Sharing common values when it comes to democracy and human rights, the United States of America and Australia today reaffirmed commitment to strenghten their bilateral relations in the 21st century.
In his remarks with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr after their meeting in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the meeting has given both countries to discuss a broad array of issues regarding the United States and its friends in Australia.
Alliance stronger than ever
According to Secretary Kerry, US-Australian relationship is more united, collaborative, and strong.
“I mentioned to the Foreign Minister that years ago, when I served in Vietnam and that is a long time ago now there was Australia by our side.” – Secretary
He says US could not have had a better friend then; it couldn’t have a better friend today if Australia does not exist.
“This is a critical alliance, and our relationship, I think, is stronger than ever.” – Secretary Kerry
He adds that one of the reasons that their relationship is so strong is that Australia is a vital partner in the United States efforts, begun by President Obama several years ago, to strengthen our reengagement in the Asia Pacific region.
He stresses that much of the history of the 21st century is going to be defined by the strength of that relationship.
The United States intends to play a major role, and President Obama could not have made that more clear, Secretary Kerry
Collaborating on Asia
According to Secretray Kerry, Obama Administration has focused on strengthening stability and security, opening markets, and promoting economic growth and supporting a rules-based order that will allow countries throughout the region not just to prosper, but everybody raises their game, raises the standards of competition and of economic behavior.
“And it is vital in the years ahead that we remain focused on Asia, and we will.” – Secretary Kerry
He says they have discussed what they are doing to advance their goals in the region.
Both countries are dealing with a wide range of issues, from promoting maritime security to supporting democratic development, and also supporting the development of human rights in places such as Burma, the Pacific Islands, and empowering regional institutions, like ASEAN, APEC, and the East Asia Summit.
Both countries also discussed the implementation of their force posture with Australia, and with this effort, American Marines are operating with their Australian counterparts to enhance regional security and to build capacity to be able to respond to natural disasters and crises.
To that end, another company of American Marines will be rotating through next month for their normal rotational deployment, Secretary Kessry said.
“And this has now reached a sort of normal course of business status, and we appreciate that.” – Secretary Kerry
US commends Australia’s cooperation in Afghanistan
Secretary Kerry says the US is appreciative that Australia is now serving on the UN Security Council.
The US believes that their membership on the council will allow for an even closer working relationship, and particularly for collaboration on pressing global issues, including Syria, the Middle East peace process, and North Korea particularly.
Secretary Kerry also expresses his gratitude for Australia’s ongoing commitment to our mission in Afghanistan.
He says both countries are working very, very closely with our Australian allies and others in order to assure a smooth economic and security transition that honors what the two nations have been committed to all along, and that is a free and a sovereign Afghanistan.
Flourishing bilateral trade and investment for both countries
According to Secretary Kerry, both agree on the need to break down barriers between trade and to promote much greater commerce across the region, lifting the standards, the rules, the economic rules of the road, if you will.
“Our bilateral trade and investment is currently flourishing.” – Secretary Kerry
Both countries are working very closely on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that will create a great deal more economic trade opportunity throughout the region.
Both countries also are implementing their Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty, and that will keep both countries safer with new and innovative defense technologies.
U.S. Exports to Australia: Of the 2.1 million containers that go through the Port of Melbourne every year, 96,000 containers come from the U.S. (1 in every 12). Since the U.S.-Australia FTA went into effect, there have been $4.3 billion in exports to Australia from General Electric (approx. $860 million per year). Caterpillar exports to Australia in 2009 totaled $776 million. Harley Davidson’s annual export volumes to Australia include $180 million worth of motorcycles and $45 million worth of parts and accessories.
The United States and Australia enjoy a strong bilateral economic relationship that enhances job creation, wealth and innovation in both countries. From January 1, 2005, when the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) entered into force, through 2009, U.S. merchandise exports to Australia increased 40.4%. The United States had an $11.5 billion goods trade surplus with Australia in 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. exports to Australia totaled $5.1 billion, a 6.3% increase over the same period in 2009. This strong economic relationship exemplifies the benefits of free trade and open investment for U.S. workers and businesses. The U.S.-Australia FTA guarantees U.S. access to the Australian market. More than 99 percent of U.S. exports of manufactured goods now enter duty-free.
US and Australia working together on energy security
According to Secretary Kerry, both share a hope and an expectation that they will increase the energy security dialogue between the United States and Australia, and that’s an opportunity for stakeholders in both countries to come together and explore new ideas for clean energy, renewable energy production, for modernization of our energy infrastructures, and efforts to combat climate change.
“So we really hope that very soon, we’re going to have a date where we can announce our specific efforts to kick off this collaboration.” – Secretary Kerry
The United States and Australia are key allies with a history of shared political interests and a future of increased cooperation on trade, technology, and transnational issues.