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  • The President: What an honor it is to be here in Vietnam --

  • in the very heart of the Indo-Pacific --

  • to address the people and business leaders

  • of this region.

  • This has already been a remarkable week for the

  • United States in this wonderful part of the world.

  • Starting from Hawaii, Melania and I traveled to

  • Japan, South Korea, and China, and now to Vietnam,

  • to be here with all of you today.

  • Before we begin, I want to address all those affected

  • by Typhoon Damrey.

  • Americans are praying for you and for your recovery

  • in the months ahead.

  • Our hearts are united with the Vietnamese people

  • suffering in the aftermath of this terrible storm.

  • This trip comes at an exciting time for America.

  • A new optimism has swept all across our country.

  • Economic growth has reached 3.2 percent,

  • and going higher.

  • Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years.

  • The stock market is at an all-time high.

  • And the whole world is lifted by America's renewal.

  • Everywhere I've traveled on this journey, I've had

  • the pleasure of sharing the good news from America.

  • But even more, I've had the honor of sharing our

  • vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific -- a place

  • where sovereign and independent nations, with

  • diverse cultures and many different dreams, can all

  • prosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and in peace.

  • I am so thrilled to be here today at APEC,

  • because this organization was founded to help

  • achieve that very purpose.

  • America stands as a proud member of the community of

  • nations who make a home on the Pacific.

  • We have been an active partner in this region

  • since we first won independence ourselves.

  • In 1784, the first American ship sailed to

  • China from the newly independent United States.

  • It went loaded with goods to sell in Asia, and it

  • came back full of porcelain and tea.

  • Our first president, George Washington himself,

  • owned a set of tableware from that ship.

  • In 1804, Thomas Jefferson sent the explorers, Lewis

  • and Clark, on an expedition to our Pacific Coast.

  • They were the first of the millions of Americans who

  • ventured west to live out America's manifest destiny

  • across our vast continent.

  • In 1817, our Congress approved the first

  • full-time Pacific development

  • of an American warship.

  • That initial naval presence soon grew into a

  • squadron, and then a fleet, to guarantee

  • freedom of navigation for the growing number of

  • ships, braving the high seas to reach markets in

  • the Philippines, Singapore, and in India.

  • In 1818, we began our relationship with the

  • Kingdom of Thailand, and 15 years later our two

  • countries signed a treaty of friendship and commerce --

  • our first with an Asian nation.

  • In the next century, when imperialist powers

  • threatened this region, the United States pushed

  • back at great cost to ourselves.

  • We understood that security and prosperity

  • depended on it.

  • We have been friends, partners, and allies in

  • the Indo-Pacific for a long, long time, and we

  • will be friends, partners, and allies for a long time to come.

  • As old friends in the region, no one has been

  • more delighted than America to witness, to

  • help, and to share in the extraordinary progress you

  • have made over the last half-century.

  • What the countries and economies represented here

  • today have built in this part of the world is

  • nothing short of miraculous.

  • The story of this region in recent decades is the

  • story of what is possible when people take ownership

  • of their future.

  • Few would have imagined just a generation ago that

  • leaders of these nations would come together here

  • in Da Nang to deepen our friendships, expand our

  • partnerships, and celebrate the amazing

  • achievements of our people.

  • This city was once home to an American military base,

  • in a country where many Americans and Vietnamese

  • lost their lives in a very bloody war.

  • Today, we are no longer enemies; we are friends.

  • And this port city is bustling with ships from

  • around the world.

  • Engineering marvels, like the Dragon Bridge, welcome

  • the millions who come to visit Da Nang's stunning

  • beaches, shining lights, and ancient charms.

  • In the early 1990s, nearly half of Vietnam survived

  • on just a few dollars a day, and one in four did

  • not have any electricity.

  • Today, an opening Vietnamese economy is one

  • of the fastest-growing economies on Earth.

  • It has already increased more than 30 times over,

  • and the Vietnamese students rank among the

  • best students in the world.

  • (Applause)

  • And that is very impressive.

  • This is the same story of incredible transformation

  • that we have seen across the region.

  • Indonesians for decades have been building

  • domestic and democratic institutions to govern

  • their vast chain of more than 13,000 islands.

  • Since the 1990s, Indonesia's people have

  • lifted themselves from poverty to become one of

  • the fastest-growing nations of the G20.

  • Today, it is the third-largest democracy on Earth.

  • The Philippines has emerged as a proud nation

  • of strong and devout families.

  • For 11 consecutive years, the World Economic Forum

  • has ranked the Philippines first among Asian

  • countries in closing the gender gap and embracing

  • women leaders in business and in politics.

  • (Applause)

  • Kingdom of Thailand has become an

  • upper middle-income country in less than a generation.

  • Its majestic capital of Bangkok is now the most

  • visited city on Earth.

  • And that is very impressive.

  • Not too many people here are from Thailand.

  • (Applause)

  • Malaysia has rapidly developed through

  • recent decades, and it is now ranked as one of the

  • best places in the world to do business.

  • In Singapore, citizens born to parents who

  • survived on $500 dollars a day are now among

  • the highest earners in the world -- a transformation

  • made possible by the vision of Lee Kwan Yew's

  • vision of honest governance and the rule of law.

  • (Applause)

  • And his great son is now doing an amazing job.

  • As I recently observed in South Korea, the people of

  • that Republic took a poor country ravaged by war,

  • and in just a few decades turned it into one of the

  • wealthiest democracies on Earth.

  • Today, South Koreans enjoy higher incomes than the

  • citizens of many European Union countries.

  • It was great spending time with President Moon.

  • Everyone knows of China's impressive achievements

  • over the past several decades.

  • During this period -- and it was a period of great

  • market reforms -- large parts of China experienced

  • rapid economic growth, jobs boomed, and more than

  • 800 million citizens rose out of poverty.

  • I just left China this morning and had a really

  • productive meeting and a wonderful time with our

  • gracious host, President Xi.

  • And, as I saw on my first stop of this trip, in

  • Japan we see a dynamic democracy in a land of

  • industrial, technological, and cultural wonders.

  • In fewer than 60 years, that island nation has

  • produced 24 Nobel Prize winners for achievements

  • in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and

  • the promotion of peace.

  • (Applause)

  • President Abe and I agree on so much.

  • In the broader region, countries outside of APEC

  • are also making great strides in this new

  • chapter for the Indo-Pacific.

  • India is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its independence.

  • It is a sovereign democracy, as well as --

  • think of this -- over 1 billion people.

  • It's the largest democracy in the world.

  • (Applause) Since India opened its economy, it has

  • achieved astounding growth and a new world of

  • opportunity for its expanding middle class.

  • And Prime Minister Modi has been working to bring

  • that vast country, and all of its people, together as one.

  • And he is working at it very, very successfully, indeed.

  • As we can see, in more and more places throughout

  • this region, citizens of sovereign and independent

  • nations have taken greater control of their destinies

  • and unlocked the potential of their people.

  • They've pursued visions of justice and

  • accountability, promoted private property and the

  • rule of law, and embraced systems that value hard

  • work and individual enterprise.

  • They built businesses, they built cities, they

  • built entire countries from the ground up.

  • Many of you in this room have taken part in these

  • great, uplifting national projects of building.

  • They have been your projects from inception to

  • completion, from dreams to reality.

  • With your help, this entire region has emerged --

  • and it is still emerging -- as a beautiful

  • constellation of nations, each its own bright star,

  • satellites to none -- and each one, a people, a

  • culture, a way of life, and a home.

  • Those of you who have lived through these

  • transformations understand better than anyone the

  • value of what you have achieved.

  • You also understand that your home is your legacy,

  • and you must always protect it.

  • In the process of your economic development,

  • you've sought commerce and trade with other nations,

  • and forged partnerships based on mutual respect

  • and directed toward mutual gain.

  • Today, I am here to offer a renewed partnership with

  • America to work together to strengthen the bonds of

  • friendship and commerce between all of the nations

  • of the Indo-Pacific, and together, to promote our

  • prosperity and security.

  • At the core of this partnership, we seek

  • robust trade relationships rooted in the principles

  • of fairness and reciprocity.

  • When the United States enters into a trading

  • relationship with other countries or other

  • peoples, we will, from now on, expect that our

  • partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we do.

  • We expect that markets will be open to an equal

  • degree on both sides, and that private industry, not

  • government planners, will direct investment.

  • Unfortunately, for too long and in too many

  • places, the opposite has happened.

  • For many years, the United States systematically

  • opened our economy with few conditions.

  • We lowered or ended tariffs, reduced trade

  • barriers, and allowed foreign goods to flow

  • freely into our country.

  • But while we lowered market barriers, other

  • countries didn't open their markets to us.

  • Male Speaker: (Inaudible)

  • The President: Funny.

  • They must have been one of the beneficiaries.

  • (Applause)

  • What country do you come from, sir?

  • Countries were embraced by the World Trade

  • Organization, even if they did not abide by its

  • stated principles.

  • Simply put, we have not been treated fairly by the

  • World Trade Organization.

  • Organizations like the WTO can only function properly

  • when all members follow the rules and respect the

  • sovereign rights of every member.

  • We cannot achieve open markets if we do not

  • ensure fair market access.

  • In the end, unfair trade undermines us all.

  • The United States promoted private enterprise,

  • innovation, and industry.

  • Other countries used government-run industrial

  • planning and state-owned enterprises.

  • We adhered to WTO principles on protecting

  • intellectual property and ensuring fair and equal

  • market access.

  • They engaged in product dumping, subsidized goods,

  • currency manipulation, and predatory industrial policies.

  • They ignored the rules to gain advantage over those

  • who followed the rules, causing enormous

  • distortions in commerce and threatening the

  • foundations of international trade itself.

  • Such practices, along with our collective failure to

  • respond to them, hurt many people in our country and

  • also in other countries.

  • Jobs, factories, and industries were stripped