A prosperous and open Asia/Pacific is key to the economic health of the United States. Thirty percent of U.S. exports go to Asia, supporting millions of U.S. jobs, and we export more to Asia than Europe. The economic benefits of a strong Asia/Pacific are likely to increase as China and Taiwan enter into the WTO. Our historic decision to grant Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China will enable U.S. businesses to expand into China under a rules-based trading regime.
Our economic objectives in the region include the following: continuing recovery from the financial crisis; furthering progress within APEC toward liberalizing trade and investment; increasing U.S. exports to Asia/Pacific countries through market-opening measures and leveling the playing field for U.S. business; and concluding the WTO accession negotiations for the PRC and Taiwan on satisfactory commercial terms.
Our strategy to meet these objectives has four key elements: support for economic reforms and market liberalization; working with international financial institutions to provide well-targeted economic and technical assistance in support of economic reforms; providing bilateral humanitarian aid and contingency bilateral financial assistance if needed; and urging strong policy actions by Japan and the other major economic powers to promote global growth.
The United States will continue to work with the IMF, the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the governments in the region, and the private sector to strengthen financial markets, bolster investor confidence, and deepen on-going reforms in the region’s economies. In doing so, we will remain mindful of the need to promote protection of worker rights. We will continue to encourage South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia to implement economic reforms to lay a solid basis for long-term economic growth. U.S. initiatives in APEC will open new opportunities for economic cooperation and permit U.S. companies to expand their involvement in substantial infrastructure planning and construction throughout the region. We will continue our efforts to encourage all Asia Pacific nations to pursue open markets.
Integrating the PRC more fully into the global trading system is manifestly in our national interest. China is a major potential market for our goods and services. Our exports to China already support hundreds of thousands of jobs across our country and China’s WTO entry will significantly expand that number.
An important part of integrating China into the market-based world economic system is opening China’s highly protected market through elimination of trade barriers and removal of distorting restraints on economic activity. We have negotiated and vigorously enforced landmark agreements to combat piracy of intellectual property and advance the interests of our creative industries. We have also negotiated — and vigorously enforced — agreements on textile trade. We will continue to press China to open its markets as it engages in sweeping economic reform, and to respect and adhere to core labor standards as codified by the ILO. Most recently, the United States reached a market access agreement with China, paving the way for China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. The bilateral agreement concluded in November 1999 will create jobs and opportunities for Americans through the opening of Chinese markets, promote economic reform in China, and enhance the understanding of the Chinese people of the rule of law in the development of their domestic civil society in compliance with international obligations. We are now working with other Working Party members to complete the multilateral negotiation of China’s WTO accession. Our enactment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China will accelerate and expand these favorable trends.
Japan has a crucial role to play in Asia’s economic health: generating substantial growth to help maintain a growing world economy and absorb a growing share of imports from emerging markets We have urged Japan to reform its financial sector, stimulate domestic demand, deregulate its economy, and further open its markets to foreign goods and services. The Administration continues to make progress on increasing market access in Asia’s largest economy. Since the beginning of the first Clinton Administration, the United States and Japan have reached 39 trade agreements designed to open Japanese markets in such key sectors as autos and auto parts, civil aviation, and insurance. In the Enhanced Initiative on Deregulation, Japan agreed to regulatory reforms to promote domestic demand-led growth and also to increase business opportunities for U.S. firms in such vital areas as telecommunications, competition policy enforcement, and medical/pharmaceutical products. Through the Foreign Direct Investment Initiative, Japan agreed to measures to improve the environment for foreign investment. As a result, U.S. firms are increasing their presence in the Japanese market by acquiring Japanese firms, and are thereby contributing to Japan’s economic recovery. The Administration also has intensified efforts to monitor and enforce trade agreements with Japan to ensure that they are fully implemented. The United States also uses multilateral venues, such as WTO dispute settlement and negotiation of new multilateral agreements, to further open markets and accomplish our trade objectives with Japan. The U.S.-Japan Common Agenda is a bilateral U.S.-Japan program coordinating scientific and financial resources of the world’s two largest economies on more than seventy projects worldwide. The projects focus on eradicating infectious disease, protecting the environment, and promoting scientific and technological cooperation.
Republic of Korea
The United States will continue its strong support for South Korean efforts to reform its economy, liberalize trade and investment, strengthen the banking system, and implement the IMF program. We will also continue to explore concrete steps to promote growth in both our countries, more fully open our markets, and further integrate the Republic of Korea into the global economy.
Southeast Asia and the Pacific
The United States strongly supports efforts to sustain and strengthen economic recovery in the ten nations of ASEAN. We accomplish this by maintaining our open market for Southeast Asian goods and services as well as our support for IMF-led recovery programs for several ASEAN nations. There are challenges ahead. Thailand’s economic recovery is continuing, however, high oil prices and the slow pace of banking and corporate sector reforms are impeding Thailand’s full economic recovery from the financial crisis. Thais are preparing for elections in January 2001. The survival and vindication of Thailand’s new constitution would reflect well on the future of democracy in Southeast Asia, but the Thais worry about political stability ahead. In Indonesia, slow progress on corporate and financial sector restructuring endangers economic recovery. Rapid sale of assets held by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) is the key to alleviating the large public debt burden and improving investor sentiment. IBRA has begun to