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

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.

    More Americas News

    Russian Orthodox Patriarch En Route to Cuba for Historic Meeting

    Patriarch Kirill, will both a state visit to Cuban president and hold a historic meeting with Pope Francis

    Research Strengthens Link Between Zika, Birth Defects

    Findings may be most compelling evidence yet that birth defects associated Zika may be caused by replication of the virus in the brain

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Worldwide cooperation, communication crucial in efforts to contain and control future viral outbreaks, experts say

    Power Rationing Forces Cuts in Hours at Venezuelan Malls

    Shopping centers told to generate own electricity in early afternoon, evening hours; move follows drought that hit hydroelectric generating systems

    In Cuba, Racial Inequality Deepens With Tourism Boom

    As capitalism creeps in more than 60 years after revolution that promised social equality, local residents, analysts concerned about gap between haves and have nots

    Video WFP: 3.6 Million Haitians Face Food Insecurity

    Half of Haiti's population works in agriculture; Around 75 percent live on less than $2 per day