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WASHINGTON, August 30 (Itar-Tass) —— The US Administration hopes the upcoming summit of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation /APEC/ and the ministerial meetings on its eve will be productive.
This was confirmed on Wednesday during a briefing for foreign reporters in Washington by representatives of the foreign affairs and foreign trade authorities of the US government, who had participated in preparations for the summit. They agreed to speak to reporters on the condition their names and titles would not be published in media.
Reporters asked if absence of President Barack Obama might affect successful work of the US delegation in Vladivostok. A representative of the Department of State replied, for that for the US the timing was not optimal, as it would have been much better to see the president there, but he could not leave the country due to domestic reasons. It is well known, that the United States of America approach the final stage of the presidential rush, where Obama is fighting for being re-elected.
The diplomat expressed confidence the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be a worthy substitution at the summit and would be able to follow fully the interests of the country. He said that the Russian side had been informed well beforehand, several months in advance, about Obama’s plans and considered them with respect.
The briefing participants learned about Washington’s priorities for meetings in Vladivostok from a representative of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), a part of the Cabinet. She highlighted topics referring to trade of nature conservation goods and services, to localisation of industrial production, to transparency of future trade relations, and effectiveness of transport-logistics chains.
Practically all the priorities are in line with Russia’s ones, and the topic of transparency is initially a Russian initiative. Moscow suggests organising a “model head” of trade agreement, which could provide their “transparency”, and the US support actively these efforts. We and APEC other members cooperate closely with Russia and hope for a realistic result in this sphere, the USTR’s representative said.
She stressed that in disputable issues the US and Russia are trying to find ways of moving forward, that their approaches to the problems on the agenda are similar in many aspects and that they cooperate closely in the framework of APEC. We owe to Russia’s leadership the progress we have today, she added.
On the other hand, Moscow and Washington have certain disputable issues. For example, the US is categorically against the demand on localisation of production, i.e. a share of local components in final products. Russia is going to continue observing this requirement. The expert refused to forecast which approach to localisation may be expressed in the summit’s final documents and suggested waiting for the results.
At the same time, she stressed that in most disputable issues the sides are trying to work out “ways of moving forward,” that generally approaches of Moscow and Washington to the issues on the agenda are similar in many aspects, that they are cooperating closely in the framework of APEC. Exactly during Russia’s chairing role we have achieved the progress we have now, she said. This is true regarding the nature conservation goods, tariffs on which are expected to be lower, and to the transport chains, as well as to food security. Russians also highlight regional economic integration, which used to be of huge importance for us during the year of our chairing role, and on which we have been working hand in hand, the briefing’s anchorwoman said.
Her counterpart representing the Department of State spoke in a similar mood and first of all mentioned his recent “wonderful” meetings with counterparts in Moscow, including his direct vis-·-vis Gennady Ovechkin. He also spoke about two topics, which, as he put it, cause “mutual concern” of the US and Russia – the problems of illegal trade of wild animals and distribution of counterfeit medicines. The American diplomat stressed the Russian president pays personal attention to protection of wild animals; and added that the US secretary of state also wanted to raise the topic.
While responding to questions of organisational character, the American representatives said they knew nothing about presence in Vladivostok of the DPRK’s observers, or about plans of Hillary Clinton to make a stop in Beijing on the way to Russia, or about the fact that the issues of the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership would be on the agenda of only ministerial meetings of the summit as the meeting of the TPP leaders “had not fit in the schedule.”
By the way, a Chinese reporter asked quite pushy whether there is any reason at all in TPP in existence of APEC. Responding to him, the USTR’s representative said those structures “add to each other” – at least because in APEC obligations are carried out “voluntarily”, while in TPP they are “binding for fulfilment.”