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Remarks by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at a Press Conference with Secretary of State John Kerry at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Ministers' Meetings

Remarks by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman at a Press Conference with Secretary of State John Kerry at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Ministers' Meetings


 "Good afternoon.

"As Secretary Kerry has said in his remarks, the United States has a strong commitment to APEC. We are a Pacific nation and we always will be. This is the fastest-growing region of the world. Our work here is critical to expanding exports and, therefore, to creating jobs, promoting growth, and strengthening America’s middle class.

"APEC economies represent 55 percent of global GDP, and 44 percent in global goods and services trade.

"The United States exported more than $1 trillion in goods and services to APEC countries in 2011. That was more than 50 percent of total U.S. exports in goods and services. And those exports support millions of jobs for hardworking Americans.

"America’s capacity to grow our economy and to create jobs is integrally tied to the success of this region and our interaction with it.

"From a trade and investment perspective, APEC continues to be an incubator for policy innovation. As APEC economies cooperate to advance the value of our regional economic relationships, we realize ideas together that can boost the global trading system as a whole.

"APEC is on the leading edge of a number of global efforts to increase economic integration and opportunity.

"Together we are working to improve supply chains, to fight new forms of protectionism like localization, to implement strong regulatory policies that make it faster and more efficient to do business, and to build on the groundbreaking commitments in Honolulu in 2011 to advance trade in environmental goods.

"At the same time, APEC economies continue to play an important leadership role in the multilateral trading system.

"The WTO’s Information Technology Agreement got its start at an APEC meeting.

"And now, longstanding APEC priorities have the potential to be enshrined in global trade rules at the WTO. These include a win-win agreement on trade facilitation that will help developing and developed countries alike - as well as an expanded ITA.

"On that front, I am please to announce that there was a hopeful sign this week of our ability to work creatively together to solve problems and make progress in the WTO.

"We were happy to work with China and others to get the ITA talks back on track. After discussions this week, we are hopeful that resumption of formal plurilateral negotiations will begin as soon as possible.

"As I said in Geneva earlier this week, the United States believes in the World Trade Organization.

"Along with our APEC partners, we also believe that this is a crucial moment in multilateral trade.

"In two months, we'll be back in Bali for the 9th WTO Ministerial. If we succeed in producing a multilateral package on trade facilitation, agriculture, and development, it can provide impetus to the multilateral trade system. If we don’t, it is hard to see how we further that agenda.

"We are pleased to see our APEC partners this week working to push for a meaningful result.

"Finally, of course, we've spent a great deal of time this week working to advance the [Trans-Pacific Partnership].

"The TPP countries remain strongly committed to concluding negotiations this year.

"In Brunei and now in Bali, Ministers have been charting a path forward on outstanding issues — particularly [state-owned enterprises], intellectual property rights, environment and market access — to move negotiations toward completion.

"The United States continues to work for a high level of ambition and high standards for TPP with all due speed.

"We've made significant progress this week. We look forward to briefing the TPP Leaders on Tuesday about that progress, and we look forward to them providing political-level guidance to facilitate the conclusion of negotiations.

"In sum, our work here this week will give further impetus for an agreement that will help drive our agenda in the Asia-Pacific and create new jobs and opportunities in the United States."