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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2005 East Asian and Pacific Affairs Remarks, Testimony, and Speeches

Seizing a Golden Opportunity: Korea's Leadership of APEC 2005

Amb. Lauren Moriarty, U.S. Senior Official for APEC
Remarks to AMCHAM/Federation of Korean Industries
Sapphire Room, Lotte Hotel, Seoul, Korea
January 28, 2005


Thank you very much for your kind introduction. It is a great pleasure to be in Seoul again and to have this opportunity to address such a distinguished group of business executives this morning.

I’d like to thank our sponsors for this event, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Korean Industries. I always take special pleasure in meeting with the business community wherever I travel. Without exception, I come away from my meetings with business leaders such as yourselves better informed about the challenges that companies face and the ways APEC can work to help companies meet those challenges. I look forward to hearing your comments and questions after my brief remarks.

I am in Seoul to attend the U.S.-Korea Business Climate Roundtable next week. While in Seoul, I am taking the opportunity to meet with the esteemed Chair of the APEC Senior Officials, Ambassador Kim Jong-Hoon, and other Korean economic and foreign affairs officials and analysts. Both APEC and bilateral economic issues will be on my agenda. I will also meet with other representatives of the U.S. business community, including the AmCham Board of Governors.

This morning, I would like to: give you a brief overview of APEC, explain why APEC is important to the prosperity and security of the Asia-Pacific region, and say a few words about the high expectations the United States has for APEC in 2005. I’ll offer a few concluding thoughts and then take your questions.


Most of you are probably familiar with APEC, which stands for "Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation." APEC is not an international organization in the same way as the United Nations. It is a forum that brings together 21 developed and developing economies from both sides of the Pacific.

Collectively, these APEC economies account for about 40% of the Earth’s population, almost 50% of world trade, nearly 60% of global GDP, and, by some measures, some 70% of world economic growth in recent years. APEC economies buy two-thirds of U.S. exports and supply the United States with two-thirds of our imports. Historically, APEC's work has focused on facilitating and liberalizing trade and investment and on growth and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2003, APEC leaders recognized that there could be no prosperity without security. They dedicated APEC not only to promoting the prosperity of APEC economies, but also to ensuring the security of the people in the APEC region.

Last year, APEC made good progress in promoting free trade, enhancing security, and combating corruption. With Korea chairing APEC in 2005, I am confident that we will continue to see valuable results that serve the interests of all in the Asia-Pacific region.

Seizing a Golden Opportunity

Korea's chairmanship of APEC also affords tremendous opportunities for the Korean government and Korean people. As host, Korea is well positioned to lead fellow APEC members to concrete results on economic, anti-corruption, and security issues, and to showcase to APEC and the world Korea’s remarkable transformation from a developing to an industrialized country.

To help ensure a successful tenure, I believe any APEC host economy needs to bear in mind four thoughts: start early, lead by example, be forward looking, and use APEC to move the global agenda forward. Let me say a bit more about each of these items.

First, start early. Starting early is the key ingredient in the success of many endeavors. In my experience, APEC is no exception. Identifying goals, developing plans, marshalling resources, and establishing benchmarks to measure progress all take time. Starting early becomes even more of an imperative when chairing a multilateral forum involving 21 economies.

I am pleased to point out that Korea has in fact started early. Korea selected the site for the leaders meeting nearly a year and a half in advance. It established an APEC 2005 website last May. In July, Korea held a brainstorming dialogue to elicit ideas and views of the member economies, academia, and the business community on the substantive agenda for this year. And last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade briefed on APEC to diplomatic corps here in Seoul on Korea's priorities for APEC, meeting dates, venues, organization structure, and logistics.

As the year moves on, and the pace of preparations picks up, senior leaders from government and business will want to make their travel arrangements to attend the official meetings and the CEO summit. Bureaucracies in our home economies are already starting work on the initial priorities we have laid out for 2005. I am certain that Korea will stay head of the curve.

Second, lead by example. There is an old Arab proverb that goes, "an army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep." In short, lead by example. Korea has a wonderful opportunity this year to lead by example, to show by its actions that it can make the change.

Among the initial priorities Korea has identified for 2005 are support for the WTO Doha Development Agenda and promotion of small and medium enterprises. Another focuses on protecting innovation and expanding digital opportunities in the knowledge-based economy. Korea could lead the way for APEC progress in these areas by establishing a track record that other APEC members could look to as a benchmark.

  • For example, a helpful step would be for Korea to reduce early in 2005 its own remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. Such a move would inspire other economies to do the same and signal to other nations that Korea was taking a leadership role to advance trade liberalization.
  • Korea could also increase its regulatory transparency and rely more fully on market-based mechanisms. These steps would make it easier for small and medium businesses in Korea to establish themselves and prosper. Providing a predictable environment with little government intervention beyond the need to correct for market failure helps establish a foundation for further development.
  • Other useful actions would be for Korea to protect innovation by moving forward rapidly to update its intellectual property laws to keep pace with Korea’s high-tech, advanced economy and to strengthen enforcement of those laws. Strong protection and strong enforcement of intellectual property rights help attract high quality direct investment, a key ingredient in any growing modern economy. Korea could be a model for other economies seeking to move up the technology ladder.

These are some of the important areas where Korea could, by its own example, inspire other APEC members and APEC to act.

A third thought as we begin this APEC year is to be forward looking. In life, we walk facing forward, with our eyes on our destination. It makes sense for APEC to follow a similar approach. Focusing on activities that emphasize the past would be like walking backward across a busy street. It would be nice to see how far you had come, but it might not fully prepare you to dodge an oncoming automobile.
Thus, for example, APEC this year will conduct a mid-term review of our progress in reaching the Bogor goals of free and open trade in investment among developed members of APEC by 2010 and by developing members of APEC by 2020. We can be proud that there has been great progress in trade and investment liberalization in the APEC region during the last decade, and that APEC has contributed to that progress. Still after a look backward to see where we’ve come from, we will want to focus most of our attention on looking forward to see how we can accelerate our progress towards free and open trade and investment in the APEC region.

One forward looking goal that could yield benefits to APEC economies and to the world is to achieve last year's commitment by Ministers for all APEC economies to aim to conclude an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by the end of 2005. All but six APEC economies have already concluded an Additional Protocol or an equivalent agreement. The threat posed to our economies and the security of our peoples by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction requires the strongest and most dedicated regional response. Strong IAEA safeguards would help to facilitate the economic benefits of peaceful nuclear cooperation and assure regional economic security.

Similarly, the U.S. looks forward this year to the implementation and capacity building stages that follow the agreements reached last year in APEC on guidelines to control shoulder-launched missiles --MANPADS -- and export control guidelines.

Fourth, Korea has a golden opportunity this year to use APEC to advance the global agenda. APEC can set examples for other organizations to follow. It can use the accumulated experience and expertise of its members to lead the way on global issues.

As the APEC chair, Korea is at the helm of an organization that can influence world events. This is most obviously important with respect to the WTO Doha Round of negotiations.

Hong Kong will host a WTO Ministerial this December just weeks after APEC Ministers and leaders meet here in Korea. In the past, APEC has been important to spurring progress in the WTO. In the fall of 2003, it was the APEC Leaders who helped put the WTO talks back on track after they had derailed at the Cancun Ministerial. In June 2004, APEC Ministers called for the launch of trade facilitation negotiations. That call helped generate the momentum to launch trade facilitation negotiations in Geneva as part of the July framework agreement. Last November, APEC leaders agreed to work with a renewed sense of urgency to help achieve an outcome that will meet the high levels of ambition set for the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. In the run up to December this year, Korea can lead APEC to speak loudly and strongly, in voice and actions, to support progress on the Doha Development Agenda negotiations and to speak softly and persuasively with those who need to move more quickly and more boldly. Korea can lead APEC to seize this golden opportunity to make a difference for greater prosperity in the region and the world.


Let me conclude with a few words about APEC and the United States. Among our priorities for APEC in 2005 are support for trade liberalization, especially through progress in the Doha Round, protection of intellectual property rights, implementation of the anti-corruption initiative that Korea, the United States, and Chile co-sponsored last year, and action to implement our security commitments.

The United States considers APEC an important institution in a region of critical importance to the United States and to the world. The decisions and actions that APEC takes contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of a region vitally important to the United States. Work done in APEC complements work carried out in other regional and global fora.

I am confident that Korea will do a great job as chair of APEC 2005. I hope that Korea will choose to lead by example, take a forward-looking approach, and use APEC to advance the global agenda. It is great to work with close friends and partners like Korea on APEC and bilateral issues. Thank you very much.

Released on February 7, 2005

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