U.S. International Energy Diplomacy, Security and ChallengesDaniel Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
Remarks at the Harvard Club
New York, NY
September 24, 2008
As Prepared for Delivery
The Leaders called for the U.S. Congress to pass the Colombia and Panama FTAs. Doing so will benefit not only those countries, but all countries in the region by increasing stability and economic development. Additionally, passing the FTAs makes economic and foreign policy sense for the United States – not only will we help our friends in the region, but we will reduce barriers to U.S. exports.
Trade has been a positive story for the U.S. economy. In the most recent four quarters (second quarter 2007 to second quarter 2008), export expansion alone has accounted for almost two-thirds (62.6%) of the overall GDP growth (2.2%). That is an increase from the nearly half (45.5%) of GDP growth (1.8%) attributable to export expansion in the preceding four quarters. We believe that we should build on this success.
The Leaders also took the opportunity to launch the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas initiative, an association of free trade agreement partners in the Western Hemisphere focused on ensuring that the benefits of trade are broadly shared throughout our societies. Pathways is an association of countries in the Western Hemisphere focused on ensuring that the benefits of trade are broadly shared throughout our societies and increasing cooperation on trade and development.
To achieve this goal, while complementing existing economic integration initiatives, Pathways members will work jointly to: (1) increase opportunities for our citizens, particularly small businesses and farmers, to take advantage of trade through trade capacity building, and other initiatives; (2) promote and deepen an open architecture for regional trade consistent with the global trading system; (3) expand regional cooperation on economic development; (4) enhance cooperation and exchange best practices on labor and environmental standards and enforcement; and (5) engage the private sector and civil society to advance these objectives.
We believe Pathways will become a valuable tool for its members, each of which has demonstrated a strong commitment to increasing the opportunities for all of its citizens to fulfill their economic potential and aspirations. Ministers will meet before the end of the year to ensure that the Leaders words are directed into concrete actions.
U.S International Energy Diplomacy
Our country is both a large energy consumer and a large energy producer. The U.S. is rich in natural gas, in coal, in commodities like corn, and now in ethanol. As important, we are the world’s leading technological innovator. These are all experiences that we draw from in forging our energy diplomacy. And this means the United States Government is uniquely positioned to lead the dialogue between energy producing and consuming nations. And we are leading.
U.S. International Energy Security
This strategy has been greatly advanced by the bipartisan passage of the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007, which increases auto efficiency by 40% in the years ahead (2022), increases the sustainable use of biofuels, and which increases energy efficiency standards in our homes and buildings.
Our strategy employs every tool at our disposal: diplomatic engagements, including bilateral and regional activities with allies, producers, consumers, and NGOs. The U.S. leads and actively participates in multinational institutions, like the International Energy Agency (IEA), and initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which seeks to improve good governance in developing world energy producing states.
Brazil and Alternative Fuels
Here in North America, we are hard at work to promote greater energy integration and to strengthen cross border energy trade with our largest energy partner, Canada. We have a strategic dialogue with Canada called the Energy Consultative Mechanism. Its purpose is to make sure our two governments take full advantage of the largest cross border energy relationship in the world. Canada holds vast heavy oil reserves which are already a key component of regional energy security, and we are engaged with Canada as they work to increase the sustainable production of these reserves. Similarly, the state of Alaska holds vast reserves of untapped natural gas that could significantly bolster our energy security. We are working closely with our Canadian counterparts to assure that the diplomatic infrastructure is in place to support the physical infrastructure that will move these reserves into the North American marketplace.
Europe and Eurasia
China and India
We are deeply engaged in a formal Strategic Economic Dialogue with China —and are in broader energy dialogues with China and India. The U.S. government has eleven different cooperative mechanisms that include China, all aimed at encouraging the adoption of market-friendly energy policies, the rapid uptake of clean energy technologies, and a responsible approach to the development of upstream oil resources. The main thrust of these talks is to encourage China and other emerging consumers to recognize that they are now stakeholders in the system, not apart from it, and unilateral efforts to guarantee energy security, like buying into upstream oil assets, are ultimately self-defeating.
Our dialogue with India also focuses on ways to promote commercial deployment of clean-coal technologies, energy efficiency, renewable energy, oil and gas development, and demand-side management. We believe that this agenda will contribute to sustained economic growth through increased energy production and efficiency, while strengthening efforts to manage GHG emissions to safeguard the environment.
International Energy Agency Diplomacy
The Bush Administration has made deepening economic engagement in the Hemisphere a top foreign policy priority, as the President’s event today at the Council of the Americas demonstrated so well. Our Free Trade Agreements, our aviation liberalization agreements, our Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts, and our broader economic dialogue with major emerging economies are helping to lay an economic foundation that will advance our mutual economic, energy and foreign policy interests. Congressional approval of our outstanding FTA agreements would further advance these efforts. We will continue our vigorous engagement on energy, and welcome the important debate taking place here and across the world.
Released on September 26, 2008