Clinton calls for 'regional integration'

July 25, 2011 at 12:22 PM
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HONG KONG, July 25 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Asian nations to take a light approach to trade regulations, as the combined economic clout of the region is growing.

"All who benefit from open, free, transparent and fair competition have a vital interest and a responsibility to follow the rules," Clinton said in a speech in Hong Kong delivered to regional branches of the American Chamber of Commerce and the Asia Society, The New York Times reported Monday.

"Enough of the world's commerce takes place with developing nations that leaving them out of the rules-based system would render the system unworkable," Clinton said. "And that, ultimately, would impoverish everyone."

Part of her speech referred to China's two-month embargo on rare earth mineral shipments. Trade turns chaotic "when vital supply chains are blocked," she said.

As developing nations grow in influence, "There is now a danger of creating a hodgepodge of inconsistent and partial bilateral agreements which may lower tariffs but which also create new inefficiencies and dizzying complexities," Clinton said, calling for "true regional integration."

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