Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Speaks at Trade Event in Malaysia

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 3, 2010

In remarks today at a trade event at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Secretary Clinton said, "...One of the best parts about being Secretary of State is that I get to travel around the world representing my country. And it is such an honor to participate in the many different events that we do between the United States and countries around the world. And one part of my job that I take particularly seriously is talking about and promoting the work of great American companies like the ones represented here. I'm very proud of the business leaders and the workers of the United States of America, and I'm pleased that finally we are seeing very clearly the important business relationship between the United States and ASEAN countries. In fact, it's a bit of a surprise to some that the United States does more trade with the ASEAN countries than anyone else in Asia.

"I had excellent meetings yesterday with the deputy prime minister and with the foreign minister and by telephone with the prime minister. And one of the most important goals that we share is to boost economic growth and widespread prosperity in Malaysia and across the Asia Pacific region. Malaysia's economy, which has done so well, was hard hit by the global downturn, but it has come back strong this year. And the challenge that is being met by the leadership and the citizens of Malaysia to continue to put Malaysia back on the track for high growth is impressive indeed.

"The same is true for the United States. We are determined, as President Obama has made clear, to set a goal of doubling exports over the next five years. So our two countries have very similar goals and we have a strong foundation for our efforts, as the chairman and CEO said. We already have deep economic ties. The United States is the largest foreign direct investor in Malaysia, and American manufacturing companies have invested about $15 billion here and employ about 166,000 Malaysians. We think that's a win-win relationship.

"And the agreements that we're celebrating today are especially important. Malaysia Airlines will buy 50 American-built Pratt & Whitney engines, one of which you see behind us. And also behind us and newly arrived from Seattle is the first of 35 Boeing 737s fitted with state-of-the-art General Electric CFM engines that Malaysian Airlines has ordered. And from the description of the interior, you're going to have people standing in line to fly on this airplane on behalf of Malaysian Airlines.

"Now, this kind of trade has many benefits, but most importantly it creates high-paying, skilled jobs in both countries. The Pratt & Whitney engines will be assembled in Connecticut with parts made in Georgia and Maine. The engine maintenance will be done in Malaysia by local workers trained by Pratt & Whitney.

"It's this kind of mutually beneficial cooperation that contributes to the global economic recovery and puts us back on the path to prosperity. We need growth, but it must be the right kind of growth -- balanced, long-term, and inclusive. And one of the many reasons I am so impressed with Malaysia is that your growth has been just like that. What you've done in Malaysia, as evidenced by the dynamism of the economy, and everything that I saw driving around Kuala Lumpur is exactly what we would hope for in the broader region. You are creating good jobs and raising incomes and lifting out of poverty people who are now finally having the chance to fulfill their own dreams.

"That is why the United States is very pleased by Malaysia's decision to join the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership. This regional trade agreement will promote shared success by expanding markets and building a level playing field for workers in every country that participates.

"No one can do this alone. The days of going it alone in the global economy are behind us. Building shared prosperity is a goal that we can only achieve together, but I know we have the determination and talent, and we have deep ties between our two countries at the governmental level, at the business level, and the people-to-people level.

"So I want to end with what I hear is a Malaysian expression of national resolve. So Malaysia, America, Boleh and congratulations to all of the companies involved in this venture. Thank you all very much."

A full transcript is available here.

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