Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

A member of the Russia Delegation meets a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome my friend, Dmitry Medvedev, to my birthplace, Honolulu, Hawaii.  My understanding is that he’s been spotted in a Hawaiian shirt walking and enjoying the good weather.  And so I don’t know if anybody got pictures of this, but I’m glad that he’s enjoying himself so far.

President Medvedev and I have I think successfully established the reset of U.S.-Russia relationships — the U.S.-Russian relationship over the last several years.  And it has borne concrete fruit in the form of the New START Treaty, the 123 Agreement, the work that we did together imposing sanctions on Iran, and most recently, the efforts that we’ve made on Russia’s WTO accession.

Today, we had a wide-ranging discussion.  It focused on a number of security issues where the U.S. and Russia have a significant interest.  We discussed Afghanistan and our plan to transition, and the importance all the regional parties assisting the Afghan government in stabilizing the country for the benefit of the Afghan people.

We discussed Iran, and reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so that we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program.

We discussed a number of world trouble spots, including Syria.  And we discussed the importance of APEC and our common interest in assuring global growth and increased opportunity, business investment, commercial ties, and most importantly, job creation in both our countries.

Although it’s not official yet, the invitation has been extended to Russia to join the WTO, as a testament to the hard work of President Medvedev and his team.  We believe this is going to be good for the United States, for the world, as well as for Russia, because it will provide increased opportunities for markets in which we can sell goods and products and services, as well as purchase good, products and services without some of the traditional barriers.

And so we very much appreciate the cooperation and partnership that we forged around this issue.  We think it’s an example of the importance that both countries place on economic reform and economic growth.

And on my part, on my administration’s part, this is going to be a good time for us to consult closely with Congress about ending the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia, so that the U.S. businesses can take advantage of Russia’s membership in the WTO, and we can expand commerce and create jobs here in the United States.  So those consultations will be taking place in the weeks and months to come.

So, President Medvedev, thank you again for a constructive conversation.  But more importantly, thank you for several years of constructive engagement with the United States.

PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV:  Aloha.  (As interpreted.)  Well, I would like to start by thanking Barack for this brilliant idea of hosting the APEC Summit here in his birthplace, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Not only is it a beautiful location but it also is a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of issues like we did today.

But today, my friend, Barack, and I discussed not only weather but also issues he outlined just recently.  But I would like to start by thanking President Obama and his team for his active support and engagement in our accession process to the WTO.  Moreover, we have never received similar support from any previous administration, and this is probably the explanation of why we’ve been acceding to the Organization since 1993.  As has been recognized just now, Russia’s accession is good not only for Russia itself or for the U.S. or other countries, but for the entire system of trade relations in the world.

Our global economy, global finance is surviving not the best of times.  So the more coordinated actions we take, the less there are trade barriers.  The clearer instructions we give to our trading ministries, the sooner we will be able to overcome recession, which, unfortunately, still continues globally.  And the easier it will be to solve our unemployment, which remains our major problem.

This is why the summit of Asia Pacific region countries is of great importance, so that we can coordinate and integrate our ideas.  And I am sure that it will be very successful at the highest possible level.

Today, apart from Russian accession to the WTO and the need to review Jackson-Vanik, we discussed with President Obama a number of international issues.  I’m referring to the discussions we had about the Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria.  We also spoke about Iran nuclear program, and discussed a number of other issues, including European missile defense.  We agreed to continue a search for possible solutions, though we understand that our positions remain far apart.  But over the recent years, we achieved progress on matters where there was no progress.  Barack has just recalled the START treaty.  If we manage to emphasize similar efforts on European missile defense, just like other issues, I’m sure we’ll succeed.

I would like to express a full satisfaction with the past and present relations with the U.S. President.  Our relations, and that’s most important, have always been characterized by trust, and it is only when trust is present that we can resolve difficult tasks — and we did resolve some, although, much remains to be done.

And I thank President Obama again for the invitation.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

President Obama Meets With China’s President Hu at APEC 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to President Hu as he attends this APEC Summit, and we are glad to host him and the other world leaders who are attending.

This will be the first extensive discussions that we’ve had since our very successful state visit by President Hu to Washington.

As we emphasized at that state visit, as two of the world’s largest countries and largest economies, cooperation between the United States and China is vital not only to the security and prosperity of our own people but is also vital to the world.

Such cooperation is particularly important to the Asia Pacific region, where both China and the United States are extraordinarily active.  We are both Pacific powers.  And I think many countries in the region look to a constructive relationship between the United States and China as a basis for continued growth and prosperity.

As we did at the G20 in Cannes, President Hu and I I’m sure will be discussing issues related to economic growth, how we can continue to rebalance growth around the world, emphasize the importance of putting people back to work, and making sure that the trade relationships and commercial relationships between our two countries end up being a win-win situation.

And I look forward to the opportunity to also discuss a range of both regional and global security issues, including nonproliferation and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, ways that we can work together on issues like climate change, and our efforts to jointly assure that countries like Iran are abiding by international rules and norms.

And although there are areas where we continue to have differences, I am confident that the U.S.-China relationship can continue to grow in a constructive way based on mutual respect and mutual interests.  And I want to extend my appreciation to President Hu for the continuous engagement not only of him but also of the entire Chinese government in addressing a wide range of these issues.

So, welcome, President Hu, and I look forward to not only a good discussion here but also an outstanding APEC Summit.

PRESIDENT HU:  (As interpreted.)  I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm invitation and welcome.  I’m delighted to have this opportunity to come to the beautiful state of Hawaii to attend the APEC economic leaders meeting and to meet with you, Mr. President.

This is the ninth meeting between you and I, Mr. President, since you took office, and I look forward to a extensive and in-depth discussion on China-U.S. relations, as well as major regional and international issues of shared interest.

As things stand, the international situation is undergoing complex and profound changes.  There is growing instability and uncertainty in the world economic recovery, and regional security threat has become more salient.  Under these circumstances, it is all the more important for China and the United States to increase their communication and coordination.

China looks forward to maintaining and strengthening dialogue and cooperation with the United States, to respect each other’s major concerns, appropriately manage sensitive issues, and ensure that the China-U.S. relationship will continue to grow on a sustainable and stable path.

This APEC meeting has drawn a lot of attention worldwide and we appreciate the tremendous work the United States has done in preparing for this meeting.  The Asia Pacific region is the most dynamic region in today’s world, with the biggest development potential.  This region should become a region of active cooperation between China and the United States.

I sincerely wish this meeting a full success, and I hope that this meeting here will send out a positive message to the international community that economies in the Asia Pacific region will reach out to each other like passengers on the same boat, and work together to ensure the continued, steady growth of the economies.

Thank you once again, Mr. President.

USAID Supports New Fund to Advance Food Safety

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today pledged $250,000 to help launch a landmark partnership designed to improve the safety of global food supplies. Based on  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) food safety capacity building initiatives, the Global Food Safety Partnership  is an innovative public-private partnership focused on improving systems and regulations that lead to better health outcomes, reduced risk of food-borne hazards, expanded participation of farmers and producers into higher value and global food supply chains, and improved food security. With the USAID contribution, the initiative has secured enough pledges to establish a fund to support country-led efforts to produce safe, nutritious foods. The fund, which will be administered by the World Bank, is the first of its kind focused on food safety.

Announced during the APEC meetings in Honolulu, the Global Food Safety Partnership will initially pilot and develop training programs, address high-priority food hazards, and strengthen laboratory capacity in APEC so that it can later be customized, expanded and delivered to Africa and other areas.

The objectives of the partnership are aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. Feed the Future places an emphasis on smallholder farmers, particularly women, to support countries in developing their agriculture sectors as a catalyst to generate broad-based economic growth and reduce hunger and undernutrition. With Feed the Future support, the World Bank-administered Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) has proven successful in supporting country-led approaches to food security and is leveraging significant investments from multilateral institutions toward improved global food security.

USAID’s pledge today for the Global Food Safety Partnership will complement investments in GASFP to further advance global food safety and security efforts. The pledge was announced by Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.

“The Global Food Safety Partnership is designed to transform food safety, prevent food-borne illness and engage local farmers and producers in innovative safety practices,” Lindborg said. “By coordinating and collaborating, we can ensure access to safe, nutrient-dense foods, particularly for women and young children, in the very communities we seek to empower. This objective is at the core of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.”

Through Feed the Future, the U.S. works with partners to develop new means for reducing agricultural and food safety threats, such as contamination of the food supply. With a focus on building partnerships to leverage substantial private-sector resources, Feed the Future also advances sustainable growth in emerging markets to address the global food security challenge. These efforts promote the expansion of regulatory cooperation and effectiveness, which are high priorities for APEC, and align with the goals of the Global Food Safety Partnership. USAID’s commitment announced today, in combination with those of private and public sector partners, will help enable the Global Food Safety Partnership to serve as the premier focal point to maximize the impact of industry and government partners to support food safety for years to come.

Feed the Future, is the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative geared toward addressing the root causes of poverty and undernutrition. For more information, please visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

Remarks by Ambassador Kirk and Q & A With APEC Trade Ministers

AMBASSADOR KIRK:  First of all, let me thank all of you for your patience.  Let me especially extend my gratitude to my colleagues for what has been a very robust and engaged ministerial meeting.  Today we discussed a number of relevant and important topics to APEC’s goal of furthering our economic integration within the Asia-Pacific region.  It has been a very productive and successful ministerial meeting.

It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to host my fellow trade ministers for a second meeting as the United States host country for APEC 2011.  I must say that I could not agree more with the judgment of President Obama to bring us to his home state here in Hawaii, so I will begin by saying a warm aloha to all of you.

Of course, strong engagement in the Asia-Pacific region is a major component of the United States trade agenda, as Asia-Pacific markets are large and growing, and the region’s importance will only increase in the decades to come.  APEC — through APEC implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, are pillars of U.S. strong, smart trade engagement within the region.

The United States believes very strongly in the importance and relevance of APEC, and 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 throughout this year, we ministers can present to the leaders meaningful steps which will strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, including by improving supply chain performance and addressing next generation trade and investment issues.

We will also advance regulatory convergence and cooperation.  We will improve the quality of regulations and regulatory systems throughout the region.  We will increase global food security through open and transparent markets, and promote green growth, including by liberalizing trade and investment in environmental goods and services, and facilitating trade in remanufactured products, and streamlining import procedures for advance technology vehicles.

We have also successfully addressed challenges that small and medium sized businesses faced when doing business throughout the region.  We are working in APEC to break down barriers for small and medium sized exporters, as they are the overwhelming majority of exporters in each of our economies.  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, and we believe the outcome of this year’s meeting will help 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 within the region.

In that vein, this gathering should mark an additional milestone for a number of APEC economies.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) 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.  And of course, many of us believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be the basis for a long term APEC goal of free trade area of the Asia Pacific.

My fellow ministers, we can be proud of the work that we have accomplished together, not only this week, but throughout this year.  We have produced a meaningful report for our leaders, and I look forward to their work this weekend to further APEC’s critical goals for trade across our vibrant region.

So as we say here in Hawaii, Mahalo for the continued commitment, dedication, and innovation that each of you have brought to APEC’s effort this year.  And now, we’ll open the floor for questions.

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Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Noda of Japan Before Bilateral Meeting

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I just want to welcome Prime Minister Noda to Hawaii, to the United States, for this APEC meeting.  I had the opportunity to have my first extensive discussions with the Prime Minister recently, and I have been extremely impressed already with the boldness of his vision.  And we confirmed, once again, the importance for both of our countries — the alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of our relationship but also for security in the Asia-Pacific region for a very long time.  And I’m confident that working together we can continue to build on that relationship in the areas of commerce, the areas of security, in not only the Asia-Pacific region but around the world.

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA  AND PRIME MINISTER NODA OF JAPAN  BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

And Prime Minister Noda, welcome to Honolulu, where I’m sure that we’ll have another round of productive discussions.  And I want to thank you and the people of Japan for your friendship.  We continue also, by the way, to be concerned about the rebuilding process in the wake of the terrible earthquake and tsunami.  And I want to assure you that the American people continue to stand beside you and ready to help in any way they can.

PRIME MINISTER NODA:  (As translated.)  Well, this is my first visit to Honolulu after 34 years, and this very morning I went to the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and laid a wreath there, and I got to see the panoramic view of Honolulu, and I renewed my recognition of how beautiful and great this city is.  And I would like to express my deep appreciation for hosting us in — here in Honolulu as the chair of APEC.

I’m very much encouraged by the fact that America is increasing its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and I do believe that Japan and the United States must work closely together to establish economic goals and also establish security order in this region.  And I hope that in this meeting today I can discuss with you these issues.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

Remarks by President Obama at APEC CEO Business Summit Q & A

MR. McNERNEY:  Mr. President, few forums are watched more closely by those of us in the business community than APEC — testimony to the extraordinary opportunity it represents for both sides of the Pacific Rim.

President Obama Discussion at APEC 2011

As you know, APEC accounts for 55 percent of global GDP and is growing faster than the global average — significantly faster.  It represents 2.7 billion consumers, and purchases 58 percent of U.S. exports.  So I’m honored, very honored, to represent many of the wide-ranging interests of the business community on stage with you today.

Unlocking the growth potential that exists within APEC is a huge opportunity for job creation here in the United States and for our economic partners.  Secretary Clinton spoke about that yesterday within the context of greater engagement of women and small business, for example.  (Applause.)

Given that you represent — and I’m working my way up to a question here.  Given that you represent the largest economy in the group, your views on subjects pertinent to that growth potential are vital, and that’s what I’d like to explore with you here this morning.

Just to start at 50,000 feet, you just participated in the G20 meeting last week, where global growth was a — and threats thereof was a central topic of discussion.  With the benefit of the viewpoints exchanged at the G20 session, what now is your outlook for the global economy, and maybe with just an eye toward its impact on the APEC economies?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, Jim, thank you for having me here.  Thanks to all the business leaders who are participating.  I understand that there have been some terrific conversations over the last couple of days.

I want to thank our Hawaiian hosts for the great hospitality.  (Applause.)  As many of you know, this is my birthplace.  I know that was contested for a while — (laughter and applause) — but I can actually show you the hospital if you want to go down there.  (Laughter.)  And I also have to make mention, first of all, that in all my years of living in Hawaii and visiting Hawaii, this is the first time that I’ve ever worn a suit.  (Laughter.)  So it feels a little odd.

Obviously we have just gone through the worst financial crisis and the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.  And one of the differences between now and the ‘30s is that the global economy is more integrated than ever, and so what happens in Asia has an impact here in the United States; what happens in Europe has an impact on Asia and the United States.

At the G20 meeting, our most immediate task was looking at what’s happening in the eurozone.  And if you trace what’s happened over the last two to three years, we were able to stabilize the world economy after the crisis with Lehman’s and get the world financial system working again.  We were able to get the economy growing again.  But it has not been growing as robustly as it needs to in order to put people back to work.  And my number-one priority has been to not only grow the economy but also make sure that that translates into opportunities for ordinary people.  And I think leaders from around the world are thinking the same way.

I was pleased to see that European leaders were taking seriously the need to not just solve the Greek crisis, but also to solve the broader eurozone crisis.  There have been some positive developments over the last week:  a new potential government in Italy, a new government in Greece — both committed to applying the sort internal structural reform that can give markets more confidence.

There is still work to be done in the broader European community, to provide markets a strong assurance that countries like Italy will be able to finance their debt.  These are economies that are large.  They are economies that are strong.  But they have some issues that the markets are concerned about.  And that has to be addressed inside of Italy, but it’s not going to be addressed overnight.  So it’s important that Europe as a whole stands behind its eurozone members.  And we have tried to be as supportive as we can, providing them some advice and technical assistance.

I think that we’re not going to see massive growth out of Europe until the problem is resolved.  And that will have a dampening effect on the overall global economy.  But if we can at least contain the crisis, then one of the great opportunities we have is to see the Asia Pacific region as an extraordinary engine for growth.

And part of the reason that we’re here at APEC is to concentrate on what you just identified as about half of the world’s trade, half of the world’s GDP, and a growing share.  And so the whole goal of APEC is to ensure that we are reducing barriers to trade and investment that can translate into concrete jobs here in the United States and all around the world.

If we’re going to grow it’s going to be because of exports; it’s going to be because of the great work that companies like Boeing is doing; it’s going to be because we’ve got high standard trade agreements that are creating win-win situations for countries, the way we were able to do bilaterally with South Korea just recently.  And if we can stay on that trajectory, letting this region of the world know that America is a Pacific power and we intend to be here, actively engaged in trying to boost the economy worldwide and for our respective countries, then I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll get through this current crisis and will come out stronger over the next couple of years.

President Obama Discussion at APEC 2011

MR. McNERNEY:  Fixing Europe obviously a priority, but the growth is here for now.  Although as I’ve traveled around the Asia Pacific region, I and others have detected a slight sense of unease and uncertainty among government and business leaders around whether the U.S. intends to maintain its role in helping to ensure the political, economic stability of this region, other forms of stability, including the free flow of communication and commerce.  I do know that Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary Panetta recently delivered some very reassuring remarks, which I’m sure didn’t happen by accident.  But I think your view on that, on this subject, is of great interest not only to the business community but to the community at large here in the region.

And so, how does Asia fit as a priority for our country?  And where is its place — in a multifaceted way, not just business — in the Asia Pacific region?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay.  And one of the messages that Secretary Clinton, Secretary Panetta have been delivering, but I am personally here to deliver over the next week, is that there’s no region in the world that we consider more vital than the Asia Pacific region, and we want, on a whole range of issues, to be working with our partner countries around the Pacific Rim in order to enhance job growth, economic growth, prosperity and security for all of us.

And let me just give you a couple of examples.  The APEC conference that we’re hosting here is going to have some very concrete deliverables around issues like regulatory convergence, which permits countries to all think about whether our regulations are as efficient, as effective as they can be, or where are they standing in the way of smart trade.

I’ll be traveling to Australia to celebrate the 60th year of the American-Australian alliance, and that will signify the security infrastructure that allows for the free flow of trade and commerce throughout the region.

The TPP — the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that I just met with the countries who are involved, we’re doing some outstanding work trying to create a high-level trade agreement that could potentially be a model not just for countries in the Pacific region but for the world generally.

And so, across the board, whether it’s on security architecture, whether it’s on trade, whether it’s on commerce, we are going to continue to prioritize this region.  And one of the gratifying things is that, as we talk to our partners in the region, they welcome U.S. reengagement.  I think we spent a decade in which, understandably, after 9/11, we were very focused on security issues, particularly in the Middle East region.  And those continue to be important.  But we’ve turned our attention back to the Asia Pacific region, and I think that it’s paying off immediately in a whole range of improved relations with countries, and businesses are starting to see more opportunities as a consequence.

President Obama Discussion at APEC 2011

MR. McNERNEY:  You know, I don’t think the business community has fully understood the comprehensiveness of your approach out here, and I think — because it all does link together — security, business environment, bilateral trade facilitation — all these things really do link together.  And I think Secretary Clinton has made a very comprehensive case for it — we’ve seen in some of her published work and some of her speeches.  So this looks like –I wouldn’t say a major new direction, but it is something that is a major priority for you over the next number of years, is — am I capturing it right?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There’s no doubt.  It is a reaffirmation of how important we consider this region.  It has a range of components.  Now, some of those are grounded in decade-long alliances.  The alliance we have with Japan and South Korea, the alliance we have with Australia — the security architecture of the region is something that we pay a lot of attention to.  And we’re going to be going through some tough fiscal decisions back home, but nevertheless, what I’ve said when it comes to prioritizing our security posture here in this region, this has to continue to remain a top priority.

And on the business side, this is where the action is going to be.  If we’re going to not just double our exports but make sure that good jobs are created here in the United States, then we’re going to have to continue to expand our trade opportunities and economic integration with the fastest-growing region in the world.

And that means, in some cases, some hard negotiations and some tough work, as we went through in South Korea.  I think that was a great model of prioritizing trade with a key partner.  It wasn’t easy.  I said at the outset that I wanted — I had no problem seeing Hyundais and Kias here in the United States, but I wanted to see some Chevrolets and Fords in Seoul.  And after a lot of work and some dedicated attention from President Lee, we were able to get a deal that for the first time was endorsed not just by the business community but also was endorsed by the United Auto Workers and a number of labor leaders.  And that shows how we can build a bipartisan support for job creation in the United States and trade agreements that make sense.  (Applause.)

MR. McNERNEY:  You referenced Korea and Colombia, Panama — big, strong, pro-trade votes.  I mean, it was a major legislative accomplishment.  And the momentum that Ambassador Kirk talks about flowing into the Trans-Pacific Partnership — just let’s spend a minute on that.  You raised it earlier.  Do you see other APEC countries joining — the obvious question is Japan?  And how significant is the TPP for this region of the world and for the United States?  Is there anything else you’d like to say about it?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, keep in mind that almost two decades ago when APEC was formed, the notion was to create a trans-Pacific free trade agreement.  Obviously the membership of APEC is extraordinarily diverse.  It reflects countries with different levels of development.  And so for many years that vision, that dream I think seemed very far off in the distance.

What happened was, is a group, a subset of APEC countries came together and said let’s see if we can create a high-standard agreement that is dealing with tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, but let’s also incorporate a whole range of new trade issues that are going to be coming up in the future — innovation, regulatory convergence, how we’re thinking about the Internet and intellectual property.

And so what we’ve seen — and we just came from a meeting in which the TPP members affirmed a basic outline and our goal is, by next year, to get the legal text for a full agreement.  The idea here is to have a trade agreement that deals not just with past issues but also future issues.  And if we’re successful, then I think it becomes the seed of a broader set of agreements. And what’s been really interesting is how, because of the success of these first few countries joining together, we’re now seeing others like Japan expressing an interest in joining.  And I’ll have a meeting with Prime Minister Noda later this afternoon and I’ll get a sense from him about the degree to which Japan wants to go through the difficult process involved.

And I don’t underestimate the difficulties of this because each member country has particular sensitivities, political barriers.  It requires adjustments within these countries where certain industries or certain producers may push back.  For Japan, for example, in the agricultural sector, that’s going to be a tough issue for them.

But we’re not going to delay.  Our goal is to try to get something done by next year.  And our hope is, is that if we can model this kind of outstanding trade agreement, then, potentially, you see a lot of others joining in.

President Obama Discussion at APEC 2011

MR. McNERNEY:  Sounds like real momentum.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yes.

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President Obama’s Remarks in Meeting with Trans-Pacific Partnership

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to welcome, once again, all the leaders gathered around this table and their trade ministers to Hawaii.  Here in Hawaii, the United States wants to send a clear message:  We are a Pacific nation and we are deeply committee to shaping the future security and prosperity of the Trans-Pacific region, the fastest-growing region in the world.

I’m very pleased to be here with my partners with whom we’re pursing a very ambitious new trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  I want to thank my fellow leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Chile and Peru.

We just had an excellent meeting, and I’m very pleased to announce that our nine nations have reached the broad outlines of an agreement.  There are still plenty of details to work out, but we are confident that we can do so.  So we’ve directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year.  It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done.

The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports, and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority.  Along with our trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, the TPP will also help achieve my goal of doubling U.S. exports, which support millions of American jobs.

Taken together, these eight economies would be America’s fifth-largest trading partner.  We already do more than $200 billion in trade with them every single year, and with nearly 500 million consumers between us, there’s so much more that we can do together.

In a larger sense, the TPP has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia Pacific but for future trade agreements.  It addresses a whole range of issues not covered by past agreements, including market regulations and how we can make them more compatible, creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.  It will include high standards to protect workers’ rights and the environment.

And I want to thank my U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Kirk, and all our teams for doing tireless work to achieve the progress that we’ve made so far.  I want to thank all my fellow leaders for their partnership and their commitment to making the TPP a reality, which will be a win for all our countries.

So, again, I am confident that we can get this done.  Together we can boost exports, create more goods available for our consumers, create good jobs, and compete and win in the markets of the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your outstanding work.  Thank you.

 

 

President Obama Signs APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative

President Obama and the 21 leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic cooperation (APEC) forum will launch this weekend a new “APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative” to make travel across the Asia-Pacific region easier, faster, and more secure.  In a first step, President Obama today in Honolulu signed legislation to allow issuance of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) to eligible U.S. travelers.  The President also announced that the United States is making important progress on bilateral Trusted Traveler cooperation arrangements with the Republic of Korea and Singapore.  These programs will provide time-saving benefits for Americans traveling to APEC economies and highlight the Administration’s commitment to deepening engagement with the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC Business Travel Card

Today in Honolulu, President Obama signed the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Act, a bill that will expedite travel in the Asia-Pacific region for qualified American travelers.  Under the bill, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is authorized to issue the ABTC to U.S. citizens as part of its Global Entry program.  Card holders will receive expedited scheduling of visa interviews and access to fast-track immigration lanes at airports in APEC’s 21 economies.

Trusted Traveler Partnerships

The United States will soon implement a Trusted Traveler arrangement with the Republic of Korea and is working to establish a similar partnership with Singapore in the near future.  These arrangements will allow eligible, pre-screened citizens to clear immigration and customs expeditiously using automated kiosks when traveling between the United States and these countries.  One of the long-term goals of the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative is to create a regional network of trusted traveler programs.

·        The United States and the Republic of Korea will implement a bilateral trusted traveler arrangement, with a target date of January 2012.  This arrangement, agreed between the two countries’ immigration authorities last summer, would link the U.S. Global Entry Program and Korea’s Smart Entry System, allowing eligible, pre-screened U.S. and Korean citizens to clear immigration and customs expeditiously using automated border gates when traveling between the two countries.

·        The United States and Singapore are committed to work towards a similar bilateral trusted traveler arrangement.  President Obama and Prime Minister Lee have instructed their respective officials to work closely and expeditiously to achieve this goal.

APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative

The APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative is a multi-year action plan for expediting the flow of increasing numbers of passengers in the APEC region.  The Initiative focuses on promoting improvements in passenger security screening on departure, as well as immigration and customs processing on arrival; fostering regional adoption of best practices; and pursuing “next generation” approaches to make the travel process faster, easier, and more secure for travelers.

With traveler volume numbers expected to increase in the coming decades, these efforts by APEC and the United States reflect the economic importance of travel to and within the Asia Pacific region, the world’s biggest air passenger market.  According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines carried 647 million travelers across the region in 2009, with this number expected to increase to one billion by 2014.  The number of air travelers globally is also projected to grow from 2.4 billion in 2010 to 16 billion by 2050, with much of this growth expected to occur in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mayor Kenoi at APEC 2011

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi spent Thursday and Friday in Honolulu engaged in high-level talks with East Asian officials about investment and visitor industry opportunities on Hawaii Island.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to newsman Howard Dicus during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Honolulu.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to newsman Howard Dicus during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday

The mayor is participating in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference taking place this week in Honolulu. Leaders of nearly two dozen Pacific Rim countries, their ministers and other high officials are in Honolulu to discuss various economic opportunities and issues such as renewable energy.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday,

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to two reporters from the Guangzhou Daily News, the world's 24th largest newspaper in the world during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Wednesday,

Mayor Kenoi has also been interviewed by various local and international media outlets, including the Guangzhou Daily News, which featured the mayor on the front page of the Thursday edition of this large southern Chinese newspaper, the 24th largest newspaper in the world in circulation at 1.6 million editions a day.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to reporters from the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other Pacific Nations during an event hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks to reporters from the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other Pacific Nations during an event hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau

“We want to let people know that there is an island called Hawaii, and that island is covered with natural wonders and great economic opportunity,” said Mayor Kenoi. “APEC is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do this on a world stage.”

On Wednesday, the mayor welcomed journalists from all around the Pacific Rim during an event in Honolulu hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. Journalists from the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Russia, England and Vietnam as well as other countries had the opportunity to meet many county and state officials as well as leading businessmen from Hawaii Island.

“While we have extended invitations to these journalists to visit Hawaii Island, we understand that many of them came to cover APEC, so we did the next best thing to taking them to Hawaii Island,” said Kenoi. “We brought Hawaii Island to them.”

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Hawaii Island is also represented by a display at the Hawaii Convention Center.  The Hawaii Island booth, which is being manned by county officials, features island products such as Kona and Ka’u coffee as well as island grown macadamia nuts and Kona potato chips.

Also represented from the Big Island was Business Innovation awardee Big Island Carbon, alternative energy company Sopogy, ocean thermal energy conversion technology developer Makai Ocean Engineering and a number of telescopes.

Joint Statement: APEC Ministers Agree on Enhanced Trade, Green Growth, Regulatory reform

APEC Ministers today committed to concrete actions to strengthen economic integration and expand trade, promote green growth and advance regulatory convergence and cooperation to achieve economic growth in the region.

At the end of their annual meeting, chaired this year by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, APEC Ministers released a joint statement outlining specific initiatives to advance the three priority areas.

“Global trends and world events have given us a full and formidable agenda, and the stakes are high for all of us.” said Secretary Clinton in her opening remarks.

“We are each trying to generate balanced, inclusive, sustainable growth that delivers good jobs for our citizens; economic, social, and environmental progress for our nations; and shared prosperity for this region.”

In their joint statement, Foreign and Trade Ministers agreed to actions on integration and trade, including by addressing next-generation trade and investment issues that a future Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific should contain.

“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,” said Ambassador Kirk.

“We also have successfully addressed challenges that small and medium-sized businesses face when doing business in the region,” said Ambassador Kirk when he discussed the outcomes of the APEC Ministerial Meeting at a joint press conference today.

Trade Ministers also discussed the Doha Development Agenda and released a standalone statement emphasizing “our collective deep concern regarding the impasse that now clearly confronts” the agenda and the reality that a conclusion of all elements is unlikely in the near future.

They committed to approaching the World Trade Organization trade negotiations “with a view to fresh thinking and a determination to begin exploring different, innovative and credible approaches.”

Ministers also reaffirmed and extended their commitment through 2015 to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing WTO-inconsistent measures in all areas.

APEC Ministers acknowledged the uncertain global trading environment, including signs of increased protectionist measures, which continue to be a matter of serious concern.

Other areas targeted for action include: improving supply chain performance by establishing de minimus values that exempt shipments from customs duties; promoting trade and investment in environmental goods and services; and strengthening good regulatory practices by ensuring internal coordination of rule-making, assessing the impact of regulations, and conducting public consultations in APEC economies.

Secretary Clinton also hosted a High-Level Policy Dialogue with Ministers, senior officials and business leaders on reducing disaster risk and strengthening economic resiliency, in the wake of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, floods in Thailand and other recent natural disasters in the region.

Ministers issued a standalone statement calling on officials to work towards improving disaster resiliency, including by working with businesses to develop specific tools to help them prepare for natural disasters.

Secretary Clinton hosted a second High-Level Policy Dialogue on open governance, which, along with transparency, is critical to economic competitiveness, leading to sustainable economic growth.

“We share the belief that markets, trade, and investment are vital to our prosperity,” Secretary Clinton said. “So today, I look forward to hearing from everyone about ways we can continue to build an enduring regional economic architecture that is open, free, transparent, and fair.”

Releasing a standalone statement, Ministers said good governance should continue to be an APEC priority, taking stock of the group’s recent efforts to promote good governance, encourage ethical business practices and fight corruption.