The United States is working towards the establishment of a Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned there is much work — and much more time — needed to forge broader trade alliances.
Trade alliances need more time, work, Clinton says
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She compared APEC’s goals to the lengthy creation of a trans-Atlantic alliance with Europe.
"When you look back and think about the countless meetings, the endless discussions, the never-ending kinds of negotiations that took place over many years to establish the trans-Atlantic architecture, we expect the same on the trans-Pacific architecture," Clinton said today at an afternoon press conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.
"So I think we’re making progress, and it’s a long-term commitment," she added.
Clinton said APEC discussions have focused on growth and jobs, regulatory reform and competitiveness, energy efficiency and security, as well as accountable government and handling large-scale disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding.
"We think these are evergreen issues — not issues that are here today and gone tomorrow," Clinton said. "They are issues that require consistent, persistent, patient work."
The United States is exploring new ways to enhance trade through efforts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could include 10 nations, including Japan.
The free trade agreement "is, we think, moving quite well in the right direction," Clinton said.
"We’re improving regulatory quality and transparency, and we think if you look at the steady progress that has been made on these issues, that’s a great story to tell," Clinton said.
"At the same time, we’re trying to promote environmentally sustainable growth, green industries, new opportunities to secure energy efficiency and energy security, and that, too, is an ongoing commitment," she said.