U.S. goods exports to New Zealand are up nearly 70 percent and services exports increased over 80 percent since the Uruguay Round. New Zealand is an attractive market for U.S. exporters of machinery, medical equipment, and fresh fruit, while New Zealand has seen success in their meat, dairy, and wine exports. For this last export success I am personally grateful.

You may have heard about another great U.S.-New Zealand success last summer, when Ambassador Ferguson, his wife Dawn, and I joined Senator Max Baucus to conquer 700 miles of highway in four days to visit five Montana cities. We didn't launch a satellite or fight fires. But Ambassador Ferguson met copper miners in Butte, greeted the Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council in Maori on the Flathead Indian reservation, and befriended the citizens of Palmerston North's sister city, Missoula. And those who met Ambassador Ferguson saw a world-class diplomat and an outstanding representative of New Zealand. And a man of which every Kiwi can be proud.

Given all that New Zealand and the United States have accomplished as partners and fellow travelers, many of you are asking: "Where do we go from here? What is the road ahead?" Let me say a few words about the next few miles of economic policy.

When President Obama took office nine months ago, the U.S. economy was in crisis. Since then, the Obama Administration has worked with Congress spur economic recovery and lay a new foundation for our economy. Together we have endeavored to give our workers the skills and education they need to compete, invest in renewable energy and the jobs of the future, and make health care affordable for families and businesses. These and other domestic economic reforms promise to make America's economy more competitive and prosperous for generations to come.

America's domestic economic reforms are also a commitment to the global economy. For an America more competitive and prosperous at home is also an America that can be more ambitious and engaged with its economic partners around the world. This engagement will not only benefit New Zealand and other countries, enhancing their exports, creating jobs, and raising standards of living, but it will also create more jobs at home by increasing U.S. exports to the world.

This Administration is backing its commitment to the domestic and global economies with action. Multilaterally, the United States has joined New Zealand and other countries to lead the World Trade Organization's Doha Round negotiations on environmental goods and services. We are working together to ensure robust market access that will facilitate trade and green the environment. We are also working together with New Zealand on fish subsidies.

The United States and New Zealand also share a common goal of advancing the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations as the primary mechanism to reduce trade barriers and further accelerate global trade liberalization. The United States is committed to the successful completion of the Round as soon as possible. This goal can be met - but substance will drive progress. Success depends on everyone's efforts and contributions. For our part, the U.S. negotiating team is ready to go into the endgame, and we are looking for concrete signs that others are ready to do the same.

We are pleased that negotiations in Geneva are moving forward in their multilateral work. At the same time, these efforts need to be supplemented by sustained bilateral engagement involving key WTO members in order to achieve needed clarity and to bridge gaps concerning the market-opening contributions on agriculture, NAMA and services by key emerging markets such as China, Brazil, and India.

In addition to action in the WTO, this Administration is engaged regionally, and no region is more promising and dynamic than the Asia Pacific. For example, in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which the United States will host in 2011, we continue to work with the other 20 APEC economies, including New Zealand, to promote regional economic integration and closer trade and investment linkages. We have launched a multi-year initiative to promote trade in services, and are building a meaningful work program on environmental goods and services that will focus on addressing non-tariff barriers and a developing an information exchange as a "go to" source of information on this dynamic industry. And we are together exploring how to better deepen our regional trade linkages - whether through the Trans-Pacific Partnership or other avenues.

In plurilateral fora, the United States is also cooperating closely with New Zealand and other countries. We are in the middle of negotiations to improve international standards for IPR enforcement through the negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Our goal is to conclude that agreement next year, and press on to broaden participation in that agreement.

Bilaterally, the United States is committed to working with New Zealand to find new areas of success and cooperation. For example, earlier this year, representatives from our respective accounting licensing authorities signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement that will to facilitate the ability of U.S. and New Zealand accountants to practice in either country.

These are just a few of the challenges and opportunities before us, as partners and fellow travelers. There is much more to come. I have no illusions about their scale or difficulty. Progress may be slow and frustrating. But I have no doubt that this Administration is committed to engagement with the world economy with vigor, ambition, and vision.

Earlier I mentioned that I arrive at an event with Kiwis feeling welcomed and humbled. I should also say that I often leave an event with the Kiwis feeling inspired, maybe even a little bit daring. After all, it's a good feeling knowing the people who are your partners and fellow travelers were also the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest. And Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit with a recipe for success that I think many Kiwis and Americans in this room share. As Hillary put it: We have modest abilities; we combine these with a good deal of determination, and we rather like to succeed.