BACKGROUND BRIEFING WITH A SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL AND A SENIOR OFFICIAL FROM THE OFFICE OF THE USTR
MODERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. Today, we’re having a background briefing on the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC Leaders Meeting to be held next month in Vladivostok.
As this briefing is on background only, I need to remind you that no cameras or recordings intended for broadcast are permitted. And our briefers should be referenced as a senior official from U.S. State Department and a senior official from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Following some brief comments, we will have questions and answers.
It seems as if actually our briefers have to actually travel; maybe some of them are going to Vladivostok. I’m not sure if both of you are, but in any event – so we will have to – we may have to end earlier than 3:30. So please be sure your cell phones are off, and let’s get started.
First we’ll have comments from the senior official from the U.S. State Department and then from the Office of the USTR. Please.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: All right. Thanks very much. Can you all hear me? Yeah? This is working? Great. So ladies and gentlemen, my name is [Senior State Department Official]. I really am looking forward to going out to Vladivostok. I actually leave on Friday morning, and will be engaging in the – along with my colleague [Senior Official from the Office of the USTR] in the senior officials meetings that will be taking place there on the 2nd and 3rd of September. And then we’ll have Under Secretary Robert Hormats, our Under Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, who will be representing the U.S. Government in the foreign ministerial meetings, which will take place on the 5th and 6th of September. And then of course, we’ll have the Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton representing the United States in the leaders meeting that will take place on the 8th and 9th of September.
So, a very robust U.S. delegation going out to the APEC summit, and I’d like to just give you a couple of thoughts about why APEC is so important to the United States Government and to the American people, and then invite my colleague to say a few remarks and then we’ll be honored to take your questions.
The most important thing to keep in mind about APEC for the United States is that it’s enormous. It’s a very large organization. It involves 21 of the most important economies in the world, almost 2.5 billion people in the economies of APEC. It is an organization that has worked very hard for the last 22 or more years to enhance trade standards, to ensure free, open, transparent, and fair trade among some of the largest economies in the world. It has resulted in a boom in trade across the Asia Pacific that has resulted in a great deal of prosperity for all of the people of the economies of APEC.
It has resulted in a great deal of foreign direct investment in both – from the United States into countries in the Asia Pacific, but also from countries in Asia Pacific into the United States. In fact, I was interested to learn that countries in Asia Pacific now contribute as much as 20 percent of the foreign direct investment into the United States. That translates into a lot of American jobs, a lot of American prosperity, and it has a direct impact on the livelihoods of many of my fellow citizens. So that’s one of the primary reasons why APEC is of such great importance to us.
Another, of course, is that by lowering trade barriers in a sustained fashion and ensuring and fostering an environment and an ecosystem of free, fair, open, and transparent trade over the course of the past couple of decades, APEC has created for its member countries and economies a system whereby exports can boom among them. And U.S. exports into the Asia Pacific region have grown in a very healthy manner over the past 20, 23 years, and have resulted in a great number of jobs for Americans – high-paying, high-value, export, and manufacturing jobs.
For this reason, the Secretary of State is looking forward very much to participating in the Russian-hosted APEC this year in Vladivostok.
The Russians have done, obviously, a lot of very helpful work in framing the issues for our leaders. And there will be ministerial and leaders commu