US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech to the regional business community in Port Moresby that included a focus on the economic importance of the region. Below are excerpts:

1.On the importance of trade in the region

The region’s “economic potential and strategic importance are only growing by the day. Trade, of course, is central to our interests in the region.”

“As the President said last year, the United States will, in his words, make bilateral trade agreements” with any economy in the region “that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.”

2. On promoting civil society, the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance across the region

“These are the building blocks of progress and they are the bulwarks of independence. Today it’s also my privilege to announce” a regional transparency initiative, with more than $400 million in American funding. “This program will help empower the region’s citizens, combat corruption and strengthen sovereignty.”

3. On APEC’s mission to promote free trade

“The President sent me here to demonstrate our continued commitment … to APEC and its mission of promoting open markets, free, fair and reciprocal trade. Discussions this week on digital trade and services are important for the region’s continued rise. And we are proud to support them.”

4. On US confidence in a cooperative future with Asia-Pacific economies

“Our past is but a prelude to the future that we will ride together in cooperation and competition as honest partners and faithful friends.”

(The United States will continue) to write new chapters with resolve and with faith; faith in the people who call this vast expanse home, in the boundless capacity of every individual to achieve their dreams; faith in our most cherished principles and the vision that we share for this region of the world.”