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U.S. Department of State
95/11/16: Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Intervention
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
TEXT AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY November 16, 1995
ASIA PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION MINISTERIAL
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
New Otani Hotel
Minister Kono, Minister Hashimoto, Excellencies, colleagues and friends:
It is a pleasure to join you at this year's ministerial meeting of the
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Let me take this opportunity
to express my deep appreciation to our Japanese hosts. Prime Minister
Murayama, Minister Kono, Minister Hashimoto, and their colleagues have
worked hard to make our meetings in Osaka a success.
After six years of progress and vision, APEC now faces a crucial seventh
year of decision. As the guiding force for economic growth and
integration in the world's most dynamic region, APEC must not only
sustain the momentum it has achieved over the last two years. It must
begin to take concrete and far-reaching actions to open up trade and
investment in the Asia Pacific region. If APEC is truly to make
history, it must produce results.
The American people in particular have a great stake in APEC's success.
APEC's members include our three largest bilateral trading partners --
Canada, Japan, and Mexico. More than two and a half million jobs depend
on our exports to APEC members in East Asia alone. Four out of the ten
economies that the United States has identified as vital Big Emerging
Markets belong to APEC.
The breathtaking transformation of the Asia-Pacific region over the past
half-century testifies to its remarkable economic growth. Previously
underdeveloped societies have become modern nation-states offering broad
opportunities to their people. The Pacific Rim has become the free
market's newest frontier. Within the span of one generation, bicycles
and sampans have given way to subways and supertankers as Asian
economies have converted themselves into economic dynamos. Thirty years
ago, Asia accounted for only four percent of the world's economy; today
it accounts for 25 percent.
This growth is transforming the vast Pacific, turning the seas and skies
that once divided us into channels for commerce and cooperation. More
than 40 percent of U.S. trade is with Asia. Trade within APEC now
accounts for almost 70 percent of the trade totals of its member
economies. And investment among them continues to grow. American firms
are helping to construct airports in Malaysia. Indonesian companies are
putting up hotels in Vietnam. Korean companies are manufacturing
computer components in the United States. Australian engineering firms
are paving roads in Indonesia. And a Singaporean brewery is bottling
beer in Cambodia.
The dramatic growth and integration of the Asia-Pacific region that I
have seen in cities like Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta is not an accident,
but a reflection of the energy and vision of its diverse peoples. It is
that energy and vision that must continue to inspire APEC's efforts.
When the ministers of APEC's original 12 members met in Canberra in
1989, they recognized that the best way to sustain our region's dynamism
was to ensure that our economies grew together. In a rapidly developing
region where skyscrapers were going up next to rice paddies, that meant
cooperating to address shared practical challenges like breaking
transportation bottlenecks, harmonizing technical standards, and easing
strains on the environment. By expanding trade and investment among our
economies, APEC's members would help create jobs and opportunity on both
sides of the Pacific. By establishing stronger ties among our nations,
they would promote regional stability.
When President Clinton took office, he understood that the security and
prosperity of the United States in the coming century depends in large
part on the prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. He
recognized APEC's potential both to spur trade and investment and to lay
the basis for what he called "a community of shared interests, shared
goals, and a shared commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation."
That is why President Clinton took the initiative two years ago to
invite APEC Leaders to Seattle. There, at Blake Island, the leaders
recognized "an opportunity to build a new foundation for the Asia-
Pacific that harnesses the energy of our diverse economies, strengthens
cooperation, and promotes prosperity."
Last year in Bogor, with the leadership of President Soeharto, the
leaders gave life to the vision of Blake Island by issuing the historic
Bogor Declaration that calls for free and open trade in the Asia Pacific
region by the year 2020. They set that ambitious goal because they
agreed that a joint commitment to liberalization is the best way to
accelerate growth and development in each of our economies.
Now, these declarations must be translated into actions. As the Chinese
saying goes, "words must count and deeds must yield results." At this
ministerial and Leader's Meeting, APEC must undertake the hard work of
moving from a vision to a practical blueprint for action. We are
charged with devising an Action Agenda that takes concrete steps to
promote growth and reduce economic disparities.
The proposed Action Agenda before us sets forth 15 specific, practical
areas where we can make immediate progress toward creating a common
business environment in a giant market of 2.1 billion people. This
nuts-and-bolts work might seem to lack the drama and novelty of our
earlier meetings. But while it may not make for big headlines, it does
make for bigger bottom lines.
For example, different product standards, technical specifications,
inspection requirements and performance tests are in force across the
region. The Action Agenda calls on us to begin taking steps to align
them with international standards. Bottom line: By doing so, we can
break down trade barriers and cut costs for business. The Action Agenda
also calls for us to simplify and harmonize customs standards. Bottom
line: Our businesses will find it faster and cheaper to import and
export if all our member economies meet our commitment to follow the
Kyoto Convention by 1998.
In addition to taking these and the other concrete steps provided for
in the Action Agenda, we expect that our leaders will commit to a series
of early actions that demonstrate their determination to achieve free
trade and investment. Such "downpayments" will help build the momentum
we need to meet the commitment we made in the Bogor Declaration. The
first and most important down payment for the United States is to
implement the Uruguay Round fully, promptly and, in some areas, at a
higher level of discipline than required by the agreement.
Implementing the liberalization elements of the Action Agenda
successfully will require close adherence to three guiding concepts that
I call the "three C's" -- comprehensiveness, comparability, and
First, comprehensive coverage. We must maintain our leaders' commitment
to liberalize all sectors of our economies by the 2010/2020 deadline.
The growing integration of our economies means that when one member
protects even one sector, many members suffer lost economic
opportunities as a result.
Given the diversity of our economies, it is appropriate that we have
some flexibility in the pace and sequencing of our actions. We will
liberalize gradually because the Bogor Declaration gives us time to
adjust before open trade is fully realized. But we must include all
sectors in the Osaka Action Agenda. Failure to do so would risk
unraveling the core of our Bogor commitment and undermining APEC's
credibility and influence as a force for global liberalization.
Second, comparability. As we liberalize our economies, we must ensure a
comparable level of opportunities and benefits for the peoples of all
the APEC member economies. We do not have to take identical steps, but
the steps we take should produce comparable results. Each of us can
take difficult steps if all of us are taking difficult steps.
Third, consultation. To ensure comparability, we must engage in a
continuing process of consultation. Consultation will help keep the
process of liberalization moving forward. We all need to meet face-to-
face to review where we stand in our liberalizing efforts and to see
where we are going.
While these "three C's" should guide the first part of our Action
Agenda, we must not forget the "fourth C" -- cooperation. Since its
inception in 1989, APEC has made a tangible contribution to the
development of each of our economies. Beyond the liberalization and
facilitation of trade, APEC must broaden its efforts under the second
part of our Action Agenda to promote economic and technical cooperation.
Whether in human resources, science and technology, or infrastructure,
we must continue to spur development by harnessing the diversity of
experience and outlook that is one of APEC's greatest strengths.
Last year, I introduced three initiatives consistent with the priorities
for cooperation that President Soeharto had identified in his capacity
as chairman. Let me briefly review their status:
I am pleased to announce that the APEC Education Foundation that I
proposed has now been incorporated. The Foundation will support
research, scholarship, and academic exchange activities among our
economies. It will also strengthen cooperation among the APEC Study
Centers that are the key component of the Leaders Education Initiative
proposed by the United States at Blake Island. These human links are
essential not just to economic development but to building a Pacific
community of shared values and interests. I look forward to the
formation of a Board of Governors and Advisory Council that fully
reflect our region's excellence in education and scholarship, and I hope
that the Foundation will begin making grants next year.
I also proposed a meeting of transport ministers to address our massive
infrastructure needs. Without safe and efficient harbors, airports,
railroads and highways, the Asia-Pacific is in danger of having its
vital arteries of commerce blocked off or choked by bottlenecks and dead
ends. My colleague Secretary Pena will review the outcome of the
ministerial he hosted last June in Washington. I am pleased that we
were able to encourage competition in the transport sector, examine ways
to improve our facilities, and bolster our cooperation and training in
critical areas such as safety and security.
Finally, I proposed at last year's ministerial that APEC members agree
to transform the ad hoc Pacific Business Forum into a permanent APEC
Business Advisory Committee. The United States believes that this
initiative will strengthen private sector participation in the working
groups and provide APEC with invaluable advice on our efforts to expand
trade and investment. I am glad that the Action Agenda takes this
important step, and I look forward to working with the Committee to
ensure that its voice is heard.
After all, the real test of APEC's success will be whether its work has
practical relevance to the business community. The private sector
remains the catalyst of this region's dynamism. That is why APEC's job
is to remove impediments that unnecessarily restrict business activity.
Just as the Boeing Company's computer network enables engineers in
America and Japan to work at the same time on the same design, APEC
should permit our businesses to function effectively across a dozen time
zones and languages. We can only achieve that goal by considering
business views closely.
The Action Agenda addresses another area of critical importance to
business -- liberalization and transparency in government procurement
markets. Most of the monumental volume of infrastructure projects in
developing APEC economies, already equaling about $200 billion a year,
is government-generated. The Action Agenda includes a guideline that
calls upon each APEC economy to "enhance the transparency of its
government procurement regimes and its government procurement
information." Member economies will "develop, by 2000, a set of non-
binding principles on government procurement" among other collective
actions in this area.
Next year in Manila, we should agree to accelerate the adoption of these
principles. Their adoption at the earliest possible date will be an
important step in guiding the efforts of member economies to achieve the
greatest possible transparency in government procurement. As in so many
other areas of focus for APEC, improvements in any member economy
ultimately benefit every member economy.
The adoption of APEC principles on government procurement can make an
even greater practical impact if we intensify our efforts. I believe
that a working group should identify the highest standards and best
practices already in effect across the region and report back to us next
year in Manila. As we work to strengthen national laws and regulations
addressing government procurement, APEC members could draw on specific
practices in areas such as timely public notice of procurement
opportunities, use and articulation of objective criteria for awarding
contracts, and a mechanism for unsuccessful bidders to appeal to an
administrative entity other than the awarding agency.
The entire region shares an overriding stake in ensuring that our
government procurement practices meet world-class standards. Our
economies share a stake in the most efficient use of scarce capital --
and in meeting infrastructure needs through the best technology and
service the private sector can offer. Our companies share a stake in
bidding practices that reward low cost and high quality -- and in
business environments that are equitable and predictable. And our
peoples share a stake in the wise use of their resources -- and in
public institutions that foster respect for the rule of law. I look
forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen APEC's commitment to
transparency over the next year.
Our officials have worked hard over the past twelve months to forge a
consensus document that reflects our economic diversity and, more
importantly, reinforces our shared commitment. I believe our Senior
Officials have found the right balance between a flexible, yet credible
approach for achieving our trade and investment liberalization and
economic cooperation objectives. I commend warmly the spirit of
compromise, cooperation and common purpose that has characterized their
efforts and that has produced the draft that we will finalize today.
With this spirit, APEC promises to mature as a force for growth and
prosperity across the region, and for trade liberalization around the
As ministers, we face a great responsibility to our leaders in setting
out an Action Agenda that meets the terms of their Bogor Declaration.
But as we carry out our core commitments to liberalize trade and
investment, we should keep in sight the broader vision of a Pacific
community that first brought our leaders together. The Action Agenda we
devise in Osaka represents the focus of our efforts, but it should not
limit our horizons. We must be willing to explore new areas where
APEC's spirit of cooperation can promote the prosperity and development
of our diverse peoples.
The Asia Pacific encompasses the oldest of civilizations and the newest
of nations. Its peoples embrace all creeds and colors. And its
economies span from subsistence agriculture to advanced aerospace. But
where some have seen a clash of cultures, APEC increasingly embodies a
unity of interests. The Action Agenda that we devise here in Osaka will
guide our economies to achieve our common goal of free trade and
investment by the year 2020. Fulfillment of that common goal will bring
us ever closer to achieving our shared Asia-Pacific destiny.
Thank you very much.
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