This year we celebrate both the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Australia and the 10th anniversary of our free trade agreement. These milestones offer an extraordinary opportunity to reflect on our partnership and all its many facets. In the Asia-Pacific, U.S.-Australia cooperation has served as the bedrock for unprecedented stability and economic prosperity.
As Pacific powers, the United States and Australia are committed to leading the region to stronger, broader growth through trade and investment, regional institutions, robust defense cooperation, and technological innovation.
American companies are our indispensable partners in these pursuits. Boeing, I am proud to say, is the gold standard when it comes to such partnerships.
Boeing technology, know-how, and military aircraft – produced in the United States and in Australia – helped secure our freedom and victory in the Second World War. In the 1950s, Qantas was the first international customer for Boeing’s first commercial jet, the 707 – which made some of the first long-haul flights across the Pacific.
For nearly 100 years, Boeing has stayed in first place while investing in people, technology, and communities in Australia. The company has created thousands of jobs both in the United States and in Australia, and many more at the small and medium-sized businesses that make up Boeing’s supply chain. Boeing employs more than 3,000 people at 27 locations in Australia. Boeing’s products and relationships in the defense and security sectors are making our armed forces, our countries, and the world safer and more secure. But Boeing does more than sell technologically advanced products, it supports science education in high schools and universities, is active in preserving the Great Barrier Reef, and has donated more than $3 million to local communities.
When it comes to innovation, the company that produced the 787 Dreamliner and the F-18 Super Hornet, is second to none. Boeing’s research and development and manufacturing centers in Brisbane and Melbourne are harnessing Australian and American talent and ingenuity daily. With more than $100 million invested in R&D and strong partnerships with universities and CSIRO, Boeing is innovating for the future – a future of sustainable aviation fuels; a future of next-generation communications; a future of space exploration.
It is therefore not surprising and entirely appropriate that Boeing has been one of the strongest supporters of the Ambassador’s Innovation Roundtable over the past two years, and I’m grateful to Maureen Dougherty for contributing her own energy and enthusiasm to this initiative.
Boeing’s success and its corporate citizenship highlights why the U.S. government works so hard to help American businesses thrive in Australia and in the Asia Pacific. Free trade agreements – such as the bilateral one we have with Australia and the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership – are essential.
Thanks to the efforts of many people, including Minister Robb and his team, the TPP is one of the most significant trade agreements in history. This cutting edge deal is the “crown jewel” of President Obama’s rebalance to the Asia Pacific. It will support a stable, transparent, rules-based order for the 21st century. Not only will the TPP enhance trade and open markets, it will improve global supply chains and benefit advanced manufacturing, which are so important to companies like Boeing.
The TPP also will contribute to regional stability and security. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been notably quoted as saying – “TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier.” Or, I would add, fighter jet.
Our guest of honor understands the importance of TPP as well as any of us. Last month, Mr. Muilenberg lauded the TPP agreement, stating that, “Looking ahead, the global economy will be more important than ever to our future growth.”
The complete TPP text was released earlier this month and I encourage everyone to learn more about it. The path toward ratification is well marked, and it is important to note that the U.S. Congress has never voted down a trade agreement.
This century will be defined by the Asia Pacific. It will be defined by the economic investments made by U.S. companies like Boeing. It will be defined by our relationships with regional neighbors, friends, and allies. It will be defined by the United States and Australia moving boldly forward, together.
And, now, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Honorable Dr. Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial to say a few words.