November 22nd, 2008
12:13 PM ET
6 years ago

Bush touts free trade record at APEC

President George W. Bush attends the APEC Summitt in Lima, Peru.
President George W. Bush attends the APEC Summitt in Lima, Peru.

LIMA, Peru (CNN) – President George W. Bush, in what could be his final overseas trip as president, called on international leaders to continue his administration's push for free trade despite the global financial crisis.

"One of the enduring lessons of the Great Depression is that global protectionism is a path to global economic ruin," Bush told the annual meeting of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in the capital, Lima.

"I recognize I'm leaving office in two months," Bush said as he discussed the Doha trade talks, which were launched in 2001 to help liberalize international trade policies, "but nevertheless this administration will push hard ... so that Doha can be completed and so we can send a message - we refuse to accept protectionism in the 21st century."

Touting his record on free trade, Bush said, "Expanding trade and investment hs been one of the highest priorities of my administration.

"When I took office, America had free trade agreements in force with only three nations. Today we have agreements in force with 14."

Bush said that during his administration, "America's trade with the world has grown from 2.5 to 4 trillion dollars - an increase of 60 percent."

Among APEC member nations, he cited Chile and Peru as more than doubling their trade with the United States during his time in office, and trade with China more than tripling.

"Overall America's trade with APEC nations now accounts for nearly two thirds of our trade in the world," Bush said.

Bush chided the U.S. Congress, saying it was "extremely disappointing" that lawmakers adjourned without passing new trade agreements between the United States and Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

"I urge all those who support free trade to continue to press the case for the Congress to pass free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama and South Korea," he said, drawing applause from his audience.

Referring to the global financial crisis, Bush said, "Recovering from the financial crisis is going to take time. But we'll recover, and in so doing begin a new era of prosperity. The nations of APEC have faced tests before. We have risen to meet them together and we will do so again."

Bush's attendance at the APEC meeting marked his eighth year of meeting with and speaking to economic leaders from a diverse group of countries ranging from Thailand to Mexico, Chile to China.

Bush came to the APEC meeting seeking to build on the results of a historic two-day meeting in Washington earlier this month attended by presidents and prime ministers from 20 countries. At that meeting, world leaders unveiled a set of sweeping plans aimed at tackling the ever-expanding economic crisis, which has roiled financial markets worldwide.

The final 3,600-word announcement from that Group of 20 meeting in Washington endorsed several stimulative measures, including interest rate cuts by central banks around the globe or potential economic stimulus packages.

Leaders who met in Washington also agreed not to raise new trade barriers over the next 12 months and vowed to reach a resolution on the Doha trade talks.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Meka

    Has Bush not done enough, to Cripple the US Economy. Where are the 'Impeachment Papers'?

    November 22, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    OH SHUT UP AND GO AWAY....

    Squeeze in one more overseas trip at public expense before you head for your safety ranch in Paraguay....

    November 22, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    hello

    November 22, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Angie-OHIO

    i wish he would just go away. plz don't let him and crazy cheney do anymore damage. just shut up and go into a dark room until 1/20/2009/. plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    November 22, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    LOOKS LIKE BUSH BORROWED AN OBAMA BLUE TIE.

    TOO BAD HE DIDN'T BORROW AN OBAMA BRAIN, AS WELL.

    OR HOW ABOUT SOME OBAMA HONESTY, INTEGRITY OR

    JUST ABOUT ANYONE'S EXCEPT HIS BUSH MORONS'.

    November 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. David Goldman

    BUSH TAKING CARE OF OUR BUSINESS AGAIN ?

    HE SHOULD QUIT. IT WOULD BE THE ONLY GOOD

    THING HE HAS DONE SINCE HE STOLE THE ELECTION.

    November 22, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Roger

    He said we had 3 Free Trade Agreements when he took office and now here we are 11 Free Trade Agreements and 8 years later with our economy in the tank. Does this man not realize that he screwed up?

    November 22, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. 58 old ladies

    ONLY THE GOOD LORD KNOW, WHY BUSH EVEN

    BOTHERS TO PRETEND HE IS OF ANY GOOD USE.

    November 22, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. gary n.

    And that's why all the jobs have left this country. There's a difference between free trade and fair trade. We have not been on the receiving end of ' fair trade ' since before Reagan. Every administration starting with Regan and including Clinton has been very pro-business. Unfortunately for us it's been pro-FORIEGN business as opposed to Pro-USA business. And that is why the economy is where it's at today. These clowns have been giving the farm away for years.

    November 22, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. RML

    Before he took office we weren't in economic ruin, now we are...so exactly how successful has expanding free trade?? Amazing how he continues to pat himself on the back but the results of his presidency have left a legacy that will not bring fond memories...

    November 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Bill Charlotte,NC

    How much we we have to pay Peru to keep him until 01/20/09?

    November 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Voter for Change

    Former President Clinton started NAFTA (Canada Mexico China)
    President Bush continued with NAFTA!!!!!!!!!

    Remember Clinton and Bush helped the USA workers get fired and the USA executives get the rewards for shipping jobs out of the United States of America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How did our jobs get shipped out of the USA????

    November 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. chuck

    Can anyone in their right mind trust this guy ???????

    November 22, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. JESUINO LEDUINO ROSA

    god help the us.

    November 22, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Steve

    Once again Bush proves that he can read a speech (haltiingly.....Daddy Bush must be incredibly proud of how all the money he spent on private schools and ivy league colleges produced such a scholar). He really needs to check his facts (hasn't done it in eight years..why start now).

    I would guess that Bush's credibilty around the world is about zero. Had he said in his speech, "I have been the king of the world for eigh years." he would have received polite applause. No one is paying attention any more, George.

    November 22, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. vic

    We have also lost nearly all the manufacturing jobs in the US, Mr. Bush.
    Free Trade has its place, but, too much is TOO MUCH!
    Bring jobs back to America.

    November 22, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. bk

    Obama is for free trade too.

    November 22, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Cheryl

    This idiot will continue to try installing his FAILED policies right up until the last minute. This arrogant jerk is so stupid he has no clue what he's done.

    Go home to texas bushie and I hope to never see your smirking face or hear your disgraced name again.

    November 22, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Katja

    The thing is, protectionism does work, in America at least. Americans are the worlds biggest consumers and we love buying exotic things from other countries, so if American workers have jobs and money, we WILL trade with the world. Freely.

    November 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. george

    Its the new World Order ! get over it

    November 22, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    And this ladies and gentlemen is why our jobs have been sent over seas, we no longer make anything in america and the american dollar has become worthless. Please, can't we just pack him up and move him out before we are flushed down the royal sewer . He won't be happy until he leaves the United States totally crippled., broke, and chained up in Iraq.

    November 22, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Monica L.

    I would just like to remind everyone that Clinton signed the free trade agreement, Clinton deregulated the mortgage industry, Clinton did not allow a military strike on Bin Laden when we had a chance, Clinton pulled our troops out of Somalia (now another terrorist breeding ground).

    Yet this is all Bush's fault??

    RML – All the jobs are leaving this country because American workers expect to get paid $30/hr for a job my ten year old son could do.

    November 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. MK

    Did he say all that with a straight face?

    November 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. happy thanksgiving

    Another bank was shut down in georgia, this is scary times we are living in. georgia vote jim martin.

    November 22, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Barbara in NC

    How many more jobs can he give away in the next 28 days? Somebody please hog tie him in his residential area at the white house and don't let him loose until January 20, 2009 after Barack Obama is inaugurated !!

    November 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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