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Clinton pushes U.S-Southeast Asia trade

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Unread 11.19.11, 08:38 AM
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Clinton pushes U.S-Southeast Asia trade

11.18.11 08:27 PM

BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday the United States' goal is to increase its trade with Southeast Asia.

Clinton, on a visit to Indonesia, noted trade between the United States and Southeast Asia has tripled in the past 20 years to $23.4 billion in 2010, but is sill just 6 percent of the nation's world trade.

To improve that percentage, she said, "we have to start by insisting on economic competition that is open, free, transparent, and fair."

"Now let me describe briefly four ways that we want to work with you," she said. "First, by lowering trade barriers; second, by strengthening the investment climate; third, by pursuing commercial diplomacy; and fourth, by supporting entrepreneurs."

Clinton was to sign an agreement with the government of Indonesia to provide more than $600 million in U.S. aid through the Millennium Challenge Corp., a release from the Tropical Forest and Climate Coalition in Washington said.

More than half of the money will go toward "green prosperity" program to improve sustainable management of Indonesia's natural resources and support clean energy investments, the coalition of U.S. businesses, non- governmental organizations and scientific institutions said.

"The MCC compact with Indonesia will spur economic growth, reduce poverty, improve transparency and strengthen democracy by helping Indonesia make wiser, more sustainable natural resource decisions," said Nigel Purvis, president of Climate Advisers, a Washington consulting firm specializing in U.S. climate change policy, international climate cooperation, global carbon markets, and climate-related forest conservation.

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