Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice delivered a great speech yesterday at the APEC Summit in Vietnam that she is attending with the President. Folks often forget how inextricably trade is tied to our foreign policy and our export of democracy and prosperity around the world. Years ago, Rice’s predecessor Colin Powell spoke to the NAM Board less than two months after 9/11 and delivered a similar message. He said then:
“And so clearly trade is a success story, a two-way success story, and continued growth is essential to the continuing health of our economy. However, the case for America’s economic engagement with the world goes well beyond these direct benefits to the American economy, important as those benefits are. Our economic engagement with the rest of the world is an important part of our effort to maintain the secure international environment within which Americans and American businesses prosper. It helps spread to others the benefits that we ourselves enjoy.”
Rice’s remarks are no different, laying out her vision for APEC. She says:
“Today, I would like to share America’s vision for APEC with you. It is a vision that transcends simple cooperation, and looks to the emergence of a true Asia-Pacific Economic Community, spanning the public sphere and the private sector. I see several principles that must define that sense of community.
We must create opportunities for sustainable growth. There is simply no better way to achieve this goal than free trade, and the United States has a comprehensive trade policy in the Asia-Pacific.
Our trade policy priority is to successfully conclude the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. At the same time, we are actively working to advance free trade with all willing partners, especially here in the region. At present, more than 50 preferential trade arrangements are completed or still under negotiation in the Asia-Pacific.” (Emphasis ours)
In any event, it’s a great speech, and some interesting Q & A at the end as well. Here’s a link to the full transcript, a reminder once again that free trade is good for US manufacturers, and good for the rest of the world.
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