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U.S. Department of State
96/07/24 Statment: ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference
Office of the Spokesman




                            U.S. Department of State 
                            Office of the Spokesman 
 
                              (Jakarta, Indonesia) 
_____________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
                            WRITTEN STATEMENT BY 
                    SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
         AT THE ASEAN POST-MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE (7 PLUS 1 SESSION) 
 
                             Jakarta, Indonesia 
                                July 24, 1996 
 
 
It is a great pleasure to have this opportunity to exchange views with 
my colleague Foreign Minister Alatas in his capacity as ASEAN's dialogue 
partner.  The scope and depth of our discussions over the last two days 
at the ASEAN Regional Forum and this Post-Ministerial Conference reflect 
both ASEAN's great achievements and the growing importance of our 
partnership.   
 
On my trips to Southeast Asia, I have seen first-hand the remarkable 
changes taking place in this region.  In the space of a generation, 
ASEAN's economies have gone from selling tin and rubber to making 
microchips and automobiles.  From Bangkok to Bandung, the children of a 
growing middle class now have opportunities and freedoms that their 
grandparents might not have imagined.  Here in Indonesia -- the most 
populous ASEAN nation -- per capita income has risen tenfold in the last 
three decades, an achievement that mirrors the strides that this nation 
has made in providing for the health, education and welfare of its 
people.   
 
I have also seen how ASEAN has progressed from upholding a fragile unity 
to advancing a unique vision of cooperation.  Born amid the turmoil of 
the Vietnam War, ASEAN came full circle last year when Vietnam joined as 
a full member.  Now you are consolidating the peace that you helped to 
achieve in Indochina.  Through this PMC process, as well as the Aions continue to provide for 
our security presence -- the strategic underpinning of the stability and 
prosperity that the Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed during the last 
half-century.  Our alliances with Australia, the Philippines and 
Thailand, and our access arrangements with other ASEAN countries, 
provide the anchor in Southeast Asia for our unshakable commitment to 
security across the Pacific. 
 
We look forward to deepening the cooperation and ties among our armed 
services.  Our nations and the region benefit from the military 
exercises that we conduct -- including Cobra Gold, the Pacific Command's 
largest joint exercise.  They benefit from the continued U.S. access to 
commercial and military facilities which helps to ensure the readiness 
of our forces.  They benefit from the provision of training that 
emphasizes the importance of civilian control over the military and 
respect for basic, universal human rights.  And they benefit from the 
sale of U.S. military technology that enables ASEAN nations to meet 
their legitimate defense needs. 
 
This PMC process and the ASEAN Regional Forum complement our bilateral 
security relationships by providing a valuable opportunity to discuss 
pressing regional and global security issues.  Whether peace on the 
Korean Peninsula, the completion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or 
the fight against transnational threats, the United States and ASEAN 
stand to gain by deepening our cooperation across a broad front.  
Indeed, our strategic and economic interests are deeply intertwined.  
Only by working together to promote security and stability can we hope 
to sustain the economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region. 
 
Today the ASEAN nations form a half-trillion-dollar regional economy 
that is expected to double in size over the next decade.  With expanding 
middle classes, swelling demand for consumer goods and services and 
growing need for infrastructure, ASEAN looms large in the strategies of 
American companies -- and has attracted the attention of the United 
States Government as one of the world's ten Big Emerging Markets.   
 
The United States has been proud to participate in and contribute to 
this spectacular development.  Two-way trade between the United States 
and ASEAN reached $101 billion in 1995, having expanded nearly 50% over 
the last two years.  ASEAN has become our third largest overseas export 
market.  American investment in the region now exceeds $25 billion.  
From building power plants and producing computer equipment to selling 
insurance and operating communications networks, the U.S. commercial 
presence in the region is as varied as it is enormous. 
   
The United States strongly supports ASEAN's commitment to regional 
liberalization and greater openness to the global economy at the same 
time.  New patterns of trade and investment are linking markets and 
blurring borders throughout Southeast Asia.  AFTA's goal of cutting 
tariffs by 2000 will spur faster growth and deeper integration among the 
region's economies and will contribute to our APEC goal of free and open 
trade by 2020. 
 
The ASEAN economies already boast many of the defining elements of a 
world-class business environment, and progress continues to be made that 
inspires confidence in the future.  Governments are reinforcing their 
commitment to market reforms.  Workforces are gaining technical 
sophistication.  Private sector companies are proving themselves in the 
high-pressure crucible of competition.  Physical and financial 
infrastructures are expanding to meet the demands of growth.  
 
But in this fast-forward world in which the only constant is change, no 
country or region -- including the United States -- can relax its drive 
for improvement.  As I suggested at our 7-plus-1 session last year in 
Brunei, ASEAN's ability to make concrete progress in meeting several 
specific challenges can make it an even more powerful magnet for 
international investment and trade. 
 
First, we strongly support efforts to complete an AFTA agreement on 
intellectual property rights that meets the highest international 
standards.  A strong agreement will attract potential investors and 
foster a research environment more conducive to local development of 
technologies such as computer software.  To further strengthen investor 
confidence, we also call on ASEAN members to implement rapidly the 
global agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property 
Protection.  At the same time, we urge individual ASEAN countries to 
toughen enforcement of their national laws. 
 
Second, we welcome efforts to reach an AFTA agreement on liberalizing 
trade in services -- especially financial services.  Doing so by 1997 
can give crucial and timely impetus to the important global agreement in 
financial services that we are pursuing through the World Trade 
Organization (WTO). 
 
Third, we believe it is also in the interests of the ASEAN nations to 
open up competition in their massive emerging telecommunications 
markets, and to treat all service providers equally.  All over the 
world, governments are breaking up long-entrenched monopolies to 
encourage price competition and improve service.  Such liberalization 
can be supported by the creation of independent regulatory bodies that 
will follow non-discriminatory and transparent procedures to safeguard 
against monopoly domination of markets. 
 
Fourth, we believe that the ASEAN nations should support the 
liberalization of air transport throughout the Asia-Pacific region.  By 
introducing free competition in air services, the peoples and economies 
of our vast region can be more closely linked through more affordable 
and efficient passenger and cargo services. 
 
Fifth, we urge ASEAN to develop transparent, fair and consistent 
guidelines for government procurement contracts.  Such guidelines would 
ensure that the region has the benefit of the most competitive, cost-
efficient contracts for the airports, port facilities, 
telecommunications and traffic systems that it needs to sustain 
investment and growth. 
 
Finally, we also urge focused international action against the 
persistent problem of illicit payments.  Bribery and corruption 
undermine productive development, discourage foreign investment, erode 
the rule of law, and prevent fair competition on a level playing field.  
For all these reasons, I have called attention to this problem in this 
and every region of the world and led an effort on behalf of the United 
States to establish common practices among OECD nations.  As booming 
market economies that seek to attract foreign investment and build 
confidence in public institutions, the ASEAN nations have a 
responsibility to promote transparent competition.    
 
Meeting each of these challenges will improve the region's business 
environment, and benefit both the ASEAN nations and their trading 
partners.  It will also extend the reach and strengthen the rules of the 
open global trading system that has been essential to this region's 
economic rise. 
 
Late this year, two ASEAN nations will fittingly share the 
responsibility of leadership on behalf of the global trading system: 
first, when the Philippines hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 
(APEC) forum in Manila in November; and second, when Singapore hosts the 
first ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) one 
month later. 
 
The United States and Indonesia share a particular interest in APEC's 
success.  Three years ago, President Clinton brought APEC leaders 
together for the first time and focused the region's economies on a 
vision of unbounded economic growth and integration through 
unprecedented liberalization and cooperation.  Two years ago, President 
Soeharto forged the consensus among the APEC member economies to achieve 
open and free trade and investment across the region by 2020.  This 
year, President Ramos will have our full support as he takes on the 
critical task of ensuring that we move ahead with the implementation of 
the Osaka Action Agenda that Japan did much to shape last November. 
 
We are encouraged by the start that APEC member economies have made in 
crafting Individual Action Plans to reach our common goals.  It is 
essential that our plans are comprehensive and comparable -- the keys to 
realizing our shared vision of an open Pacific marketplace.  It is also 
essential that we continue to develop the economic cooperation that can 
make the APEC region the most modern business environment in the world. 
 
The WTO ministerial should promote the full implementation of the 
commitments we made in the Uruguay Round agreement and galvanize our 
efforts to conclude the Round's "unfinished business," especially in 
services.  The United States and ASEAN will both benefit from reaching 
agreements in 1997 that embrace high standards of openness in two key 
service sectors -- financial services and telecommunications.  In both 
negotiations, we look to ASEAN nations to make new offers on open access 
and investment that are substantially more forthcoming. 
 
In Singapore, we should also begin to set the WTO's priorities for the 
early 21st century.  We should strive to open up key sectors, for 
instance by considering an Information Technology Agreement in that 
vital sector.  We should also place new emphasis on government 
procurement.  An agreement to increase transparency can be a first step 
toward more comprehensive liberalization of this sector. 
 
Another WTO priority for the United States is to begin a dialogue on the 
relationship between trade and core labor standards.  Our approach 
recognizes that different countries have different comparative 
advantages, including different wage levels.  But workers everywhere 
should have the benefit of internationally recognized basic workers' 
rights that we have all endorsed such as freedom of association and an 
end to child labor exploitation and forced labor.  Ensuring such 
protections is also essential to maintaining the consensus for further 
trade liberalization in the United States and around the world. 
 
By striving together to ensure the success of the WTO and APEC, the 
United States and ASEAN can sustain the momentum for regional and global 
liberalization that has already produced such dramatic breakthroughs in 
this decade.  We can also greatly further the process of regional 
integration that has done so much to strengthen our partnership over the 
past decade.  I look forward to working with you today to lay the 
groundwork for progress to come.  
 
Thank you very much. 
 
 
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