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Statement by U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick following Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

WASHINGTON - United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will join his counterparts from the Pacific region at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on May 29. Zoellick will outline U.S. policies to expand trade, freedom, and prosperity by pursuing trade liberalization throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

He will arrive earlier in the week to discuss the successes and challenges of NAFTA implementation, cooperation, and trade facilitation with Mexican Secretary of the Economy Luis Ernesto Derbez and Canadian Minister for International Trade Pierre S. Pettigrew at the annual NAFTA Commission meeting on May 28.

"Open trade advances hope, opportunity, prosperity, and rule of law throughout the Pacific," Zoellick stated. "I look forward to meeting with my fellow ministers and discussing how to expand the benefits of trade throughout our countries. The Senate's passage of Trade Promotion Authority and its renewal of the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Generalized System of Preferences last week provides momentum for American economic leadership."

During the APEC meeting, Zoellick will meet separately with some of the 21 APEC members, which are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States.

Zoellick noted that this is the first APEC meeting since China and Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) last December, historic milestones that the Bush Administration helped bring to a conclusion last year. The theme of this year's APEC ministerial meeting is "Expanding the Benefits of Cooperation for Economic Growth and Development: Implementing the Vision." The group plans to take a close look at past initiatives to interpret their successes, as well as areas where improvement may be needed. As chair of the APEC meetings, Mexico is using the "Three A's" theme of "Accountability, Action and Assessment," which will provide an important opportunity to review progress on the global trade negotiations launched in Doha, Qatar last November. The trade ministers are likely to address the agenda's relevance and impact on the Asia-Pacific region.