Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
The Council of the Americas and the Inter-American Development Bank
“Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Western Hemisphere View”
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
As prepared for delivery
Thank you all for that kind reception.
My thanks to Eric Farnsworth for that kind introduction and for the great job he’s done as moderator today.
Let me also thank the Council of the Americas and the Inter-American Development Bank for co-hosting this dialogue.
It’s an honor to be here today, and to follow this distinguished group of panelists.
It’s been a great discussion. A lot of topics have been touched upon already.
And, I appreciate this opportunity to contribute to the conversation.
Today, I want to talk a little about:
- our general perspective from here in the United States;
- why we view the TPP as a top priority;
- how we envision it taking shape; and
- how we plan to engage with all our partners moving forward.
Let me start with some brief background.
President Obama took office in 2009. Like the rest of the world, the U.S. faced significant economic challenges.
4 million jobs were lost in the six months before President Obama took office. Another 4 million jobs were lost before his policies were put into place.
It was a challenging time. But the President has met these challenges.
He’s taken a number of bold steps to steer the United States down the road to recovery.
Key among these steps was an effort to strengthen our economic ties around the world.
For American businesses and jobs, this is important work.
Consider these numbers: 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders.
85 percent of global growth in the next five years will happen overseas, according to the IMF.
So, we view our work with countries — like those represented here — as essential to our future economic success.
We want you to succeed. When you succeed, we succeed.
Sure, we all represent different countries, with different histories and a diversity of interests and perspectives. Yet, those differences are small in comparison to what we share.
What we share is a common desire to boost our economies and support jobs by lowering the barriers to trade and investment, and strengthening the economic bonds between us.
That’s why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is so critical. It’s a vehicle that helps achieve these shared goals.
I’ve long felt that the Western Hemisphere should work closer together to advance a common agenda. Our geography, mutual interests and common values makes for a natural partnership.
We’ve got to leverage this partnership to strengthen our trade relations with each other, and with the fastest growing area in the world — the Asia-Pacific region.
We all know why this is important for our respective countries. TheAsia-Pacific representsmore than40 percent of global trade. It’s home to 41 percentof theworld's population.
It’s an incredible market for all our products and services. And, as we strive to fully access this market, we’ve got to ensure that trade reflects the values we share — fairness and opportunity.
We cannot have a 21st century partnership if we are guided by a 20th century trade framework.
None of our businesses can reach their full potential in the international markets:
- if an unequal playing-field prevents fair trade and competition;
- if trade rules don’t cover emerging technologies;
- and, if regulations are too confusing and complex to understand.
That’s why the developments from the recent APEC forum were such a huge step forward.
As previous speakers have said, the framework developed in Honolulu represents a landmark accomplishment. It identified five central features that nations around the world are already viewing as a new standard for trade agreements.
For today, I’ll call it the five “E’s”:
- expanding market access by removing all the tariffs and other barriers to trade;
- enacting a fully regional approach to maximize the development of production and supply chains across the region;
- easing the regulatory challenges facing businesses — especially small- and medium-sized concerns — by promoting coherence and removing unnecessary red tape;
- ensuring that new industries — like clean technology and the digital economy — are addressed;
- and, establishing a living agreement that allows us to address developments that arise in the future.
These are the five principles for progress. They will help all of us build for the future.
And, since they’re here, I want to thank Ambassador Fermandois and Ambassador Forsyth for their work in this effort. Historically, we’ve had a close relationship with Peru and Chile.
Since the U.S. - Chile Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 2004, total bilateral trade has more than doubled, reaching more than $18 billion in 2010.
Regarding Peru: tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of the U.S. - Peru Trade Promotion Agreement that entered into force in 2009. Despite the global economic crisis, the trade relationship between our two countries remains strong and resilient.
Bilateral trade bounced back to pre-crisis levels of nearly $12 billion in 2010. These economic ties are supporting jobs and businesses in all our countries.
And, we want to build on partnerships like this with initiatives such as the Summit of the Americas.
As you know, the Summit of the Americas is a regular gathering of heads of state and government officials from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
It’s a valuable opportunity for leaders to exchange ideas and experiences. The Sixth Summit of the Americas will be held in Colombia in April.
From the perspective of the United States, our hemispheric engagement is focused on:
- inclusive economic growth;
- advancing energy and environmental issues;
- and strengthening democratic governance and human rights.
And, this engagement is helped by efforts like IDB’s partnership with the Colombian private sector. Together, they will co-host a CEOs forum with leaders from throughout the hemisphere.
It will be held on the margins of the Summit of the Americas. And, it will ensure that the private sector’s voice is heard and conveyed to our hemisphere’s senior policy makers.
In the larger picture, by emphasizing shared values and interests, The United States is proud to work with our partners in the Americas to advance a common agenda — more jobs and more growth for our citizens.
And, we welcome this opportunity to build on this work through the TPP. We also welcome the formal expressions of interest in the TPP given by Mexico, Canada and Japan.
We know about the valuable economic contributions these countries make. With regards to Canada and Mexico, our shared borders link over 450 million people. We see trade flows of $2.5 billion every day. To put this in perspective, this translates to nearly $2 million a minute.
We’ve received considerable feedback from stakeholders about the potential participation of these countries. And, please know, that we’ll be working with these stakeholders to assess the readiness of Canada, Mexico and Japan to join this high-standards agreement.
Today’s words by Ambassador Sarukhan and Minister Robertson will contribute greatly to this conversation. And, we look forward to more conversations moving forward.
We also look forward to working with partners to continue the effort to make the TPP a model for the future.
Working with the Office of the United States Trade Representative — I have instructed my staff to seek an agreement that requires participants to address key goals like:
- ensuring that there is a transparent and dependable legal and regulatory system;
- supporting fair competition between private and state-controlled firms;
- combating public sector corruption and bribery;
- and creating intellectual property protections to fully encourage innovation and creativity.
We want all of our trading partners to be innovators, and to experience the growth that results from strong legal systems, robust IP rights and open market economies.
We want to set high standards for our trade agreements and for our trading relationships around the world.
And we want a strong TPP that strengthens the economy within the Western Hemisphere, which in turn enhances the region’s presence in the Asia Pacific.
And that is the message I want to leave with you today.
The United States is committed to our relationship with our partners in the Western Hemisphere.
We want to work with you to access all the opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.
We want to keep working together and growing together.
And, it’s been great to be here today so we can continue to learn together.
Once again, I want to thank the Council of Americas and the Inter-American Development Bank for hosting this event today.
And, I look forward to working with all of you tomorrow — and beyond — as TPP negotiations move forward.
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