Sunday, November 13, 2011

DTN News - APEC SUMMIT IN HONOLULU: Asia-Pacific Region Critical To US Economic Recovery Says Obama

DTN News - APEC SUMMIT IN HONOLULU: Asia-Pacific Region Critical To US Economic Recovery Says Obama
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - November 13, 2011: In the Pacific state of Hawaii, U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday told leaders of the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation economies that the region will be key to U.S. economic recovery.
With much of the formal summit activity, including a working lunch, concentrated over a few hours, Mr. Obama underscored the importance of APEC's trade liberalization priorities for the global economy and the United States.
Addressing the opening session, the president said the nearly three billion people in 21 APEC countries are looking to the three-decade-old organization to create opportunities through expanded trade that will boost economic growth and create jobs.
APEC's goals of slashing tariffs and removing trade barriers, Mr. Obama said, are critical for the U.S. economic recovery. "The Asia-Pacific region is absolutely critical to America's economic growth. We consider it a top priority. And we consider it a top priority because we are not going to be able to put our folks back to work and grow our economy and expand opportunity, unless the Asia-Pacific region is also successful," he said.
Mr. Obama said the region is key to his objective of doubling U.S. exports, adding that APEC economies need to work together to spur "quicker, sturdy and sustainable" economic growth.
A final APEC statement is expected to point to progress toward creating what Mr. Obama referred to as a "seamless regional economy," with agreements aimed at boosting trade and investment by promoting "green" jobs, innovation, and streamlining and coordinating regulations.
The United States and eight other APEC nations already have announced agreement on "broad outlines" to create a new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade group, or TPP, that Mr. Obama says would be a model for broader open regional trade.
In addition to the United States, other TPP participants include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. China has been critical of the grouping, saying it reflects protectionist tendencies in APEC.
U.S. officials say Mr. Obama was expected to hold additional talks on the sidelines of the summit with Chinese President Hu Jintao. In their main meeting on Saturday, the two men discussed trade and differences over China's currency policies.
The issue of Iran's nuclear program and a recent International Atomic Energy Agency report that provided evidence of secret Iranian weapons development efforts have also been a focus of Mr. Obama's meetings with the leaders of China and Russia.
U.S. officials say China and Russia remain supportive of continuing diplomatic steps aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Mr. Obama says that he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to work to "shape a common response" on Iran against the backdrop of the nuclear report. U.S. officials say consultations will continue about the next steps to increase pressure on Tehran.
APEC Related Images;
APEC Related News;

Japan PM Pledges Fiscal Reform At APEC, Says To Join TPP Talks

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Business Times (subscription) - ‎3 hours ago‎
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Reuters - ‎12 hours ago‎
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Bernama - ‎21 hours ago‎
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MarketWatch (press release) - ‎21 hours ago‎
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Globe and Mail - ‎21 hours ago‎
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TVNZ - ‎22 hours ago‎
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Reuters Canada - ‎Nov 12, 2011‎
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Baltimore Sun - ‎Nov 12, 2011‎
HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and eight other leaders said on Saturday they have made good progress on a groundbreaking pan-Pacific trade deal and expected to finish in 2012. "Our nine nations have reached the broad outlines of an ...

Leaders eye final Trans-Pacific deal in 2012

Reuters - ‎Nov 12, 2011‎
US President Barack Obama pauses next to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 12, 2011. By Laura MacInnis and Emily Kaiser HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and eight other leaders said ...

Mexico and Canada show interest in trans-Pacific trade pact

Malaysia Star - ‎Nov 12, 2011‎
HONOLULU: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gained momentum when Mexico and Canada expressed their interest to join the pact. Their interest to join the new free trade deal was made known after Japan officially announced its decision yesterday of its ...
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DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. To Build Up Military Base In Darwin To Counter Growing Chinese Influence

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: U.S. To Build Up Military Base In Darwin To Counter Growing Chinese Influence
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada, November 13, 2011: President Barack Obama will announce an accord for a new and permanent U.S. military presence in Australia when he visits next week, a step aimed at countering China's influence and reasserting U.S. interest in the region, said people
familiar with his plans.
The agreement will lead to an increase in U.S. naval operations off the coast of Australia and give American troops and ships "permanent and constant" access to Australian facilities, the people said. While no new American bases will be built under the plan, the arrangement will allow U.S. forces to place equipment in Australia and set up more joint exercises, they said.
The move could help the U.S. military, now concentrated in Japan and South Korea in Northeast Asia, to spread its influence west and south across the region, including the strategically and economically important South China Sea, which China considers as its sovereign territory.
It was unclear how much the new presence would cost the Pentagon, which is facing years and hundreds of billion dollars in spending cuts.
But the expanded military presence is designed as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to the region, part of an effort to refocus on Asia as the U.S. withdraws from Iraq and draws its forces down in Afghanistan, officials in both countries said.
"It will demonstrate U.S. resolve, not just for Australia, but in the region," Maj. Gen. Tim McOwan, the Australian defense attaché in Washington, said in an interview this week.
At a daily press briefing on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Chinese officials "hope relevant countries' bilateral cooperation will be conducive to the Asia-Pacific region's security, peace and stability."
The strategy comes weeks after China sent its first its first aircraft carrier to sea, a defining moment in its effort to become a top-tier naval power that seeks to challenge U.S. military supremacy in Asia and protect Chinese economic interests that now span the globe.
Several Asian nations, fearful of the threat China poses, also are beefing up their arsenals, fearing that the U.S. security umbrella is being eroded by China's enhanced capabilities and possible U.S. defense cuts.
One base slated for the stepped-up American presence is in Darwin, on the country's north coast. Other locations are possible, including one near Perth, on the west coast, one person said.
"Strategically, we want to be able to reassure the rest of Asia that the American presence is still strong in the 21st century as China develops its force," said Ernie Bower, director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
Officials declined to detail how many new troops or sailors would be part of the U.S. effort, or how many ships would be stationed in the area, ahead of Mr. Obama's announcement next week. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, while traveling throughout the region last month, vowed an expansion in U.S. influence, but also declined to specify costs or force sizes.
An administration official said the stepped-up presence will be phased in over several years under the agreement. The deal isn't yet final and details could change.
On his trip, Mr. Obama will mark the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australian alliance with a speech to Parliament and a visit to a military base in Darwin, where he and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard will jointly address Australian troops.
Neither leader is expected to characterize the move as directly confronting the Chinese. But U.S. officials said one of the goals of Mr. Obama's Asia trip is to clarify free access to the South China Sea.
Mr. Panetta, after a meeting with the Australians in September, said that enhanced military cooperation would counter "threats and challenges" to come. "Security and prosperity of our two great nations depends on the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
The full range of U.S. naval ships is expected to rotate through the joint facilities, stopping for exercises as well as repairs and other shore work. Naval aircraft also will have access to a base in Darwin.
The increased U.S. presence will be a rotating force, one person said. In September, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the enhance cooperation would be "more ships in, ships out; more planes in, planes out; more troops in, troops out."
Gen. McOwan, the defense attaché, said the increase in U.S. naval operations will send a message to the Chinese that the U.S. is committed to defending the security of regional sea and air trade routes. The stepped-up American presence will reassure Australia and well as other countries in the region that the U.S. is engaged at a time when Chinese intentions are uncertain, he said.
Still, Gen. McOwan added that the American commitments Mr. Obama plans to announce are "not going to frighten the Chinese."
"It's more symbolic than real," he said.
—Julian E. Barnes,
Brian Spegele
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