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Remarks by Ambassador Ron Kirk at the 2011 APEC Trade Ministers Press Conference

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk

2011 APEC Trade Ministers Press Conference
Honolulu, Hawaii

November 11, 2011

*As Prepared for Delivery*

“It has been my distinct pleasure to host my fellow trade ministers for a second meeting as the United States hosts APEC 2011. And there is no more beautiful place that we could meet than the home state of President Obama. So to all of you, I begin with a warm ‘aloha.’

“Of course, strong engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is a major component of the U.S. trade agenda.

“Asia-Pacific markets are large and growing, and the region’s importance will only increase. APEC, implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks are pillars of our strong, smart trade engagement in the region.

“The United States believes strongly in the importance and relevance of APEC. For this reason, we have sought to ensure that our host year produces concrete deliverables that clearly benefit the entire region.

“As a result of our work together, we Ministers can present to the Leaders meaningful steps to:

• strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, including by improving supply chain performance and addressing next-generation trade and investment issues.

• advance regulatory convergence and cooperation;

• improve the quality of regulations and regulatory systems in the region;

• increase global food security through open and transparent markets;

• and promote green growth, including by liberalizing trade and investment in environmental goods and services, facilitating trade in remanufactured products, and streamlining import procedures for advanced technology vehicles.

“We also have successfully addressed challenges that small and medium-sized businesses face when doing business in the region. We are working in APEC to break down barriers small and medium-sized exporters face across the Asia-Pacific. This includes reducing customs delays, improving access to export financing, and helping SMEs better protect their intellectual property.

“The United States has a vision for the future of APEC, and for trade across the region. APEC has traditionally been a laboratory for some of the best and newest ideas in global commerce. We believe the outcomes of this year will keep APEC’s agenda on the cutting edge for the next 20 years. We want to ensure that new regional agreements anticipate and address 21st century issues relevant to business in the region.

“In that vein, this gathering should mark an additional milestone for a number of APEC economies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership ministers expect that the leaders of the TPP countries will be able to announce the broad outlines of a high-standard, ambitious, 21st-century trade pact. Of course, many of us believe that TPP can be the basis for a long-term APEC goal: a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

“My fellow ministers, we can be proud of the work we have done together. We have produced a good report for our Leaders. I know we all look forward to their work this weekend to further APEC’s critical goals for trade across this vibrant region.

“As they say here in Hawaii, ‘mahalo’ for the commitment, dedication, and innovation that each of you have brought to APEC’s efforts this year. And now, we will open the floor for questions.”