Remarks at Techport Australia
Secretary of State
Thank you. First, let me say what a great pleasure it is to visit Adelaide and South Australia for the first time. I'm proud to be the first Secretary of State ever to do so. And the others did not know what they were missing. Adelaide is, from our perspective, one of the great, critical industrial centers in the world, the heart of Australia's defense manufacturing, and a place where American and Australian companies work in close partnership every day.
This city, this place showcases two of the strongest elements of the U.S.-Australia relationship: our security alliance, and our economic ties. I want to thank Rod Equid and AWD Alliance for hosting us. I want to thank Senator Wang, Penny, thank you for being here, back home for you. And I want to thank the Premier. Premier Weatherill has been a very great visionary when it comes to understanding the partnership, the public-private partnership that is essential for advanced manufacturing to be successful, not only here in Australia, but around the world.
Techport, this world-class maritime industrial hub is where you can see the future of the Royal Australian Navy being built, including the next generation of Air Warfare Destroyers. Now, this work is obviously critical to Australia's continued defense, your ability to provide security for yourselves and throughout the region, and to maintain and advance your role as a global force for peace and stability.
Now, these are goals that the United States shares with Australia, and we are deeply committed to your continued security. We are proud to work with Australia across a range of regional and global security challenges, including standing shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan and fighting piracy together in the Horn of Africa. So I am greatly impressed by the work being done here to keep Australia strong at home and abroad and very proud of the role that American companies are playing in this effort.
In 2011 alone, U.S. military sales to Australia came to nearly $4 billion making Australia one of our top defense trading partners. And that partnership just received a major boost. Your parliament passed the bill to implement the Defense, Trade, and Cooperation Treaty between our two countries, which the Governor-General assented to this week.
Our leaders signed this treaty back in 2007. The United States Senate passed it in 2010, and now that it has passed your parliament, U.S. and Australian forces will be able to cooperate even more closely and swiftly for our mutual defense. They will be building on a strong foundation. American defense manufacturers are helping to modernize Australia's defense forces through programs like the Joint Strike Fighter project, the Growler upgrades to your Super Hornets, Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, C-17 and C-27 transport aircraft, MH-60 helicopters for your navy, and the AEGIS weapons systems for you new Air Warfare Destroyers built right here.
But this is a two-way street, because Australian defense manufacturers in turn are contributing to our U.S. defense projects. I just saw the turrets that are manufactured and then exported to the United States for us to be using in our defense. We're also working with you and getting your help in our littoral combat ships. So this is a mutual partnership where we both look out for each other, and we both benefit.
But I want to emphasize that all the work happening here at Techport Australia and at other manufacturing hubs across both our countries is not only about defense and security as important as that is. It's about jobs. It's about trade and investment. It's about putting people to work, and I see some of the high-skilled workers here in front of me.
Now, this economic relationship is just as vital to both of our nations' continued strength as our defense partnership, because in today's world, power is increasingly measured and exercised in economic terms. So it is critical that Australia and the United States keep seeking every opportunity to increase trade and investment between us, to build economic partnerships, to share innovation and technological advances so we can continue not only to lead in the global economy, but more importantly to provide a rising standard of living to the hardworking people in both our countries.
We're on the right path. Since the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement entered into force seven years ago, bilateral trade and investment between our countries has steadily increased, and we're very proud to be Australia's third largest trade partner and your leading investment partner. Now, sometimes it may not always be reflected in the press, but American investment is the biggest source of investment in Australia.
American firms have $136 billion in direct investment in Australia ranging across many industries, including Chevron's gas projects off the cost of Western Australia, and I heard a lot about that in Perth yesterday, or the IBM data centers across Australia, or Boeing, GE, Citigroup, Exxon Mobile, dozens of other American companies whose names I have seen both here in Adelaide and in Perth and of course in Melbourne and Sydney and Canberra on previous visits.
Australia is also a growing market for growing exports even as we welcome more trade from you. In fact, our exports to Australia jumped more than 40 percent between 2009 and 2011 raising from under 20 billion to more than 27 billion, and in the first nine months of this year, they're up another 20 percent. President Obama set a goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years, and we've seen extraordinary progress in our relationship with Australia.
So it's fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.
That's key, because we know from experience, and of course research proves it, that respecting workers' rights leads to positive long-term economic outcomes, better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions. And including everybody in that, those who have been previously left out of the formal economy will help build a strong middle class, not only here in Australia or in our country, but across Asia. And that will be good for us.
If we do this right, and that's what we're trying to do, then globalization, which is inevitable, can become a race to the top with rising standards of living and more broadly shared prosperity. Now, this is what I call jobs diplomacy, and that's what I've been focused on in part as Secretary of State. And that's one of the reasons that I wanted to come here to Adelaide and come to this impressive facility.
But for me, and I think for most Americans, it's not only about security, and it's not only about our economy. So let me close with a word about our alliance. These last three days have reinforced for me the indispensability of the U.S.-Australia partnership, indispensible to our shared prosperity, yes, and to our shared security for sure, but also indispensible for our shared values. We are cooperating everywhere together, in businesses, in shipbuilding, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the atolls of the Pacific to the thriving cities of Asia.
But I know there are some who present a false choice, that Australia needs to choose between its longstanding ties to the United States and its emerging links with China. Well, that kind of zero-sum thinking only leads to negative-sum results. We support Australia having strong, multifaceted ties with every nation in the Asia Pacific, indeed in the world, including China just as we seek the same. And I have said repeatedly the Pacific is big enough for all of us.
But for both of us, the U.S.-Australia alliance is not a matter of calculation or cost-benefit analysis, though the benefits are clear. It is much deeper than that. It is in our DNA. It is rooted in shared history and shared struggles to overcome adversity and build a better future for ourselves, our families, and future generations. We are not fair-weather friends. We've been there for each other for decades, and we will keep being there to deliver greater security, greater prosperity, greater opportunity, and the chance for all Australians and Americans alike to live up to our God-given potential in this, the Pacific century. God bless you. And God bless Australia and our relationship forever. Thank you. (Applause.)