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US Administration's International Economic Policy

The Administration's International Economic Policies

E. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs U.S. Department of State Remarks to Global Business Forum, Georgetown Club Washington, DC October 24, 2001

It's a great pleasure to be here. I know that you've hosted a distinguished group of policymakers and opinion leaders in the past -- including my boss Al Larson -- and I am honored to be with you.

I'm sure that the events of September 11 are as much on your mind as on mine. They have certainly altered the way we do business -- in both the private and the public sectors.

Certainly there have been changes, dramatic ones -- in the security in the buildings in which we work; with inconveniences at airports and in public places.

Certainly, what happened was terribly tragic. However, some positive developments have come out of it. I think there's more of a sense of purpose and public-spiritedness in our country today than I can ever recall -- there is a strong desire not to allow the terrorists to hijack our domestic and foreign policy agendas.

These murderous attacks did not shake the fundamental strengths of our society. They have steeled our resolve to defend and advance the freedoms we hold dear, not the least of which are our economic freedoms.

Maintaining America's economic well being, devising innovative approaches to economic policy, and using creative economic diplomacy -- these remain right at the top of the Administration's priorities.

One way for all of us to do this -- and to send a powerful message to the world's terrorists that we mean business -- is by "getting back to business." And that means our overall international economic agenda.

First, let's look at trade and investment.

As the President has said, "open trade fuels the engines of economic growth that create new jobs and new income. It spurs the process of economic and legal reform. And open trade reinforces the habits of liberty that sustain democracy over the long term."

The President felt strongly enough about trade and investment that he went to Shanghai to move this agenda forward at the APEC meetings.

This was the first major international meeting to take place since the attacks on the United States and the President was pleased with the commitments he received. On the war against terrorism. On facilitating further trade and investment flows with greater regional openness and support for "an open, equitable, transparent and rules based multilateral system, as represented by the WTO."

APEC brought home again the fact that more -- not less -- economic interaction will benefit us all. We cannot hide behind our borders and expect our economies to prosper; instead, if we are to bounce back from the recent economic downturn, we can only do so by opening further the doors to trade and investment.

I strongly believe that America's prosperity -- and our continuing leadership in the world -- is tied directly to our openness.

Openness -- to new ideas, to new people, to new institutions -- keeps America competitive and dynamic.

Openness reinforces American values, democratic freedoms and the free flow of ideas.

Openness has made us the world's largest exporter of goods and services as well as the largest supplier and recipient of investment.

The freer the trade, the greater the flow of equity investment, the more powerful are the tools at our disposal for:

-- stimulating growth and reducing poverty;

-- furthering regional and global stability;

-- creating wealth, reducing poverty;

-- improving health and working conditions;

-- clearing up the environment; and

-- advancing the rule of law and other aspects of good governance and democracy.

For us to have a prosperous America and a safer and more secure world, we will need to show leadership.

When we do not, the trading system simply does not operate well.

And to be leaders, the President must have Trade Promotion Authority.

With TPA, we will be able to negotiate agreements that create new opportunities for American workers, farmers, businesses and investors.

Without it -- and we have not had it since 1994 -- many of our trading partners will wonder whether the agreements we make will be the agreements we can deliver on.

With TPA, we can realize our vital economic goals at home -- I don't need to tell you just how intertwined our economy has become with the global economy in the past decade.

Without TPA, we give a free pass to other countries to negotiate with one another without taking U.S. concerns and interests in mind.

Nor can we allow others to ignore or put off making progress on the trade-related problems confronting us all. They may not be able to retreat behind their borders, but they sure may not have the incentive to deal with some of the challenges facing us -- from biotechnology and its application to agriculture to liberalizing the rules under which the ever expanding information technology dependent world operates.

TPA is not the only weapon in our arsenal for opening markets and supporting business.

In the past three weeks, the Congress approved two important and historic trade agreements: a free trade agreement with Jordan and a bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam.

Talks with Chile and Singapore proceed on free trade agreements, and hemisphere-wide trade talks continue for the Free Trade Area of the Americas. With regard to the latter, we seek to create a single set of trade rules among 34 countries in our hemisphere, which today abide by a maze of rules.

Work continues on reauthorizing the Andean Trade Preferences Act and GSP. The former will let us promote export diversification and provide alternatives to drug crop production in the Andean region; the latter assists developing countries as they move away from dependency on foreign aid.

We're trying to spur economic growth and reform in parts of the world which have historically lagged behind -- so we now have an African Growth and Opportunity Act and an enhanced Caribbean Basin Initiative.

And we will be meeting with other members of the World Trade Organization to try to find consensus on an agenda for launching a new round of talks, one which will expand world trade and help ignite a new era of global growth.

So, opening markets, advocating sound free market economic policies, increasing transparency and accountability, adhering to the rule of law -- these goals remain as important to us today as they were before September 11.

In addition, we are finding new ways to support our friends and deter our adversaries by more effectively targeting economic and financial sanctions and by rethinking how we can best use economic assistance.

And in the meantime, we also continue with a wide-ranging menu of other activities:

-- Transportation: We've negotiated 55 open skies agreements, including the first multilateral open skies agreement, and a number of other arrangements which have significantly liberalized international aviation markets. Since September 11 alone, we have concluded open skies agreements with France, a major aviation partner, as well as with Oman and Qatar in the Gulf. At the same time, we are working in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to enhance aviation safety oversight and aviation security worldwide. Two weeks ago, the United States along with 169 ICAO contracting states adopted a resolution condemning the acts of terrorism committed on September 11, and provided for urgent action in ICAO to enhance aviation security around the world. We're undertaking a similar cooperative effort on maritime security through the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

-- Agricultural Biotechnology: We are working internationally to promote a science- and rules-based approach to biotech foods and food safety, ensure maximum use of this technology, and realize the potential of bio-engineered foods to help address the needs of the 800 million undernourished people in the world.

-- Energy: We are looking at ways to work with other countries to strengthen the security and reliability of energy supplies and to minimize volatility in pricing.

-- In a host of other areas as well, we are moving to dismantle barriers, encourage protections for IPR, combat unfair trade practices, and help developing countries access the international trading system.

That's quite a list and perhaps I should stop right there. I look forward now to hearing from you on what we can do together to move this agenda forward successfully.

[end]


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