United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will join his counterparts
from the Pacific region at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings
in Khon Kaen, Thailand on June 2 - 3. Zoellick will discuss with his ministerial
colleagues ways to promote trade liberalization regionally and globally,
particularly with the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations.
Prior to the first session, Zoellick will meet with the Prime Minister of
Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, to discuss a range of economic issues.
"More open trade
and investment will promote hope and opportunity, and increase the standards of
living for hundreds millions of people around the Pacific Rim," Zoellick stated.
"This meeting represents an important opportunity for a collective gathering of
Asia-Pacific Trade Ministers before the 5th WTO Ministerial in Cancun later this
year. This APEC meeting provides an opportunity to shape a shared vision for
advancing regional trade, and achieve a positive outcome in Cancun."
At the conclusion
of the APEC meetings on June 3, Zoellick will meet with Thai Minister of
Commerce Adisai Bodharamik to discuss bilateral and multilateral trade issues
under the U.S.-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
meeting with Adisai is intended to advance the President=s Enterprise for ASEAN
Initiative (EAI), which offers the prospect of bilateral free trade agreements
(FTAs) between the United States and countries in the Association of South East
Asian Nations (ASEAN) that are WTO members and have signed a TIFA with the
United States. Progress in addressing bilateral trade issues under these TIFAs
will allow for both countries to enter FTA negotiations with greater confidence
that we can conclude them successfully.
States and each ASEAN partner would jointly determine if and when they are ready
to launch FTA negotiations. Under the EAI, the United States is working with
Thailand and other ASEAN members to expand trade and investment liberalization
and lay the groundwork for possible free trade agreements.
The theme for
APEC this year is "A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future." Zoellick
noted that this theme is consistent with the diversity of APEC's members, and
the need to work collectively to create an open global trading system. The group
also plans to take a close look at efforts to implement important APEC
agreements on trade facilitation, transparency, and trade and the digital
During the APEC
meeting, Zoellick will meet separately with some of the 20 other APEC members,
which are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan,
Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines,
Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.