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Vietnam and Trans-Pacific Partnership in Question and Answer after Remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at Wilson Center


Oct 1, 2016

SOURCE: U.S. Department of State

Theo tin Bộ Ngoại giao Hoa Kỳ

Remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Wilson Center
Washington, DC
September 28, 2016

QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Kerry. Thank you for your service and for all the work you’ve done up until today, and thank you for the very comprehensive presentation. My name is Jenny Nguyen with Voice of Vietnamese Americans. I hope everybody would listen to you and understand clearly. I have one question which includes two parts. Have you talked to our presidential candidates about this? And secondly, to our Honorable Jane Harman, how do you think we can get the consensus in Congress and the Senate and the House? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, no, I’m not allowed to – I’m out of politics, so I’m not in the business right now of engaging with the candidates. But I made the speech today because there is an important debate taking place across America, and it is important for people to hear the facts, which I think I’ve laid out today very clearly.

Vietnam has signed up – Vietnam is going to benefit enormously by this, and I might add, Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing countries in the region, will have labor unions under this that have a right to strike and engage in negotiation. It’s a remarkable growth of – I mean, who could have imagined that 25, 30 years ago? I certainly couldn’t have in 1968-9, I’ll tell you that. So this is a sea change, and this is what changes relationships and provides opportunity to people. So I’ll let Jane answer the passing part, and then I’ve got to run. I apologize.

MS HARMAN: We understand and we’re grateful that you took a question and a very good one.

SECRETARY KERRY: Didn’t want to break a tradition.

MS HARMAN: The Wilson Center is prohibited by our charter from lobbying Congress, but that doesn’t mean we can’t express our opinion, and many members of the Wilson staff and scholars are in this audience, and we’re all in violent agreement, as we say, with the case for TPP. The problem is the rhetoric in this campaign and the misimpression, as Secretary Kerry said, that trade and especially TPP will take American jobs. And I would just answer you by saying, as Ambassador Carla Hills, a close friend of ours – former special trade representative – says, that the retail case has to be made better to each member of Congress. They have to understand that jobs will grow, not disappear, when TPP and other trade agreements – TTIP would be another one on my list – are enacted. And Congress I hope will vote in the lame duck session, though there is no indication yet by the leadership that the issue will be put up for a vote.

I want to thank everyone for coming. Secretary Kerry has to leave. (Applause.) You honor us. And one more thing: Go Sox.


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