The members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC, have grown much more prosperous and, in many cases, more free. "Incredibly enough," said President George W. Bush at the forum's meeting in Santiago, Chile, "APEC economies account for nearly half of all the world trade, and half of the world's economic output." Mr. Bush says that with the right policies, prosperity can be extended even further:
"I believe we must increase the flow of trade and capital. I know our societies must reward enterprise and open societies and open markets. I know we've got to reject the blocks and barriers that divide economies and people."
The twenty-one APEC members are part of a community from all around the Pacific Ocean and including parts of four continents -- Asia, North and South America, and Australia. APEC partners account for nearly two-thirds of all U.S. exports and imports. "And by working together, and by continuing to foster reasonable pro-growth policies," said Mr. Bush, "the fellowship of Pacific nations will continue to be strong."
In the past, says Mr. Bush, "many powerful nations preferred others to remain underdeveloped and, therefore, dependent":
"It was a cynical doctrine. And that doctrine is unsuited for our times. In this century, countries benefit from healthy, prosperous, confident partners. Weak and troubled nations export their ills -- problems like economic instability and illegal immigration and crime and terrorism. America and others sitting around the table here in APEC understand that healthy and prosperous nations export and import goods and services that help to stabilize regions and add security to every nation."
In APEC and other forums, the U.S. is working with other countries to lay the foundations for prosperity, peace, and security. Moreover, as President Bush said, "Economic freedom and political liberty are indivisible, and the advance of freedom is good for all, as free societies are peaceful societies."