Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders that the United States seeks with others to build a stable and just regional economic order that will benefit everyone.
“After an extended period in which the United States had to focus a great deal of attention and resources on regions and conflicts elsewhere, we are now making substantially increased investments in the Asia-Pacific,” Clinton said during the APEC leaders summit in Vladivostok, Russia, September 8. Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting the annual summit on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University September 8–9.
President Obama took office in the midst of a global financial crisis and worldwide recession in 2009, and his administration quickly recognized then and going forward that there is an urgent need to rebalance economies and reduce instability, Clinton said. She is representing Obama at the leaders’ forum, and held meetings with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the event.
To accomplish the broader goals of rebalancing the global economy and reducing instability, Clinton cited four goals to advance economic progress. The first advocated for American businesses so that they could compete equally with other nations in the global economy. The second is to pursue new trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership now being negotiated, with partners across the Asia-Pacific region.
The third goal sought by the United States, Clinton said, is to expand engagement with regional and global institutions that can mobilize effective common action on shared economic challenges. And the fourth goal is to push for reforms that allow more people to participate in the global economy.
The Obama administration set an ambitious goal three years ago of doubling U.S. exports worldwide by the end of 2014. Between 2009 and 2011, Clinton said, U.S. exports to other APEC economies increased by nearly 45 percent. U.S. exports to other APEC economies are up another 7.5 percent in the first half of 2012, Clinton added.
The United States has advocated against protectionist trade measures, discriminatory procurement rules and local content requirements that distort markets and discriminate against some companies, but not others, she said. Protectionist measures may provide limited, short-term benefits for domestic companies, but they also disrupt supply chains, alarm investors, set back economies and weaken internationally accepted trade rules that were designed to benefit every trading economy, she added.
Clinton told economic leaders that the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a new, far-reaching regional trade agreement that will bring together at least 11 economies, developed and developing alike, into a single Pacific trading community — is one of those examples of expanded regional cooperation. “It will lower trade barriers while raising standards, creating more and better growth,” she said.
“And this agreement will set a new precedent by covering emerging trade issues such as the competitive impact of state-owned enterprises, the connectivity of regional supply chains and opportunities for more small- and medium-sized businesses that are truly the engine of economic growth and employment everywhere,” she added.
Clinton also congratulated Russia on joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying it was good for Russia, good for the United States and good for the global economy.
“Three successive U.S. administrations worked steadily to advance Russia’s WTO aspirations,” Clinton said. "We strongly support the basic bargain at the heart of the WTO: Nations that uphold internationally recognized norms — not just on tariffs but subsidies, procurement preferences, intellectual property rights and so on — these nations get to enjoy the benefits of open markets and free trade."