Remarks by Vice President Harris at the APEC CEO Summit

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Hotel Athene
Bangkok, Thailand

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Good morning. Sit down, please. Good afternoon. I know we’ve been a little delayed, but thank you very much. And I know it’s been a productive day. And I want –

(Loud sound of dishes slamming.) (Laughter.) It either bodes well or it doesn’t. (Laughs.) Is everyone okay? Yeah? OK.

Well, thank you all for the warm welcome. And to the Thai government, thank you for hosting us and for the outstanding leadership you have provided during your year hosting APEC.

This is my third trip to the Indo-Pacific since taking office as Vice President. Last year I traveled to Singapore and Vietnam. In September, I was in Japan and South Korea. And these trips are in recognition of the critical importance of Southeast Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific to America’s security and prosperity.

Throughout these visits, I have made it clear that the United States is a proud Pacific power and that we have a vital interest in fostering an open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient region.

In the new – in the nearly two years since President Joe Biden and I took office, we have strengthened our alliances and partnerships throughout the Indo-Pacific. We have strengthened our defense and deterrence commitments, as well as our security presence, a longstanding security presence that has allowed the region to develop and prosper for more than 70 years.

The Biden-Harris administration has also joined forces with allies and partners to uphold international rules and norms. And, most importantly, our administration has made significant progress on an ambitious and assertive economic agenda for the region that has already delivered results for individuals, for communities, and for entire economies.

Our message is clear: The United States has an enduring economic commitment to the Indo-Pacific, a commitment that is measured not in years, but in decades and generations. And there is no better economic partner for this region than the United States of America.

The Biden-Harris administration has proven this time and time again, through our actions, our investments, and the principles we stand for every day.

Under our administration, the United States is more engaged in the Indo-Pacific than we have ever been as a nation. We have breathed new energy and leadership into our unrivaled network of global alliances and partnerships.

Under President Biden, we have seen an unprecedented expansion of US-ASEAN ties, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and new initiatives at three leaders’ summits, including last week at Cambodia. In the Pacific Islands, we have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid.

We have expanded our presence on the ground and elevated our commitment to leadership. I attended the Pacific Islands Forum in July of this year, and President Biden convened Pacific leaders in Washington, DC, for a unique summit in September.

Our commitment to the Indo-Pacific also includes newer configurations, such as the Quad. Together, Quad members have pledged $5.2 billion to COVAX and donated 265 million COVID vaccines to the Indo-Pacific, which has saved lives, kept businesses running and recover more quickly from the pandemic.

Throughout these partnerships, we bring significant resources in areas such as electric vehicles, infrastructure, education and entrepreneurship. And last year in Singapore, I announced the United States’ offer to host APEC in 2023.

During our welcoming year, we will build on the strong foundations that Thailand has established for sustainable economic growth. And to that end, we look forward to partnering with all of you here over the coming months.

In a further demonstration of our enduring commitment and our economic commitment, the Biden-Harris administration is pioneering new models of economic cooperation that will strengthen our long-term economic footprint.
With Australia and Japan, we are financing new telecommunications networks in the Pacific. And we are working to mobilize $2 billion in funding through the Southeast Asia Smart Power Program to decarbonize electricity and these systems across the region.

I believe the private sector will play a vital role in all of this. To bridge the infrastructure gap in the Indo-Pacific, we need your expertise. We need to work with you and the capital you bring to these projects. And we need your innovation, especially in clean energy and digital infrastructure.

In other words, governments cannot do this alone. And in recognition of the impact on global businesses and economies, the Biden-Harris administration is building resilient supply chains. We work through IPEF, Quad and bilateral relationships, including a major supply chain agreement with Thailand just a few months ago.

Over the past year, I have brought together business leaders in Singapore, Tokyo and the United States to advance our work on supply chains. And I know you all agree: the public and private sectors need to work hand in hand on this.

And the impact is clear. Working with businesses, our administration is leading work across the region to develop early warning systems and diversify suppliers.

As a strong partner to Indo-Pacific economies and businesses, the US approach to these relationships is based on collaboration, sustainability, transparency and fairness.

Through all our efforts, we will continue to uphold and strengthen international economic rules and norms that protect a free market and create predictability and stability, which, of course, is essential to protect businesses from arbitrary interference, protect nations against economic coercion, and protect workers’ rights.

Furthermore, we oppose market distortions and unfair competitive advantages. And we prioritize inclusivity.

We also know that economies will reach their full potential when all segments of a society can fully participate.

The United States adheres to these values ​​and principles not only because we believe it is the right thing to do, but because it makes economic sense.

Moreover, on the climate crisis, an existential crisis for all of us, the United States is doing its part and leading the action.

Our administration recently made the biggest climate investment in our history through the Cut Inflation Act. Over $370 billion to invest in electric vehicles, battery supply chains, and solar, wind, and hydrogen power. This puts the United States on a direct path to reducing our emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

We are committed to increasing climate finance to more than $11 billion per year and are investing billions of dollars to help communities adapt to a globally warming planet.

By acting to ward off this threat and protect our planet, we will also stimulate economic growth.

By accelerating the transition to clean energy, we will create new jobs, drive innovation and unlock new industries.

So let me be clear on another point: America is a strong partner for economies and businesses in this region, because America is and will remain a major engine of global growth, bolstered by the approach of our administration, which has been record job creation, revitalized manufacturing, a booming clean energy sector, resilient consumer spending, unprecedented small business creation.

We enacted landmark legislation, the CHIPS and Science Act, which will strengthen global supply chains and drive innovation around the world, and the Inflation Reduction Act with its investment in clean energy, which will help reduce costs energy on a global scale.

And we believe that when we thrive at home, the entire Indo-Pacific region benefits. In fact, almost 30% of our exports are destined for the Indo-Pacific, and US companies are currently investing around $1 trillion a year in that region.

So, backed by this record, we will continue to work with our partners in this region to increase foreign direct investment, to increase the free flow of capital, and to increase the already high level of goods and services that flow between the United States. and the Indo-Pacific.

As a member of the Indo-Pacific, America has a deep interest in the future of that region. Trade between the United States and the Indo-Pacific supports millions of American jobs. We therefore have a common commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. And the United States has historical ties and shared values ​​with the nations and peoples of this region.

All this to say: the United States is here to stay.

Strengthening our economic relationships in this region and building partnerships with the private sector is a top priority for the United States and a bipartisan priority.

As we move forward together, the businesses and economies of this region will find a United States that offers immense opportunities for growth, a United States that will obey the rules of the road, and a United States that will contribute to the prosperity of all.

Thank you all. (Applause.)

END

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