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U.S. Department of State
96/11/22 APEC Ministerial Intervention
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of Spokesman
November 22, 1996
APEC MINISTERIAL INTERVENTION
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
Philippines International Convention Center
November 22, 1996
Secretary Siazon, Excellencies, colleagues, and friends: I would
like to pay tribute to President Ramos, Secretary Siazon, Secretary
Bautista, and their many colleagues for their hard work during the
last year. Thanks to the skillful leadership of President Ramos ,
I am confident that the agreements our leaders will reach in Subic
Bay will sustain the remarkable momentum APEC has generated over
the last three years.
This is the kind of leadership we have come to expect from Asia's
newest tiger. During the last decade, the Philippines has
demonstrated that democracy and free markets reinforce one another.
In the ten years since the People Power Revolution, the Philippines
has achieved rapid growth, rising living standards, and broad
political participation. I salute the Philippine people for the
inspiring and instructive example they have set.
The recent success of the Philippines is one dramatic element of
Asia's broader transformation. With the Cold War over, these lands
of age-old tradition and new-found dynamism are together poised to
enter an unprecedented era of security, stability and prosperity.
When President Clinton took office, he understood America's
enormous stake in the success of this transformation. He saw the
need for the United States to remain a Pacific power in the next
century no less than in the last. And he made a strategic choice
to deepen America's engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.
President Clinton also recognized APEC's potential to forge
patterns of integration and cooperation in this new era. That is
why, three years ago, he brought our leaders together for the first
time. Years from now, we may look back on the Blake Island meeting
as the moment when the leaders of this diverse region began to
shape a common identity and purpose. Two years ago in Bogor, the
leaders declared the historic goal of free and open trade in the
Asia-Pacific region by 2010 for developed economies and by 2020 for
developing ones. Last year in Osaka, the leaders issued the Action
Agenda that is our practical blueprint for carrying out those
As we gather here in Manila, we have reached an important new phase
in APEC's evolution. Blake Island gave us our vision, Bogor our
goal, and Osaka our blueprint. Now we must begin to take specific,
concrete steps that will open up our economies and help lift the
lives and living standards of our peoples.
Our individual action plans for liberalizing trade and investment
will take each of our economies step-by-step toward our 2010/2020
goal. Although they are only the first installments in this
process, they plan significant openings in our markets for goods
and services. I congratulate member economies for taking such
encouraging first steps'.
The U.S. individual action plan reflects -- and will reinforce --
the openness of our economy. It explains how we have already met
the Bogor objectives in half of the 14 agreed-upon issue areas, and
the steps we are taking in the remaining areas. Our action plan
identifies where we already exceed the global commitments we made
in the Uruguay Round. It also includes proposals on information
technology and open skies that I will address later, and an
initiative to ease business travel. The United States will offer
10-year multiple entry visas to short-term business visitors from
any APEC economy that offers American business travelers reciprocal
Last year in Osaka, we established two core principles --
comprehensiveness and comparability -- to guide APEC's process of
liberalization. We must adhere to these principles if we are to
meet our 2010/2020 commitments and benefit all our economies.
Comprehensiveness means that we will ultimately open up every
sector of our economies -- from agriculture to civil aviation.
Given our region's economic diversity, the pace and sequencing of
our actions will vary. But the bottom line is clear: if even one
member economy protects a single sector, others will be denied
economic opportunities. Other members may then be emboldened to
protect their most important sector. That is why our goal of
comprehensive liberalization is so important.
Our second principle, comparability, recognizes that we are not
expected to take identical steps towards free and open trade
because of our different starting points. But this principle does
commit each of us to do our fair share -- to make similar efforts
at each step of the way as we move forward to meet our common
goals. A key task for the next year is ensuring that our
individual action plans will accomplish this objective.
Beyond our individual action plans, the Manila Action Plan
describes our collective actions to facilitate trade and
investment. It calls on us to reduce the cost of doing business by
eliminating administrative burdens and overcoming technical
barriers. Already we have made progress in simplifying and
harmonizing customs procedures, putting us on target to establish
a region-wide electronic customs system by 2000. We are also
reducing the cost of compliance with the disparate standards and
technical regulations of our 18 economies. And we have published
business guides on government procurement, intellectual property
rights, and foreign investment regimes.
The Manila Action Plan also calls for a fresh approach to the
other, complementary half of APEC's agenda -- economic and
technical cooperation. Our cooperation has already extended to
more than 320 activities in 13 different areas. As we look ahead,
we must focus on six key areas -- human resources, capital markets,
infrastructure, technology, the environment, and small-and-medium
enterprises. In each area, we must concentrate on achieving
concrete outcomes by a fixed deadline. And in each, we must make
the private sector a full partner in shaping our specific goals.
Our first goal is to develop our human resources. Our
highly-skilled work forces have propelled our economies to the
vanguard of the global information revolution. But if we are to
preserve our leadership, their skills must keep pace with
technological change. That will mean putting into action this
year's labor ministers' agenda for preparing the Workforce for the
21st Century. It will also mean expanding the Internet database
that provides government and business with critical information on
the regional labor market.
Improving human resources also means implementing the APEC
Education Initiative, which was adopted at President Clinton's
urging on Blake Island. This year, two U.S.-led projects have
begun moving us toward our goal of increased regional cooperation
in higher education.
The APEC Education Foundation, which I proposed two years ago in
Jakarta, has begun raising funds and is now preparing to make its
first grants. The Foundation will promote research, scholarship,
and academic exchanges among our economies. I am pleased to
announce that former Prime Ministers Anand of Thailand and Miyazawa
of Japan, as well as former Speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives Thomas Foley, have agreed to serve on the
Foundation's Board of Governors. Here in Manila, we will launch
EduNet, a multi-media telecommunications network created by the
University of Washington in Seattle. EduNet will enable APEC Study
Centers scattered around the Pacific Rim to share information,
coordinate research, and hold classes -- all through the Internet.
The second goal of our cooperation is to foster efficient and
stable capital markets. Massive investments are needed to sustain
this region's pace-setting economic growth. We have begun to
identify the most successful policies to help strengthen financial
markets and promote private financing for large projects. To
attract more foreign capital, APEC economies must make transparent
rules that build investor confidence. We must also develop common
measures to combat money laundering.
Our third goal is to strengthen the infrastructure of our
economies. For all the past success of APEC economies, serious
gaps in the region's airports, harbors, and highways threaten to
hold back future economic growth. If we are to meet these huge
needs efficiently, we must foster effective public-private
partnerships -- a goal that the United States and Indonesia
highlighted at our successful meeting in July.
Our fourth goal is to harness technologies of the future.
Computers, software, fax machines, and modems have driven the
Asia-Pacific region's rapid economic growth. As the region becomes
ever more integrated, our economies will need constantly to sharpen
existing technologies and invent new ones. That is why we are
cooperating to improve our scientific education and research. And
here in the Philippines, we have established a center for sharing
technology among small and medium enterprises within APEC.
The fifth goal is to promote environmentally-sound growth. As
President Clinton has often said and so many other APEC leaders
believe, pitting economic growth against environmental protection
is a false choice. They are both necessary -- and they are closely
linked. At President Clinton's suggestion, APEC Environment
Ministers recently adopted an action program that includes
initiatives for clean technology and production, clean oceans and
seas, and sustainable cities. U.S. support for these goals is
another example of our determination to place environmental issues
in the mainstream of American foreign policy, and we look forward
to making progress on them with our partners in the region.
The sixth and final goal of our cooperation is to ensure that our
small and medium-sized enterprises fully participate in the
economic dynamism of the region. Across our economies, they are
engines of growth and catalysts for innovation. They are also our
principal source of new jobs. That is why we want to encourage the
exchange of information on trade and investment opportunities
across our economies -- and why we would like APEC to help draw
these firms into the world of Internet commerce.
Our cooperation in these six core areas will solidify the
foundations for sustained economic growth in the Asia-Pacific
region. In APEC's cooperation efforts, no less than in our
liberalization efforts, we must concentrate on achieving concrete
results by a fixed deadline. That is why our efforts this year to
heighten the engagement of the private sector are so important.
They know the needs of the marketplace, and we need them to work
with us to shape realistic objectives.
After all, one of the critical tests of APEC's success will be
whether its work has practical relevance to the business community.
Two years ago, I proposed establishing the APEC Business Council as
a permanent forum for business participation within APEC. This
past year the Council has come into its own with a very useful
Today I would like to make two recommendations that can directly
benefit the private sectors in each of our economies. By moving
ahead in these areas, we can show the business community that APEC
First, APEC should address the problem of conflicting professional
standards among our economies. If we truly want to work together
to build our skyscrapers and freeways with maximum efficiency, then
architects and engineers from Seoul must be able to work as easily
in Singapore, Santiago and Seattle as they do at home. Governments
cannot solve this problem alone. In fields such as law,
engineering, and architecture, the experts themselves play the key
role in determining the standards for their licenses. I urge the
APEC Business Council to work with private sector professional
groups in order to develop mutual recognition agreements based on
Second, APEC economies, individually and collectively, should
modernize our policies on civil aviation. The telecommunications
revolution has bridged the vast distances that separate our Pacific
Rim nations. But we are short-circuiting this revolution by
holding on to outdated policies in civil aviation. We are impeding
business travel, harming productivity and undermining growth. For
our part, the United States will pursue open skies agreements with
every APEC economy. We are working hard to reach an agreement with
Japan. And we urge our APEC partners to liberalize their aviation
agreements with each other.
The 1990s have been a defining decade in the evolution of the
global trading system -- and during this time APEC has emerged as
a leading force for liberalization. Three years ago, APEC stepped
forward to ensure the successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round.
Now, at next month's first meeting of World Trade Organization
ministers in Singapore, we once again have the opportunity-- and
the responsibility -- to lead.
At the Singapore ministerial, liberalizing trade in
information-technology products should top the agenda. APEC
economies lead the world in these industries of the future, and we
share a critical interest in reducing barriers to trade in the
computer and telecommunications industries.
The United States believes that at Subic Bay, APEC leaders should
call for the WTO's swift conclusion of the Information Technology
Agreement by Singapore. The ITA would eliminate all tariffs on
computers, software, semiconductors, and telecommunications
equipment -- a global market that generates more than half a
trillion dollars in trade every year. The agreement will
dramatically lower costs and raise productivity for every business
and individual in the world that uses information technology.
APEC must also show leadership on the WTO's efforts to conclude the
Basic Telecommunications Services Agreement. I urge all APEC
members to come forward with new and better offers to ensure a
successful conclusion of negotiations by the February deadline.
With this agreement, the world's schools and businesses can build
their own on-ramps to the Information Superhighway and take full
part in today's global community.
Beyond information technology, the Singapore ministerial can also
give our economies a chance to promote the full implementation of
commitments made in the Uruguay Round. Last July APEC Trade
Ministers showed leadership by pledging that all our economies
would be fully up to date in implementing our commitments by the
time of the Singapore meeting. We must also push hard to conclude
the Uruguay Round's "unfinished business" in 1997, especially in
In Singapore, we must also take up government procurement. APEC
economies have massive infrastructure requirements, and need fair
competition from low-cost, high-quality global suppliers. We must
honor the pledge made last year in Osaka to contribute to global
progress on this issue. The United States believes APEC should
support a WTO agreement to increase transparency in government
procurement. At the same time, we should intensify our work within
APEC to adopt a set of principles to promote fair practices in
government procurement, as I urged last year in Osaka.
Finally, we should begin in Singapore a dialogue on the
relationship between trade and core labor standards. The United
States recognizes that different countries have different economic
situations -- including different wage rates -- and that labor
standards are set in the ILO. We do not propose to interfere with
those established standards. But workers everywhere should know
that trade expansion will take into account their concerns. Such
a discussion can only reinforce support for our trade goals.
Let me conclude by observing that the United States has a great
stake in APEC's success in part because America has truly become an
Asia-Pacific nation. Almost 10 million Asian-Pacific Americans
have enriched our culture, enlarged our economy and enlivened our
democracy. When Americans of all heritages look across the ocean
that links us, we see a future of opportunity. That is why more
and more companies find themselves equally at home from San
Francisco to Shanghai; more and more American state governors and
mayors look to Asia for economic partnerships; and more and more of
our students enroll at each other's universities and learn each
The United States is committed to helping APEC succeed in shaping
a Pacific future of prosperity and stability. We have made
historic commitments that will bring our economies and our peoples
together. I am confident that we will meet them. Thank you very
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