Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Vladivostok, Russia, where she led the U.S. delegation to the 20th Annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting, September 8-9. APEC is the premier forum for U.S. economic engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. Secretary Clinton discussed trade liberalization, food security, and green growth, including initiatives to fight wildlife trafficking, with heads of state and other regional leaders, including business representatives.
On the sidelines of the APEC Summit, Secretary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Chinese Taipei Leader’s Representative Lien Chan, and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Secretary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Russia on Cooperation in the Antarctic and a Joint Statement on Strengthening U.S.-Russian Inter-Regional Cooperation.
APEC’s 21 member economies comprise a market of nearly 3 billion consumers, account for 44 percent of world trade, and represent 56 percent of global economic output ($39 trillion in 2011). Six of America’s 10 largest trading partners are in APEC. APEC Leaders are focused on promoting increased economic growth and prosperity in the region, under the four themes of the 2012 APEC year: (1) trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration; (2) strengthening food security; (3) establishing reliable supply chains; and (4) intensive cooperation to foster innovative growth.
Addressing reporters after the APEC Summit, Secretary Clinton said, “Last year in Honolulu, APEC leaders committed to spark green growth by developing a list of environmental products on which we would significantly reduce tariffs. And here in Vladivostok, the leaders delivered on that commitment, agreeing on a list that includes solar panels, gas, and wind turbines and dozens more products.”
Secretary Clinton noted how our negotiating partners are engaged in intense diplomacy to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the TPP. She said, “This free trade agreement is central to America’s economic vision in Asia. By reducing market distortions and leveling the playing field, the TPP will raise the bar for competition in a way that benefits every economy in the region, whether it is an active partner in the TPP or not.”
The Secretary discussed steps APEC countries are taking to promote food security. She said, “We need to ensure greater agricultural productivity, and that food supplies reach the people who need them most, no matter where they live.”
Secretary Clinton also highlighted reforms the United States has pushed for that allow more people in more places to participate in the formal economy, especially women. You can read Secretary Clinton’s full remarks here.
You can follow the Secretary’s travel to the Pacific, East Asia, and Russia August 30-September 9 on www.state.gov.