Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The President: What an honor it is to be here in Vietnam -- in the very heart of the Indo-Pacific -- to address the people and business leaders of this region. This has already been a remarkable week for the United States in this wonderful part of the world. Starting from Hawaii, Melania and I traveled to Japan, South Korea, and China, and now to Vietnam, to be here with all of you today. Before we begin, I want to address all those affected by Typhoon Damrey. Americans are praying for you and for your recovery in the months ahead. Our hearts are united with the Vietnamese people suffering in the aftermath of this terrible storm. This trip comes at an exciting time for America. A new optimism has swept all across our country. Economic growth has reached 3.2 percent, and going higher. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 17 years. The stock market is at an all-time high. And the whole world is lifted by America's renewal. Everywhere I've traveled on this journey, I've had the pleasure of sharing the good news from America. But even more, I've had the honor of sharing our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific -- a place where sovereign and independent nations, with diverse cultures and many different dreams, can all prosper side-by-side, and thrive in freedom and in peace. I am so thrilled to be here today at APEC, because this organization was founded to help achieve that very purpose. America stands as a proud member of the community of nations who make a home on the Pacific. We have been an active partner in this region since we first won independence ourselves. In 1784, the first American ship sailed to China from the newly independent United States. It went loaded with goods to sell in Asia, and it came back full of porcelain and tea. Our first president, George Washington himself, owned a set of tableware from that ship. In 1804, Thomas Jefferson sent the explorers, Lewis and Clark, on an expedition to our Pacific Coast. They were the first of the millions of Americans who ventured west to live out America's manifest destiny across our vast continent. In 1817, our Congress approved the first full-time Pacific development of an American warship. That initial naval presence soon grew into a squadron, and then a fleet, to guarantee freedom of navigation for the growing number of ships, braving the high seas to reach markets in the Philippines, Singapore, and in India. In 1818, we began our relationship with the Kingdom of Thailand, and 15 years later our two countries signed a treaty of friendship and commerce -- our first with an Asian nation. In the next century, when imperialist powers threatened this region, the United States pushed back at great cost to ourselves. We understood that security and prosperity depended on it. We have been friends, partners, and allies in the Indo-Pacific for a long, long time, and we will be friends, partners, and allies for a long time to come. As old friends in the region, no one has been more delighted than America to witness, to help, and to share in the extraordinary progress you have made over the last half-century. What the countries and economies represented here today have built in this part of the world is nothing short of miraculous. The story of this region in recent decades is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future. Few would have imagined just a generation ago that leaders of these nations would come together here in Da Nang to deepen our friendships, expand our partnerships, and celebrate the amazing achievements of our people. This city was once home to an American military base, in a country where many Americans and Vietnamese lost their lives in a very bloody war. Today, we are no longer enemies; we are friends. And this port city is bustling with ships from around the world. Engineering marvels, like the Dragon Bridge, welcome the millions who come to visit Da Nang's stunning beaches, shining lights, and ancient charms. In the early 1990s, nearly half of Vietnam survived on just a few dollars a day, and one in four did not have any electricity. Today, an opening Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest-growing economies on Earth. It has already increased more than 30 times over, and the Vietnamese students rank among the best students in the world. (Applause) And that is very impressive. This is the same story of incredible transformation that we have seen across the region. Indonesians for decades have been building domestic and democratic institutions to govern their vast chain of more than 13,000 islands. Since the 1990s, Indonesia's people have lifted themselves from poverty to become one of the fastest-growing nations of the G20. Today, it is the third-largest democracy on Earth. The Philippines has emerged as a proud nation of strong and devout families. For 11 consecutive years, the World Economic Forum has ranked the Philippines first among Asian countries in closing the gender gap and embracing women leaders in business and in politics. (Applause) Kingdom of Thailand has become an upper middle-income country in less than a generation. Its majestic capital of Bangkok is now the most visited city on Earth. And that is very impressive. Not too many people here are from Thailand. (Applause) Malaysia has rapidly developed through recent decades, and it is now ranked as one of the best places in the world to do business. In Singapore, citizens born to parents who survived on $500 dollars a day are now among the highest earners in the world -- a transformation made possible by the vision of Lee Kwan Yew's vision of honest governance and the rule of law. (Applause) And his great son is now doing an amazing job. As I recently observed in South Korea, the people of that Republic took a poor country ravaged by war, and in just a few decades turned it into one of the wealthiest democracies on Earth. Today, South Koreans enjoy higher incomes than the citizens of many European Union countries. It was great spending time with President Moon. Everyone knows of China's impressive achievements over the past several decades. During this period -- and it was a period of great market reforms -- large parts of China experienced rapid economic growth, jobs boomed, and more than 800 million citizens rose out of poverty. I just left China this morning and had a really productive meeting and a wonderful time with our gracious host, President Xi. And, as I saw on my first stop of this trip, in Japan we see a dynamic democracy in a land of industrial, technological, and cultural wonders. In fewer than 60 years, that island nation has produced 24 Nobel Prize winners for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and the promotion of peace. (Applause) President Abe and I agree on so much. In the broader region, countries outside of APEC are also making great strides in this new chapter for the Indo-Pacific. India is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its independence. It is a sovereign democracy, as well as -- think of this -- over 1 billion people. It's the largest democracy in the world. (Applause) Since India opened its economy, it has achieved astounding growth and a new world of opportunity for its expanding middle class. And Prime Minister Modi has been working to bring that vast country, and all of its people, together as one. And he is working at it very, very successfully, indeed. As we can see, in more and more places throughout this region, citizens of sovereign and independent nations have taken greater control of their destinies and unlocked the potential of their people. They've pursued visions of justice and accountability, promoted private property and the rule of law, and embraced systems that value hard work and individual enterprise. They built businesses, they built cities, they built entire countries from the ground up. Many of you in this room have taken part in these great, uplifting national projects of building. They have been your projects from inception to completion, from dreams to reality. With your help, this entire region has emerged -- and it is still emerging -- as a beautiful constellation of nations, each its own bright star, satellites to none -- and each one, a people, a culture, a way of life, and a home. Those of you who have lived through these transformations understand better than anyone the value of what you have achieved. You also understand that your home is your legacy, and you must always protect it. In the process of your economic development, you've sought commerce and trade with other nations, and forged partnerships based on mutual respect and directed toward mutual gain. Today, I am here to offer a renewed partnership with America to work together to strengthen the bonds of friendship and commerce between all of the nations of the Indo-Pacific, and together, to promote our prosperity and security. At the core of this partnership, we seek robust trade relationships rooted in the principles of fairness and reciprocity. When the United States enters into a trading relationship with other countries or other peoples, we will, from now on, expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we do. We expect that markets will be open to an equal degree on both sides, and that private industry, not government planners, will direct investment. Unfortunately, for too long and in too many places, the opposite has happened. For many years, the United States systematically opened our economy with few conditions. We lowered or ended tariffs, reduced trade barriers, and allowed foreign goods to flow freely into our country. But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn't open their markets to us. Male Speaker: (Inaudible) The President: Funny. They must have been one of the beneficiaries. (Applause) What country do you come from, sir? Countries were embraced by the World Trade Organization, even if they did not abide by its stated principles. Simply put, we have not been treated fairly by the World Trade Organization. Organizations like the WTO can only function properly when all members follow the rules and respect the sovereign rights of every member. We cannot achieve open markets if we do not ensure fair market access. In the end, unfair trade undermines us all. The United States promoted private enterprise, innovation, and industry. Other countries used government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises. We adhered to WTO principles on protecting intellectual property and ensuring fair and equal market access. They engaged in product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation, and predatory industrial policies. They ignored the rules to gain advantage over those who followed the rules, causing enormous distortions in commerce and threatening the foundations of international trade itself. Such practices, along with our collective failure to respond to them, hurt many people in our country and also in other countries. Jobs, factories, and industries were stripped out of the United States and out of many countries in addition.