Wednesday, March 28, 2012

U.S. Commits to Strengthening Asia-Pacific Economic Ties
By MacKenzie C. Babb
Staff Writer
Washington - The United States' economic partnership with the Asia-Pacific region is "generating benefits for all sides" and will continue to be a top priority for President Obama's administration, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez said March 26 that the U.S.-Asia-Pacific relationship offers a series of "win-win partnerships."
"This means jobs and growth for the American economy. In turn, U.S. products and services are helping to fuel the economic development in the Asia Pacific," Sánchez told the 25th annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook Conference in Los Angeles.
"And all of us ... are committed to keeping the U.S.-Asia-Pacific partnership growing - both through our words and our work," the undersecretary added.
He said U.S. goods exports to the Asia-Pacific totaled nearly $900 billion in 2011, a 15 percent increase from 2010.
The undersecretary added that exports to the region make up 60 percent of the U.S. goods exports to the world and contribute significantly to Obama's National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 as a way to create jobs, support business and strengthen the global economic recovery.
Sánchez said a new trade deal with South Korea, which took effect March 15, marked an important step toward closer U.S. ties with the Asia-Pacific region.
The deal removes thousands of import tariffs, eliminates nontariff barriers to the trade of goods and services and provides new protections for exporters, investors and intellectual property rights holders, according to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
He said the deal will support at least 70,000 American jobs from increased exports alone, with even more jobs potential from the further opening of markets in both countries. Korean economists expect the agreement to boost South Korea's gross domestic product by 0.6 percent while creating an estimated 270,000 new jobs in the services sector, 79,000 jobs in manufacturing and 10,000 in agriculture during the next 10 years.
Sánchez said substantive progress has also been made toward finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a comprehensive trade agreement that aims to enhance trade within the Asia-Pacific in order to support new jobs, strengthen regional relations and eventually create a free-trade area.
But he said the United States must continue to do more to reach the 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside U.S. borders.
"One of the areas with the greatest potential for this work is the Asia-Pacific region," he said. "It represents 55 percent of global GDP and accounts for 44 percent of world trade."
Calling the U.S. relationship with the Asia-Pacific "critical, especially at this moment in time," he said the United States government remains committed to pursuing closer ties with the region through business, trade and investment to support shared economic recovery and growth.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs,) 

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