APEC Taste of America = Food Heaven

I just got back from gaining about 10 pounds at the APEC Taste of America reception held for the worlds APEC Leaders.

All I can say… is that world leaders eat well!

All I can say… is that world leaders eat well!

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on APEC 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to be here in beautiful Honolulu for this APEC Leaders’ Meeting and the work that all of the ministers have been doing, and to have a chance to report to you briefly about the extraordinary efforts underway here.

Secretary Clinton Meets with Pacific Island Delegates

As you know, President Obama will be arriving back home shortly, and we will then embark on an extensive engagement with our partners in the Asia Pacific.  I gave a speech about this yesterday at the East-West Center.  We obviously believe that the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia Pacific for the 21st century, and it will be up to American statecraft over the next decade to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise.

Here at APEC, as hosts of the 2011 Leaders’ Meeting, we will continue to drive a positive rules-based economic agenda for the region.  And then when the President and I travel to Indonesia to participate in the East Asia Summit, we will continue with these efforts to advance a comprehensive regional agenda to promote security, economic growth, and universal values.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and I have welcomed foreign and trade and economic ministers from across the region.  Today, I chaired two high-level policy dialogues on critical issues, disaster resilience and open governance, as well as holding bilateral meetings with senior officials from several countries, including China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  We discussed a full range of issues from our economic partnerships to our security challenges to our shared humanitarian concerns.  In particular, I expressed solidarity with our ally and friend, Thailand, as it contends with the worst flooding in the nation’s history.

We also consulted on a range of other pressing issues.  Regarding Iran, we discussed the recent report raising serious concerns about the weapons-related work the Iranian Government has undertaken.  Iran has a long history of deception and denial regarding its nuclear program, and in the coming days we expect Iran to answer the serious questions raised by this report.  And the United States will continue to consult closely with partners and allies on the next steps we can take to increase pressure on Iran.

Regarding Syria, we discussed the ongoing and escalating violence perpetrated by the Asad government against its own people.  Our position is clear.  We are supporting peaceful transition.  Asad has lost his legitimacy to rule, and he should step down.

And regarding North Korea, I updated our partners on the exploratory talks the United States had with North Korea two weeks ago in Geneva.  We made clear what we expect North Korea to do in order to get back to talks, including concrete steps toward denuclearization.  North Korea must comply with its commitments under the 2005 joint statement of the Six-Party Talks, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and the armistice agreement.  And we are awaiting North Korea’s reply.

So it has already been a productive few days here in Hawaii, and I know there will be a lot more work to do when the President arrives and begins meeting with the leaders.  And then that will continue, as I’ve said, as both the President and I leave Hawaii, he to go to Australia and then Indonesia; I to go to the Philippines, Thailand, and then Indonesia.

So with that, I’d be happy to take your questions.

MODERATOR:  We have time for two questions today.  The first one goes to AFP, Shaun Tandon.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.


QUESTION:   Hi.  You mentioned yesterday in your speech that in Burma, you’re seeing the first stirrings of change in decades.  From your talks here and talks elsewhere, how serious are these stirrings?  Do you feel that the current government is committed on such things as releasing of prisoners and easing the violence in ethnic minority areas?  And what is the United States prepared to do to try to encourage those changes?

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Well, Shaun, as you know, Special Representative Derek Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Mike Posner visited Naypyidaw and Rangoon last week.  They met with a wide range of senior government officials, opposition leaders, representatives of civil society, and they reported back what we are seeing, not only from our own interactions but based on reports from other officials from other countries, that there is a substantive dialogue under way with Aung San Suu Kyi, important legislative initiatives including a new labor law and changes to political party registration law.  It appears that there are real changes taking place on the ground, and we support these early efforts at reform.  We want to see the people of Burma able to participate fully in the political life of their own country.

But we know there must be much more done.  We are concerned about the human rights situation, the political prisoners who are still in long-term detention.  We continue to call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an end to the violence in ethnic minority areas.  We urge the government to be more transparent in its relationship and dealings with North Korea.  So we are encouraging Naypyidaw to take steps toward political reform, to bring more openness and transparency.  We believe that the Burmese people share the same universal values that all people are entitled to, and therefore we want to see the encouraging signs continue and strengthen a transition to a broader political dialogue and eventually the kind of democratic and open society that we think would benefit the people of Burma.

MODERATOR:  Last question, Daniel Ryntjes, Feature Story News.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.  I wanted to ask a kind of strategic question.  And the theory is that your situation is, in terms of the negotiations here at APEC, is somewhat constrained by the fact that, in the next year or so, there are going to be a lot of political transitions of power, a lot of elections – the United States, of course – and that is a constraining factor, and that’s why we can’t go towards the sort of ambitious targets that maybe were envisaged, say, six to 12 months ago.  Could you speak to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Well, I think I would take issue with that characterization.  Our discussions focused on three key issues: growth and jobs, regulatory reform and competitiveness, energy efficiency and energy security, along with disaster resilience, open accountable government.  We think these are evergreen issues.  They are not issues that are here today and gone tomorrow.  They are issues that require consistent, persistent, patient work.  So we are exploring new ways to enhance trade.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we’ve been working on very diligently, is, we think, moving quite well in the right direction.  We are looking to encourage the lowering and elimination of barriers to trade and investment, both at the borders and behind borders, and we are continuing to make progress there.  We’re improving regulatory quality and transparency.  And we think that if you look at the steady progress that has been made on these issues, there’s a great story to tell.

At the same time, we’re trying to promote environmentally sustainable growth, green industries, new opportunities to secure energy efficiency and energy security.  And that, too, is an ongoing commitment.

So I think that – I made a comparison yesterday which I really believe is apt.  And that is, if you look at how much time and effort was required to first create and then institutionalize the transatlantic alliance, all of the institutions that really make up the strong bonds between North America and Europe, we are promoting the same kind of long-term project here.  That’s what I mean about a pivot to the Asia Pacific.  And when you look back and think about the countless meetings, the endless discussion, the never-ending kinds of negotiations that took place over many years to establish the transatlantic architecture, we expect the same on the trans-Pacific architecture.  So I think we’re making progress, and it is a long-term commitment that will certainly last far beyond any of our times in office.

Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

Governor Neil Abercrombie on Honoring Our Veterans

Aloha!Today there are ceremonies across the country recognizing the men and women who have served this nation in our military forces.

In Hawai’i, many residents and visitors may not be aware of our commitment to honoring our veterans who now lay to rest.  There are eight State owned and operated veteran cemeteries, located on all our islands except Niihau.  Nearly 20,000 veterans are buried at these sites and are visited nearly every day by family members and friends.
Our veterans deserve special care, which is why I am pleased to announce that I have appointed retired Colonel Ronald P. Han as our State Director of Veteran Services.
Col. Han is a graduate of ‘Iolani School and the University of Hawai’i.  He spent over 28 years in the Hawai’i Air National Guard, before retiring this past summer.  Col. Han will be responsible for overseeing the many federal and state programs that benefit our veterans and their families.  I am confident that Col.  Han will do an excellent job, in serving all of our veterans and community at large.
Under his leadership you can expect changes in the near future in the Office of Veteran Services (OVS) including a new website that will have the latest veteran news, benefit information and resources contacts.  OVS is also in the process of establishing a new State Veteran ID Card that we hope to introduce sometime in the next year.  This card will help those veterans, who do not qualify for VA Health or retirement pay, by giving them something that will prove their prior status as a member of our Armed Services.  With it, they will be able to receive some civilian benefits that are available to all prior military people.
In honoring the men and women who served in our armed forces, I reflect upon that rare courage that they each have in putting their lives on the line for the freedom that all of us enjoy. I am in admiration of that shared bond in our servicemen and women who give everything of themselves for each other and for our country.  Thank you.
Our veterans have and continue to give us all they have.  I assure you, we will never forget.

Governor Neil Abercrombie

APEC – Where President Obama is Today

A lot of folks at APEC, including myself have been wondering where President Obama has been and if he’s even on Oahu yet.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- President Barack Obama addresses attendees of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Carrier Classic is a Celebration of Veterans Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- President Barack Obama addresses attendees of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Carrier Classic is a Celebration of Veterans Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell/Released)

I just got wind that Obama is on the USS Carl Vinson Aircraft today watching a basketball game… however he is scheduled to be here in Oahu later this evening for a meeting he will be having tomorrow at APEC.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- Michigan State University Spartans practice on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is hosting the Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels for the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord / Released)

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- Michigan State University Spartans practice on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is hosting the Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels for the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McCord / Released)

Even former Michigan State alumni Magic Johnson was on board.

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- Magic Johnson greets service members attending the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell/Released)

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 11, 2011) -- Magic Johnson greets service members attending the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell/Released)

Needless to say… an aircraft carrier creates one weird platform for a basketball court!

(Nov. 11, 2011) -- Michigan State Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels tip off the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Carrier Classic is a celebration of Veterans Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

(Nov. 11, 2011) -- Michigan State Spartans and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels tip off the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game on the flight deck aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The Carrier Classic is a celebration of Veterans Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

Here is the White House Press statement on this:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  How you feeling tonight? (Applause.)  We are so fortunate to be able to witness two of the greatest basketball programs in history — (applause) — Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels.  (Applause.)  Two of the best coaches of all time — Coach Izzo, Coach Williams.  (Applause.)  So we are proud to be here and see a great sporting event. 

But the main reason we’re here is, on Veterans Day, we have an opportunity to say thank you.  One of the greatest privileges of this job, and one of the greatest responsibilities of this job, is to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.  And I can tell you that every day when I interact with our military, every day when I interact with the men and women in uniform, I could not be prouder to be an American.  (Applause.)   

And that gratitude that we have for our men and women of the Armed Forces does not stop when they take off the uniform.  When they come home, part of the long line of those who defended our freedom, we have a sacred trust to make sure that they understand how much we appreciate what they do.  And that’s not just on Veterans Day.  That is every day of every year where we salute them and we say thank you for making the sacrifices, and for their families’ sacrifices, on our behalf.  (Applause.)

This week, throughout the week, we’ve been celebrating our veterans, but we have to turn our words into action.  And so what we’ve done is make sure that Congress passed legislation that makes it a little bit easier for businesses to hire our veterans. (Applause.)  We’ve put in place a series of reforms to help veterans, make sure they get the counseling and the job placement that they need. 

The First Lady along with Dr. Jill Biden have put together something called Joining Forces that has now gotten commitments  — 100,000 jobs for veterans and military spouses all across the country.  And we are grateful for them for that effort.  (Applause.)

But every American citizen can make a solemn pledge today that they will find some opportunity to provide support to our troops, to those who are still active duty, to our National Guard, to our Reservists, and to our veterans. 

And it’s especially appropriate that we do it here, because the USS Carl Vinson has been a messenger of diplomacy and a protector of our security for a long time.  And the men and women who serve on this ship have done extraordinary service in the Pacific, in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean.  It was from this aircraft carrier that some of the first assaults on Iraq were launched.  This ship supports what’s happening in Afghanistan. 

I think some of you may know because it’s been reported that the men and women on the Carl Vinson were part of that critical mission to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.  (Applause.) 

So to all our veterans, to all our men and women in uniform, we say thank you.  And we want you to know that we are committed to making sure that we serve you as well as you have always served us.  Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Disaster Resiliency

We, APEC ministers and senior government officials, along with private sector leaders, met in Honolulu, Hawaii for the High Level Policy Dialogue on Disaster Resiliency, under the chairmanship of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 along with additional earthquakes, floods, wildfires, typhoons and tornadoes among other events in the region, as well as the recent floods impacting Thailand, all remind us that the Asia-Pacific region is highly prone to the impacts of natural disasters.  They also underscore the importance of reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resiliency of our communities.  APEC, through its strong networks with the business sector, has a comparative advantage in encouraging greater private sector participation in disaster preparedness and resiliency efforts.  With these challenges and strengths in mind, and recalling the commitments made under the Hyogo Framework for Action as well as the APEC Trade Recovery Guidelines, we call on officials to adopt and implement the following objectives:

Provide businesses with tools to help them prepare

·         Promote voluntary standards for private sector preparedness to help businesses evaluate their own readiness and provide incentives for taking steps to prevent and mitigate the risks they face;

·         Promote standards and indicators for measuring the effectiveness of disaster risk reduction at both the economy-wide and regional levels to guide public and private sector investments and improve quality and consistency in implementation;

·         Promote and facilitate the use of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs), especially for SMEs, by appropriate means, including legal, market-oriented and social measures;

·         Promote financial instruments that help to respond and recover from disasters, as well as to transfer risk;

Facilitate the movement of goods and services during disasters

·         Recognize the importance of the supply chain and related infrastructure in the delivery of goods and services following a disaster;

·         Work through APEC fora to enhance customs procedures, and reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, including domestic regulations and licensing issues that affect logistics and supply chain movements responding to a natural disaster;

·         Explore the use of customs and tariff waivers when host governments request humanitarian-related donations from the international community, taking into account existing guidelines and best practices;

·         Educate the public, business and government leaders on best practices for effective and appropriate donations to minimize the disruptions unsolicited donations can have on disaster response efforts;

·         Develop mechanisms for tracking private sector resources and capabilities;

Promote community based approaches

·         Recognize that communities are the first responders in disasters, and solicit participation and input from civil society, private sector, and local government stakeholders;

·         Promote early and frequent engagement of community groups and leaders in developing Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) processes and policies, and assist communities in identifying practical steps to improve community resilience;

·         Encourage technical assistance, research of best practices, innovation and training for decision makers at all levels, taking into account community-based and gender-based DRR approaches and incorporating traditional, local, and scientific knowledge;

·         Promote community-centered education on disaster risks and risk reduction through existing community groups;

·         Provide early warning assistance through technical monitoring of incipient disasters and timely early warning dissemination through to the community-level, and build early warning capacities within economies to evaluate rapidly-evolving threats such as tsunamis;

·         Encourage an enabling environment for community-centered DRR activities through local governance and economy-wide policy engagement;

Support research and education

·         Promote increased disaster resiliency by sustaining and improving early warning systems through increased data exchange networks, improved forecasting skills and training, and reliable dissemination strategies;

·         Emphasize the relationship of training, education, and outreach to decreasing community vulnerability to hazards;

·         Actively engage and support scientific and technical communities to inform decision making;

·         Support efforts to improve executive education to develop a new generation of disaster management leaders and promote interdisciplinary research as well as platforms for prototyping tools arising from that research;

·         Recognize APEC’s efforts to make schools safer in response to seismic and tsunami threats; and

·         Advocate for the inclusion of natural hazard disaster preparedness as part of school curricula starting in primary schools.

Promote public-private partnerships

Partnership between the public and private sectors is essential as the private sector owns and operates a great deal of an economy’s critical infrastructure and has experience and knowledge regarding resilient construction techniques, the development of sustainable urban areas, energy safety, and the protection of critical resources.  Recognizing the need to incorporate the private sector more substantively in our emergency preparedness efforts, APEC economies will develop public-private partnerships within their own economies and report on their progress next year.  In developing these partnerships, APEC economies will be guided by the following broad principles:

1.     Adopt a “Whole of Society” approach to developing and strengthening public-private partnerships that support business and community resilience to disasters. This includes involving all levels of government, non-government, and the private sector;

2.     Through public-private partnership programs, encourage a greater role for women in supporting disaster resilient businesses and communities;

3.     Strengthen public-private partnerships by sharing information, drawing on best practices, and learning from experiences;

4.     Leverage existing programs and resources, and strengthen partnerships that develop during disasters to sustain long-term public-private collaboration and avoid duplication of effort;

5.     Establish partnerships based on shared responsibilities and resources, with mutually agreed upon roles and tasks;

6.     Cultivate public private partnerships that are open to flexible and innovative ways of working together to build business and community resilience to disasters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stops to pose with this hula halau from Oahu

APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Open Governance and Economic Growth

We, the APEC Ministers, under the chairmanship of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, held a High Level Policy Dialogue on Open Governance and Economic Growth in Honolulu, Hawaii, on November 11, 2011.  We welcomed participation in the Dialogue by representatives from business, academia, and non-governmental and labor organizations.

Transparency and open governance are a critical element of long-term economic competitiveness, leading to sustainable economic growth and prosperity.  We welcome the efforts of APEC members so far to enhance public trust by combating corruption and by committing to transparent, fair, and accountable governance.  APEC should continue to actively address good governance issues as a key priority.  Good governance will in turn spur high-quality economic growth by fostering and sustaining the entrepreneurial spirit that nurtures innovation, enhances competitiveness, reduces market distortions and promotes trade and long-term investment.

Promoting Open Governance:  We appreciate the ongoing work of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to introduce recommendations to its membership regarding key measures to improve regulatory policy and governance.  Those measures draw upon the APEC-OECD Integrated Checklist on Regulatory Reform and its recommendations regarding regulatory quality, competition policy, and market openness.  We instruct the Economic Committee to continue its work to promote more open and effective governance across the APEC region by addressing best practices in public sector governance, regulatory reform, corporate law and governance and competition policy.

We recall our commitment to APEC’s Transparency Standards agreed to in 2002, as well as the nine sectoral standards agreed to in 2003 and 2004.  The ability for businesses, especially small and medium-sized exporters, to have access to laws, regulations, procedures and administrative rulings, and also to meaningfully participate in their development, is critical to strengthening regional economic integration, expanding trade and investment flows, and creating jobs in the region.

We welcome the recent launch of the Open Government Partnership and encourage eligible APEC economies that are not yet members to take the necessary steps to enable membership in this important initiative to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Encouraging Ethical Business Practices:  We applaud the decision of the APEC SME Ministers at Big Sky, Montana in May 2011 to endorse the Kuala Lumpur Principles for Medical Device Sector Codes of Business Ethics.  This set of principles for the region’s medical devices industry is the first of its kind, and will improve the quality of patient care, encourage innovation, and promote the growth of SMEs that produce medical devices.  We also congratulate the work of the APEC SME Working Group in establishing voluntary sets of ethics principles for the biopharmaceutical sector (the Mexico City Principles) and the construction and engineering sector (the Hanoi Principles).  We endorse these three sets of principles and look forward to further APEC efforts to ensure that these principles have a practical impact for small and medium-sized companies.

Fighting Corruption:  We applaud the efforts of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts’ Working Group (ACTWG) to uphold public integrity by developing principles related to financial asset disclosure for officials, and to launch an APEC partnership with the private sector to combat corruption and illicit trade, including dismantling cross-border illicit networks.  We ask that the ACTWG report to Ministers on progress on these initiatives in 2012.

We recall the instruction of the APEC Leaders in Yokohama in 2010 calling on all APEC economies to report on their implementation of previously-agreed APEC anti-corruption and transparency policies.  We look forward to each economy presenting a full and comprehensive report on its progress by the end of 2014, to be preceded by interim reports by economies in 2012 and 2013 covering the full range of their APEC anti-corruption commitments and associated actions taken.  We also call upon APEC member economies to implement the UN Convention against Corruption, including by reinforcing transparency and inclusiveness in the conduct of their respective reviews.

Conclusion:  This Dialogue has reaffirmed and reinforced our commitment to combating corruption and operating transparent, fair, and accountable governments.  We instruct our officials to match this commitment with further actions, including capacity-building activities for developing economies, in support of this work.  We expect to review progress toward realizing these objectives under Russia’s chairmanship in 2012.

Secret Service and Presidents… Lunch With the APEC World Leaders

Wow… I was one of just a few folks allowed into a secret room today where the World’s APEC Leaders had lunch this afternoon and I was granted privilege to take pictures of them during their lunch.

The purpose of the luncheon was to welcome the two newest countries presidents to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala Tasso and Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang.

Donohue Joins Clinton to Reaffirm Commitment to Disaster Resiliency

Moving forward, we must continue to coordinate andcommunicate on our relief efforts,’ Donohue Says

At the APEC Summit today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reaffirm the American business community’s commitment to improving responses to natural disasters through the development of an open-data tool that facilitates public-private partnerships and concrete projects for disaster resiliency in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Ensuring that the public and private sectors are talking and cooperating is an essential component of improving resiliency,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce following today’s meeting.  The event was a follow-up from Donohue and Secretary Clinton’s meeting in Tokyo last April to discuss the public and private sectors’ role in supporting Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake and deadly tsunami.

The U.S. Chamber and its Business Civic Leadership Center—working with American businesses, governmental authorities, and NGO’s—have played an essential role in coordinating the private sector responses to natural disasters across Asia.

The Chamber itself is engaging in cross-sector partnerships to accomplish this coordination work. The open-data tool that Donohue mentioned is being built in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development.  The Chamber also has signed an MOU with the U.S. Pacific Command.  That agreement expresses a mutual commitment to work together in disaster response throughout the Pacific Command region.

“The private sector is committed to working with stakeholders to improve the economic vitality, resiliency, and stability of the Asia-Pacific Region,” Donohue said.  He pointed to the work of BCLC in monitoring public, private and non-profit emergency responders and relief operations, and in tracking private sector donations to relief efforts.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the APEC Ministerial Kickoff

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Good morning, everyone.  Let me invite you, please, to find your chairs.  And we want to get started with this ministerial meeting kickoff, and I’m delighted to join with Ambassador Kirk in welcoming all of the foreign and economic ministers, the officials and representatives from APEC’s member economies, and the international organizations that are here today.  I would also like to acknowledge Mike Froman, chairman of the APEC Senior Officials Meeting, and all of the hardworking teams that have done the preparatory work in order for this meeting to be held and be successful.

The United States is proud to serve as host of this year’s APEC Leaders Meeting.  Global trends and world events have given us a full and formidable agenda, and the stakes are high for all of us.  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.

To accomplish these goals, we have to create a rules-based system that is open, free, transparent, and fair.  Working to make that system a reality has been the focus of all of our meetings this year, in Washington; in Big Sky, Montana; in San Francisco; and now here in Hawaii.   We even created an unofficial slogan:  “Get stuff done.”  And we have.

We’ve made tangible progress in three areas.  First, integrating markets and expanding trade.  We have focused on what we call next-generation issues – for example, by working to help owners of small and medium-sized businesses reach new customers beyond their borders.

Second, promoting green growth.  We have advanced a trade initiative for environmental goods and services which will help spur industries investing in green growth.  We’ve worked to reduce inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, which will help protect the environment by reducing the wasteful consumption of fossil fuels.  And we are renewing our commitment to reduce our energy intensity by at least 45 percent by 2035.

Third, deepening our regulatory cooperation and convergence.  In recent years, we have seen how improvements in this area can unleash billions of dollars in commercial activities.  For example, when a majority of APEC countries adopted a uniform safety standard for televisions in 2005, exports for the region increased by 45 percent over the subsequent three years.

I think that the steps we have taken have moved us forward.  We’ve reaffirmed our commitment to meet World Bank benchmarks that will make it easier to do business in each of our countries.  We’ve launched a new effort to make travel easier and more secure throughout the Asia Pacific region.  I’m pleased to announce today that the United States will begin issuing APEC business travel cards to eligible U.S. citizens in the near future.

And to ensure that our work reflects the real world challenges that confront the people who help power our economies, we consulted with a broad range of business leaders at key events on energy, innovation, and health.  At our meeting in San Francisco, for example, we engaged with CEOs on how APEC countries can more effectively invest in the economic potential of women, whose talents and contributions still, unfortunately, often go untapped.  And we reaffirmed – or we affirmed the San Francisco Declaration, which lays out a roadmap for how the APEC economies can and will maximize women’s contributions toward economic growth.

Now, I am well aware that we all have differences in our individual approaches to economic policymaking, but I also know that we share the belief that markets, trade, and investment are vital to our prosperity.  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.  Above all, I hope we can continue to find ways to achieve real results and, yes, get stuff done.

With that, I’d like to turn to my co-chair, who many of you on both the trade and economic side, as well as the foreign ministerial side, have come to know because of his great energy and commitment.  Ambassador Kirk.

Hawaii County Redistricting Completed – The New Districts Map

The Hawaii County Redistricting process has completed and I’d like to personally thanks the folks that were on the commission for their hard work on a task that is not easy and really hard to appease everyone in the process.

Here is the final Hawaii County District Maps that will be used until the next redistricting happens again in 10 years:

You can view the minutes to the final meeting here as submitted by Secretary, Karen Eoff.

Senior State Department Official Readout of Secretary Clinton’s Bilateral Meetings with Chinese, Japanese, and Australian Foreign Ministers at APEC

MODERATOR:   Okay.  For your records, [Senior State Department Official], hereafter known as Senior State Department Official to readout the Secretary’s bilateral meetings today with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang, Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba, and Australian Foreign Minister Rudd, as well as to talk about her speech that she gave earlier this morning at the East-West Center.

Senior Official.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Thank you, [Moderator].  And again, I apologize for keeping you all waiting.  Sometimes these meetings back up, so it’s great to see so many friends here today.  Let me just give you a little bit of a laydown of where we are today.

Obviously, we’re in the midst of probably, for us, the most consequential period of American foreign policy in Asia, perhaps in decades.  Really beginning with the visit of the Korean foreign minister with our President, and the passage of the Korea Free Trade Agreement.  Obviously, here in APEC, we’re making progress on TPP, working on a variety of specific initiatives for the leaders to consider of the major economies over the course of the next couple of days, the President then going to Australia and then to Bali for the first ever representation of the United States at the East Asia Summit, also the U.S.-ASEAN meetings and the bilateral meetings between the United States and Indonesia.

Secretary Clinton announced today that she – in addition to going to the Philippines, in which we will sign the so-called Manila Declaration, which really commits our two nations to work more closely together on a whole course of strategic interactions – she will also go to Thailand to represent the United States.  Thailand was, unfortunately, unable to – the prime minister – to come to APEC because of the tragic floods, and Secretary Clinton will be arriving in Bangkok next week with specific areas where the United States is going to provide urgent assistance amidst the worst flooding in the history of Thailand.

I think you all had a chance to see her speech today.  It is part of a series of speeches in which she is underscoring that the United States is in the midst of a substantial pivot in our foreign policy, as we responsibly draw down our commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq and focus more consequentially on our efforts in the Asia Pacific region, built on six pillars, including our bilateral relationships, which need to be strengthened, and revitalize our new partnerships with countries like India and Indonesia, a very important set of relationships with China, the importance of trade and economic interactions.

And I think we were all encouraged by what we’ve seen with respect to the passage of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, and that has given substantial impetus to the efforts associated with TPP.  More will be said on that over the course of the next few days.  And of course, we are in the process of diversifying our military commitments and engagements in the region as a whole, and we are committed to strengthening our engagement in multilateral fora as a whole.

Before that session, the President had a brief – the Secretary had a brief meeting with all of the leaders from the Pacific Island nations.  They are here in Hawaii as part of a major conference that is being undertaken by the East-West Center, and we’re looking forward to more discussions with them over the course of the next several days.  As the Secretary said, we often say the Asia Pacific region – we focus more on the A than the P.  We’re trying to rectify that and spend more time focused on the Pacific and working closely with our partners on a range of issues from climate change to the health of fisheries to the endemic health issues that basically are prevalent throughout the Pacific.

She had three very good bilateral interactions with foreign ministers that she knows very well.  This was her – nearly her tenth meeting with Foreign Minister Yang.  In those sessions, we underscored our determination to make progress on a range of economic issues, underscoring that it is important for us to be able to deliver a clear message to our people in the United States that this relationship is working for them.  And I think we made very clear the areas that we’d like to see progress on, ranging from macroeconomic policy to issues associated to – from international[i] property rights and also to – questions related to the treatment of human rights inside China.  So a whole set of discussions around our bilateral issues.

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