Remarks at National Center for APEC Luncheon

Antony J. Blinken
Deputy Secretary of State
Manila, Philippines
November 16, 2015

Thank you, Scott, for your very thoughtful to reference the terrible events in Paris. The world’s attention is very much focused there today and in the days ahead, but I think unfortunately it illustrates an increasingly global challenge that all of us have to confront in different ways, doing a lot of work here in Asia as well on confronting the challenge of violent extremism and we are grateful for the partnership we’ve developed.

But on a much happier note, Scott I want to thank you and Monica, and especially everyone here today. The role you play in APEC—the leadership that you provide—is an indispensable force for progress, for innovation, and prosperity in this region and indeed in the world beyond.

I think we all know that sustainable, inclusive growth is not just a matter of starting a new business or expanding an enterprise.

There has to be a virtuous cycle between the public and private sectors—where innovators and entrepreneurs provide the ideas and the products that drive trade and spur growth. And government provides the regulatory and legal framework that supports industry and ensures all participants—however big, however small—benefit from a fair and level playing field.

Innovation, entrepreneurship, trade, and job creation – they thrive in an open investment environment with transparent and predictable regulations—where the rule of law works for everyone.

But we also know that this virtuous cycle doesn’t happen automatically.

It requires constant tending and constant care.

And indeed it requires that all of you—leading figures who represent a uniquely important community, serve as a bridge between our countries and between our economies.

And it requires APEC—the premier organization in the region for advancing free and open trade, as well as accelerating progress towards our shared goals of fighting climate change, strengthening community resilience to disasters, combating corruption, empowering women entrepreneurs, and energizing truly inclusive growth – that APEC continue to fulfill its extraordinary potential.

I think we’ve seen the manifestation of that potential The Trans-Pacific Partnership—which has its roots here in APEC— and is a recent testament to everything that we can achieve together.

Thanks to the leadership and hard work of Ambassador Froman and his team, and teams from some of the other countries, we can say that TPP is exactly what we set it out to be: a comprehensive, high-standard agreement that delivers for all of our citizens and advances our strategic interests here in the Asia-Pacific.

TPP is not only a state-of-the-art agreement. It is a strategic opportunity for United States and for the region. By bringing 40 percent of the global economy behind high standards on labor, the environment, and intellectual property, we are promoting a race to the top to more inclusive, sustainable growth.

It also represents something very powerful, and that is the enduring commitment of the United States to this region—one that is driven by more than the temporary alignment of interests or security imperatives. It is a commitment anchored by our shared principles, our common values, and the rich connections among all of our people.

Seen in the pace of high-level diplomacy, in the enthusiasm of our business community, in the bedrock certainty of our security partnerships, America’s strategic rebalance to the region over the last seven years is clear and it is bearing fruit.

Together—as Pacific nations—we have continued to strengthen an open, rules-based architecture that deepens the prosperity of all of our economies and improves the well-being of all of our citizens far into the future.

So, we’re very grateful for your partnership. We look forward to seeing what more we can do together to pioneer new horizons and open new doors of opportunity. There is an extraordinary record of success and achievement through APEC to build on, and all of you in this room are playing a vital role in doing that.

It’s now my great pleasure to turn over this podium over to a colleague and good friend of many years, the United States Trade Representative Mike Froman.

Thank you very much.