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Hawaii County APEC Expenditures… $90,000 Allocated

Well now that the 2011 APEC Hawaii Summit is over some are wondering if it was worth it for our state to put out such taxpayers money for an event of this magnitude.

“…The actual APEC cost to state government totaled $3.2 million, 57 percent lower than the original projected cost of $7.5 million.Schatz said one reason for the lower APEC bills was that protesters during APEC were peaceful, and there were no arrests.”A lot of those funds, those expected expenditures, were in the case that something happened that had to be dealt with, whether it was mass arrests, or an air quality problem or a need for overtime for law enforcement officers,” Schatz said…

Despite the fact that it is well known that the State did stock up on pepper spray and other measures that could potentially cause harm to protestors, Lt. Governor Schatz stated the State will ask the Federal government for some reimbursements of the cost:

“We were one of the only national security special events in recent memory where there were no lawsuits, because we weren’t about to use law enforcement as a premise to shut down people’s ability to express their viewpoints,” he said.The state will ask the federal government for reimbursement for all the extra APEC security costs.

A lot of folks on the Big Island are wondering what, if any costs were incurred by Big Island officials for this conference.
According to the recently updated Department of Finance, Purchasing Division, and Professional Services Awarded website it appears that $90,000.00 was allocated for APEC out of Hawaii County taxpayers money:
My guess is that the majority of this money went to a reception that was held on Wednesday, November 9th, the night before the APEC Conference began.
The county went all out on this reception greeting everyone that came in the door with an orchid lei from the Big Island.

Councilwoman Brittany Smart and Mayor Kenoi sporting Big Island leis

The event lasted from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and consisted of heavy Big Island pupus…

Big Island Grindz

I don’t have a breakdown of where the $90,000.00 may or may not have gone to… but I assume the Big Island entertainers that were brought there were paid such as Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winners Kuana Torres Kahele and  Mark Yamanaka.

Big Island Musicians Rule!

And K’uipo Kumukahi:

Kuuipo Kumukahi

I can only assume that many county officials expenses were paid for such as air, hotel and car rental expenses… since they were there to “Promote the Big Island”.

Mayor Kenoi talks to a Washington DC Reporter while the cameras roll

Word went around the coconut wireless that folks were to wear clothes that represented the Big Island and I sure saw a lot of Sig Zane Design clothes there!

Mayor Kenoi and his wife along with Lt. Governor Brian Schatz sporting Sig Zane Designs Clothing from the Big Island

APEC VIDEO: Hawaii County Awardee for Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase – Big Island Carbon

Big Island Carbon is committed to close partnership with our clients to produce the highest quality activated carbon products using sustainable manufacturing with responsible environmental stewardship.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/NN3QR4JF4Uw]

Wordless Wednesday – APEC Secret Service in Paradise

Makana Occupies APEC World Leaders Dinner… With Aloha

I’ve asked Makana Cameron to respond to some questions I posed to him about his protest song that he sang in front of the APEC 2011 World Leaders last nght… and if he is even as close to tired as I am… I don’t expect him to return my answers anytime soon.

Makana Cameron Occupy With Aloha

Makana Cameron "Occupy With Aloha" at the APEC 2011 World Leaders Dinner

In the meantime… the following video is going viral and when I have his direct comments posed to the questions I asked… I will post them later.

I find it interesting that they weren’t allowing filming with phones at the time considering the day before I was taking video and pictures of the luncheon with the world leaders.

Here is the actual video taken on 11.12.11 in Honolulu on the grounds of the highly secured Hale Koa military hotel and facility in Waikiki:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/H-M07v8N_eU]

Makana writes:

My guitar tech shot this with a camera phone during my performance for the World Leaders Dinner at APEC, which was hosted by the First Family.

He had to be extremely discreet as Secret Service had warned those on site that any phones used to capture photography or video would be confiscated. Since he has a guitar tuner app on the phone we were able to justify having it out, but grabbing video was not easy. We were under constant surveillance. Personally I like to have video of every performance. It’s my art and my right.

About an hour into my set of generally ambient guitar music and Hawaiian tunes, I felt inspired to share some songs that resonated with the significance of the occasion.

I sang a few verses from “Kaulana Na Pua” (a famous Hawaiian protest song in honor of the anniversary of our Queen’s passing), then segued into Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, Sting’s “Fragile”, and finally my newest song “We Are The Many”.

My goal was not to disturb the guests in an offensive fashion but rather to subliminally fill their ears and the entire dinner atmosphere with a message that might be more effectively received in a subconscious manner. I sweetly sang lines like “You enforce your monopolies with guns/ While sacrificing our daughters and sons/ But certain things belong to everyone/ Your thievery has left the people none”. The event protocol was such that everyone there kept their expressions quite muffled. Now and then I would get strange, befuddled stares from heads of state. It was a very quiet room with no waiters; only myself, the sound techs, and the leaders of almost half the world’s population.

If I had chosen to disrupt the dinner and force my message I would have been stopped short. I instead chose to deliver an extremely potent message in a polite manner for a prolonged interval.

I dedicate this action to those who would speak truth to power but were not allowed the opportunity.

Me ka ha’aha’a,

Makana

Here is the full video of the song that he sang that he uploaded a few days before the APEC 2011 Concert:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xq3BYw4xjxE]

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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!

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.

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.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton On America’s Pacific Century

DR. MORRISON:  Aloha.

AUDIENCE:  Aloha.

DR. MORRISON:  How do you introduce the Secretary of State?  And I think the first thing I think of as a public servant, we sometimes hear the word public servant spoken in a kind of derogatory tone.  But the public servants that I’ve known, the members of our state and local government, members of our Congress, members of the international community, with a lot of volunteers and within a certain (inaudible) of the Department of State, are people who are incredibly dedicated and work tirelessly.

But there’s no one, I think, who is more tireless than the Secretary of State, and our own little vignette on this is that there was 25 years that the East-West Center saw no Secretary of State come to our campus.  And in the last two years, we’ve seen this Secretary of State three times.  (Applause.)  Now I have learned one other thing about her this time.  She is a risk-taker.  We told her that the weather was going to be raining, the program should be on the inside, and she told us that the weather was going to be fine – (laughter) – that the program was going to be on the outside.  And you can see who won the argument – (laughter) – but I think calculated and intelligent risk and something we also need in public service.

So I’m very pleased to present our Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Thank you.  Thank you all.  Aloha.

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Research Reveals Trade Transaction Costs Fall in APEC Region

Trade transaction costs across the Asia-Pacific region have fallen 5%, resulting in US$ 58.7 billion in total savings for businesses, research shows.

In a new report released, an independent research team has investigated whether APEC met its target of reducing trade transaction costs between 2007 and 2010, after implementing a comprehensive action plan to facilitate trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report reveals that although fees and charges for importers and exporters increased across the region between 2006 and 2010, the amount of time taken to clear goods across borders decreased, resulting in an overall drop of 5% in trade transaction costs and therefore costs savings for businesses.

“The reduction is good news for businesses and economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Given the uncertainty of the global economy, trade facilitation is now even more crucial to supporting sustainable economic growth,” said Denis Hew, Director of the Policy Support Unit, the team responsible for the report.

“Reducing trade transaction costs boosts the profitability of businesses and helps create jobs. Introducing measures so that goods flow more easily at, across and behind borders also increases the competitiveness of markets and brings lower prices for consumers,” Dr Hew said.

“As the volume and complexity of trade across the Asia-Pacific region grows, streamlining and simplifying import and export procedures so that goods and services are delivered more efficiently and cost effectively is paramount,” he said.

The report, which can be downloaded from the APEC website, will be circulated to APEC Trade Ministers and senior officials for discussion in Honolulu this week.

The report shows that total fees and charges rose in real terms across the region by US$ 6.3 billion between 2006 and 2010 for importing and exporting all merchandise, an increase of 4.8%.

However the amount of total time taken to complete trade-related procedures dropped, which represents a decrease in costs of US$ 65 billion, or 6.2 percent from 2006. Thus, overall trade transaction costs resulted in total savings for businesses of US$ 58.7 billion.

The costs – the fees and charges plus the monetary value of the time spent getting goods to market – relate to document preparation, customs clearance and technical control, ports and terminal handling and inland transport and handling.

The researchers measured trade transaction costs in the region as part of their assessment of the success of APEC’s Trade Facilitation Action Plan II (TFAP II). The assessment found that APEC had reached its target of reducing trade transaction costs by 5% between 2007 and 2010, a goal set by APEC Leaders in 2005.

Total trade transaction costs fell from US$ 1.187 trillion in 2006 to US$ 1.128 trillion in 2010.

Under TFAP II, APEC has been carrying out projects around the region to encourage economies to undertake reforms and improvements to streamline trade in four priority areas; customs procedures, standards and conformance, business mobility and electronic commerce (data privacy and paperless trading).

In their report, the researchers conclude that APEC has made “significant progress to improve trade facilitation and reduce trade transaction costs through the measures implemented under TFAP II.”

Monica Contreras, chair of APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment, welcomed the findings, which showed APEC has successfully identified obstacles that hinder trade and implemented actions and measures to address them, thereby bringing real results to the business community.

“While we are enthusiastic about the progress made by APEC, we also recognize that there is more that can be done to improve trade facilitation across the region, therefore further efforts in this regard have been already deployed ” Ms Contreras said.

TFAP II is one of many APEC initiatives aimed at increasing free trade and investment and strengthening regional economic integration to assist economic growth and prosperity for its people. TFAP II follows the first successful action plan, which worked to reduce costs also by 5% over four years to 2006.

The new report shows that by 2010, net savings were realized in most stages of the logistics chain across the APEC region. Substantial time savings were realized – the average time spent to prepare documentation for example was reduced by two days for both imports and exports. However fees and charges rose strongly in real terms, particularly in ports and terminal handling.

On average it took 17 days and US$ 842 to complete an APEC export transaction for a single, standard container of goods in 2006. In 2010, it took 15 days and US$ 856. Previously in 2006, it took 17 days and US$ 941 to complete such an APEC import transaction; in 2010 it took 15 days and US$ 923.

For the main report, go to:

“APEC’s Achievements in Trade Facilitation 2007-2010” “Final Assessment of Second Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP II) http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1211

For detailed measurements of trade transaction costs, including figures for each economy, go to: “Aggregate Measurement of Trade Transaction Costs in APEC 2007-2010” http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1212

For assessment of APEC’s progress in the four priority areas, go to: “Trade Facilitation through Customs Procedures: Assessment of APEC’s Progress” http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1213

“Reducing Business Travel Costs: The Success of APEC’s Business Mobility Initiatives”  http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1214

“Facilitating Electronic Commerce in APEC: A Case Study of Electronic Certificate of Origin” http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1215

“Reducing Trade Transaction Costs: Harmonization of Standards and Conformity Assessments in APEC”. http://publications.apec.org/publication-detail.php?pub_id=1207

President Obama, First Lady to Travel to Hawai’i, Attend APEC

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will arrive in Honolulu, HI to attend APEC.  The arrival and departure of Air Force One in Honolulu is open to the press, and closed to the public.

Members of the media who wish to cover the arrival of Air Force One must have APEC media credentials.  The APEC credentialing deadline has passed.

About APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region.  Established in 1989 and comprising 21 member economies from around the Pacific Rim, including the United States, APEC fosters growth and prosperity by facilitating economic cooperation and expanding trade and investment throughout the region.  APEC economies account for 54 percent of global GDP, 44 percent of world trade, and 61 percent of U.S. goods exports.  In 1993, President Clinton invited fellow APEC Leaders to meet on Blake Island near Seattle, elevating APEC from ministerial to head-of-government level for the first time.  Hosting responsibilities have rotated among APEC economies over the succeeding 18 years, with Japan welcoming President Obama and other APEC Leaders to Yokohama in November 2010.

 

As host of APEC 2011, the United States aims to create opportunities for prosperity and job creation by expanding trade and investment, cultivating small and medium-sized businesses, and fostering an environment that allows innovation to flourish.  President Obama chose his birthplace of Honolulu as the site for the APEC 2011 Leaders’ Meeting to highlight America’s position as a Pacific nation.  The APEC 2011 Leaders’ Reception and Dinner on Saturday, November 12, 2011, will take place in Honolulu at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki.  On Sunday, November 13, APEC Leaders will meet at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina.  The Hawaii Convention Center will play host to Ministerial and Senior Officials’ meetings, as well as house the international press file center.

A Celebration of Hawaii Island… APEC Style

So APEC begins this week and I was scheduled to arrive on Thursday, however I have now changed my flight to Wednesday, thanks to Go!Mokule Airlines.

In today’s Hawaii Tribune Herald it was reported that the Big Island wouldn’t be visited by any dignitaries:

“..No visits from high-ranking dignitaries or official APEC events have been scheduled here, according to county officials, but that doesn’t mean Hawaii Island will be forgotten during the week, they said.

According to Mayor Billy Kenoi, on top of planning to send a contingent to Oahu this week, Hawaii County has been hard at work all year long in anticipation of the APEC summit…”

Well since no one is coming to the Big Island… it looks like the Big Island is going to Oahu!  I received this invitation from the Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board & the Big Island Visitors Bureau to attend “A Celebration of Hawaii Island: Featuring Hawaii’s Finest” at the Elks Lodge in Waikiki.

I’m not sure what will be going on there but I plan on checking it out for a little while.

The Tribune did report that there will be a contingency of folks manning a Big Island booth at the Convention Center:

…A partnership between the county, the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Big Island Visitors Bureau will provide 13 people to man in rotating shifts an exhibit at the Hawaii Convention Center all week, said Randy Kurohara, director of the county’s Research and Development department.

“We plan to have two to three people in the booth at a given time to be able to respond to inquiries on economic opportunities, as well as potential newsworthy stories from our island,” Kurohara said. “Our mayor will be available for interviews and promotions with the international and local media throughout the week…”

And just in case anyone is wondering… I’m paying my own travel expenses and not getting paid to attend this APEC 2011 Conference!

APEC Business Travel Card Legislation Approved

Bipartisan legislation will enhance business travel, investment, and trade opportunities for American citizens in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC), representing 27 AmChams in 21 economies, expressed appreciation to the U.S. Congress for passing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards (ABTC) Act of 2011.

“Passage of this legislation sends a clear message that the United States is committed to bolstering its commercial presence in Asia. Access to business travel cards will significantly enhance business travel, investment, and trade opportunities for U.S. citizens in the rapidly growing economies in the APEC region,” said APCAC Chair Steven R. Okun.

Passage of this legislation prior to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Honolulu was a top priority for APCAC.

Currently, business people of 18 APEC economies already use the ABTC, including for entering the United States via special immigration lanes. The just-passed legislation will allow American businesspeople to enjoy reciprocal rights as the legislation enables the Department of Homeland Security to distribute ABTCs to U.S. citizens doing business in the APEC region.

APEC Business Travel CardAPCAC expressed appreciation to Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) as well as Congressmen Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) for their determined leadership on this issue that will promote U.S. exports into the world’s fastest growing region.

The Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce comprises 27 member AmChams from across the entire Asia Pacific region. APCAC AmChams represent the growing interests of over 50,000 executives and over 10,000 businesses in the region. The APCAC membership manages trade volumes in excess of US $400 billion and direct investments (FDI) of nearly US $300 billion.

Obama to Meet with Canada Prime Minister and Mexico President for the North American Leaders’s Summit in Honolulu

President Obama will host Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 13, 2011.

US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Mexican President Felipe Calderón (AFP/File, Mandel Ngan)

The meeting will build on wide-ranging, on-going cooperation among the United States, Canada, and Mexico with a particular focus on competitiveness, citizen security, energy and climate change, and North America’s role in the Americas as well as in global economic, political, and security issues.  The last North American Leaders’ Summit was hosted by President Calderon in Guadalajara in August 2009