Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Rafik Mansour
AmChams of the Asia Pacific Summit
March 11, 2021
Good morning to everyone in the Indo-Pacific region and good evening to everyone joining us from the United States.
It’s an honor to be with you on the final day of the AmChams of the Asia Pacific Business Summit 2021.
Before we begin, I want to say thank you to AmCham Singapore and all the AmChams from across the region for your incredible work putting together this year’s summit.
I want to also express my gratitude to the thousands of U.S. companies present in the region. With over $250 billion in investments, the United States remains the largest foreign investor in Southeast Asia by a large margin.
Likewise, your companies create millions of jobs globally, and over 200 thousand jobs right here in Singapore. Your investments in training and education help raise the expertise, abilities, and living standards of everyone you employ.
And this is no small matter. As President Biden recently said, how the United States, Europe, and Asia work together to defend our shared values and advance our prosperity will be among the most consequential efforts we undertake in the coming years.
We believe that the system we have worked so hard to build alongside our partners and allies here in the Indo-Pacific and around the world over the last 70 years is one that has benefitted hundreds of millions of people in dozens of countries.
This has resulted in the greatest reduction in poverty levels in human history… and all of you have had a role to play in that remarkable achievement.
But we have to ensure the benefits of growth continue to be shared broadly and equitably.
Together, we have to protect the space for innovation, for intellectual property, and the creative genius that thrives with the free exchange of ideas in open, democratic societies.
Together, we must shape the rules that govern technology and norms of behavior in cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology so that they are used to lift people up, not used to pin them down.
And I can think of no more powerful example of how the public and private sector, working together, can lift people up, than in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even as we speak, vaccines created in record time by the partnership of governments, the private sector and research universities, are making their way around the world. Every day, millions more doses are being administered, and global infection rates continue to fall.
We all know we have a long way to go to win the battle over Covid-19, but it is entirely possible that history will show the public-private partnerships we embarked upon over the past year were among the most consequential collaborations in modern history.
But we also know the battle over Covid-19 cannot be won until every country has the resources it needs to secure victory.
That is why the United States announced a few weeks ago that we were contributing $4 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, which supports access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low – and middle-income economies.
These contributions make the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19.
And these commitments build on a long tradition of U.S. support for global health. Some of you may not be aware that over the past two decades, the United States has provided more than $140 billion in global health assistance.
We have all gotten used to staying connected and engaged through these virtual and hybrid events over the past year. Given recent news and ever-increasing vaccination numbers, I think we have significant cause for optimism that the next time the AAP Summit convenes, many more of us may be able to gather in person.
I for one will be looking forward to that day…
Thank you and all the best on this final day of the Amchams of the Asia Pacific Business Summit.