News / Americas

Obama Closes APEC, Cites Progress Toward 'Seamless' Economic Zone

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at his news conference at the conclusion of the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 13, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at his news conference at the conclusion of the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 13, 2011.

U.S. President Barack Obama has closed the summit in his home state of Hawaii of the 21 member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.  APEC agreed on steps aimed at boosting growth and simplifying trade. Mr. Obama also discussed bilateral issues with China and Iran's controversial nuclear program.

A U.S. statement said leaders agreed on a comprehensive set of measures designed to increase growth, create jobs and expand trade and investment in a region representing more than half of the world's economic output and 44 percent of world trade.

APEC commits to enhance market-driven innovation policies, reduce or eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in environmental goods and services, and take steps to help businesses through regulatory reforms.

Related video report by Mike O'Sullivan

President Obama again drew a link between the U.S. economic recovery and the Pacific, saying the region is the key to America's future.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers are beyond our borders.  I want them to be buying goods with three word stamped on them:  Made in America.  So I have been doing everything I can to make sure that the U.S. is competing aggressively for the jobs and the markets of the future," Mr. Obama said.

Other decisions include steps to ease travel, reduce tariffs on so-called environmental goods and services, encourage so-called "green" jobs, and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

With China objecting, the United States and eight other APEC economies committed in Honolulu to finalize a new free trade zone called the Trans-Pacific Partnership by next year. 

The summit came amid ongoing global anxiety about Europe's ability to resolve the debt crisis affecting such nations as Greece and Italy.

Mr. Obama said the ultimate goal for APEC is to create a "seamless regional economy," saying the U.S. needs to be an aggressive competitor in the region. "If we are not playing out here in the world's largest regional economy and the world's fastest ((growing)) regional economy, if we have abandoned the field and we are not engaged, American businesses will lose out and those jobs won't be in the United States of America," he said.

Mr. Obama again called on China to change policies he said disadvantage the U.S. and other trading partners, allow further appreciation of its currency and move toward a more domestic demand-oriented economy.  

He also faced questions about the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report that provided evidence of secret Iranian nuclear weapons development efforts.

The U.S., China and Russia, Mr. Obama said, are united on this major objective.

"All three of us entirely agree on the objective, which is making sure that Iran does not weaponize nuclear power and that we don't trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.  That is in the interests of all of us," Obama said.

Mr. Obama said they will be consulting closely in coming weeks on other "available options" building on existing sanctions.  He said the U.S. takes no options off the table but will pursue "every avenue" for a negotiated solution.

The president also used the news conference to urge Democrats and Republicans on a special U.S. deficit committee to "move off rigid positions" and reach an agreement by November 23rd on at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.

He said he hopes they will "do what needs to be done," adding he is prepared to sign balanced fair legislation that spreads sacrifice, including asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a bit more to help address U.S. deficit problems.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Video US, Cuba Make Progress in Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Friday's session focuses solely on opening embassies in Washington and Havana as quickly as possible
More

Mexico Arrests Drug Lord 'La Tuta'

Mexican federal police captured Knights Templar drug cartel leader Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez, one of the country's most wanted fugitives
More

Embassy Reopenings Top Americans' List in Cuba Talks

Cuba has said it will be linking embassy issue to whether US drops it from State Department's list of sponsors of terrorism
More

Argentina Passes Bill to Revamp Spy Agency After Prosecutor's Death

President Cristina Fernandez says new state security body will be more accountable but government opponents say legislation does little more than change name of spy agency
More

US, Cuba Set for 2nd Round of Talks on Diplomatic Ties

Negotiations in Washington, which follow initial meeting in Havana in January, to include discussion on reopening embassies
More

Obama Defends Immigration Plan

During Town Hall at Spanish language station Telemundo in Miami, US president insists he was within his rights to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation
More