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FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Lacarno Room and a particularly warm welcome to U.S. Secretary John Kerry. We’re delighted to have this early opportunity to welcome the Secretary of State to London and for a key meeting with our international partners to discuss Syria and Yemen and the conflicts there. Secretary Kerry and I have just come from a very productive bilateral meeting. I want to pay particular tribute to the leadership and dedication John continues to provide on the many challenges and threats facing the world today, not least the situation in Syria.
The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom remains strong and vital, and we continue to advance mutual interests and tackle shared challenges. Secretary Kerry and I will shortly be joined by European colleagues for a meeting on Syria. Syria continues to be ravaged by the twin evils of a long civil war and the inhumanity of Daesh terrorism.
The international community, under the umbrella of the International Syria Support Group and the chairmanship of the United States and Russia, came together in order to create a pathway to peace. We set out a clear plan in February of this year: a cessation of hostilities; access for humanitarian aid for all those in need; and UN-led political negotiations leading to agreement on a framework for a genuine political transition.
But after an initially promising start, we are still short of where we need to be. The current situation on the ground in Syria is dire – heavy bombing by regime forces in and around Aleppo, and there’s an escalation of fighting in Daraya. In Aleppo, there’s also 300,000 men, women, and children besieged and the sole surviving access route for humanitarian aid has been cut off. The whole country is facing another terrible humanitarian catastrophe, and therefore a potential leap in the number of refugees seeking to escape Syria.
Secretary Kerry has been working tirelessly with the UN and Russia to try to resolve these challenges. Russia in particular has a unique ability to persuade the Assad regime to end the carnage and return to the negotiating table. So we seek those with influence over the Assad regime, including Russia and Iran, to ensure humanitarian access to the besieged areas, in line with UN Security Council resolutions and commitments made with members of the International Syria Support Group. I’m looking forward to discussing all these issues and challenges shortly.
Later this evening, Secretary Kerry and I will be joining foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to discuss Yemen. The UK is fully supportive of the UN process and the good work of the UN special envoy. We are clear that a political solution is the only way forward. I encourage the parties to engage in good faith, without preconditions, to respect the cessation of hostilities and to work towards finding a solution for the people of Yemen.
Let me finish by saying something about what I want us in this country to achieve with our foreign policy over the next few years, because obviously there’s a change that took place from the events of June the 23rd onwards. And I want us to reshape Britain’s profile as an even greater global nation, a Britain that is more active, more outward facing, more energetic on the world stage than ever before.
And clearly, as I have been saying repeatedly over the last few weeks, on our relations with the European Union, we have to give effect to the will of the people. But that does not mean in any sense leaving Europe. That would be – Europe – that we’re properly understood, that would be geographically, historically, culturally, intellectually, emotionally impossible.
After we’ve completed our extrication from the treaties of the European Union, after the negotiations, what I want to see – and I believe on this you and I are at one, John – is more Britain abroad, more of the UK presence on the world stage. And I think we now have a very exciting opportunity to achieve that.
It’s going to be a very busy but I’m sure a very worthwhile afternoon. Thank you very much. John, (inaudible).
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Boris, thank you very much. Thank you. Good afternoon to everybody. And thank you, Boris, for not only a very generous welcome but literally for a very warm welcome – (laughter) – to London. And I particularly congratulate you again on your appointment as the foreign secretary.
I also want to thank Prime Minister May. I’m particularly grateful to her for taking time to meet with me earlier to convey her – where she conveyed her gratitude for President Obama’s conversation with her and we expressed our gratitude for the strong relationship between our countries. And we had a very frank and substantive discussion this morning. We had a very frank and substantive discussion today. But this now is the second day in a row that I am seeing Boris Johnson, and we will be seeing each other in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, so we’re off to a fast start in terms of addressing the challenges that we face.
I also am grateful to the prime minister for her strongly stated, very pronounced commitment to living up to the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. And Boris has just reiterated that now. We all saw also, through her very swift actions as she formed her government without delay, that she is clearly ready to hit the ground running, and that was certainly my impression in the conversation that I had with her today.
One thing that also struck me from the prime minister’s first comments in office was her commitment to the precious bonds, as she called them, among citizens, communities, and the regions of this country. And for all of us who have been wondering about what has been taking place in terms of both the votes and the politics of the country, that is reassuring and important.
In that spirit, I return to London today to reaffirm ourselves the special and unbreakable ties between the United States and the United Kingdom. And these are more than words, folks. I don’t want to just say them. They’re not just the words of diplomacy. They really aren’t. This is a genuine expression of a feeling of friendship, and it is built up over years and years of common sacrifice, common endeavor, common interests, common values that have been shared consistently between us.
I think that it is clear that no shift in administrations – and I’m speaking for us either – in either of our countries is going to alter or undermine the bonds that we have. And the reason for that is very basic. Our alliance is rooted in the ties of family, language, culture, common interests, shared values, the history of the last century, the sacrifices we made together to build the international structure that we live by today, a structure of rule of law, and a belief in open the markets and democratic governance, in human rights, personal rights, in freedom, tolerance, and equality. And whether it’s people’s safety and security are being threatened, as it was today on a train by a young person with an ax, or by a deranged and somehow inspired individual getting in a truck and mowing down countless numbers of people, or any of the other horrible visions that the world has had visited on it over the course of the last several years, the fact is none of those things are going to be lessened, diminished, and our commitment to them likewise will remain as strong as ever.
So the fact is that the United States of America depends on a strong United Kingdom, and we mean united. And it depends also on an engaged United Kingdom. There is occasion after occasion in my tenure as Secretary of State where the presence of the United Kingdom, the involvement of your foreign secretary – whether it was William Hague with whom I first began or whether it was then Philip Hammond – we have consistently been able to work together to do things that have made a difference to the safety of people on this planet. And that is particularly pronounced in the Iran nuclear agreement and in the climate change agreement we reached in Paris.
As I said in Brussels, we also depend on a close relationship with the European Union. And as Britain and the EU begin negotiating the new terms of their partnership, America is rooting for and will do all we can to try to encourage and assist in the development of the smoothest possible transition and a highly integrated and collaborative UK-EU relationship.
Now, in my meetings today I was gratified by the reassurances that I heard from Prime Minister May and from Foreign Secretary Johnson. I am convinced that this UK Government intends to lead as strongly as ever within NATO, the UN Security Council, the G7, the G20, the Counter-Daesh Coalition, which will meet in Washington in a couple of days, and they will do so on behalf of international security as well as the security of the people of Britain, as well as for stability and prosperity and on behalf of all of us in the democratic community of nations. I think we all count on the role that the UK can play, on the contribution that it can make, and we rely on it to play a central role in global affairs, cooperating on a wide range of pressing issues.
And I don’t think there is a time – I speak for the United States – when we have been confronted by as many different areas and regions with challenges, all of them with an impact on global security, all of them needing a response simultaneously. And for the United States, we are more engaged in more places simultaneously than at any time in American history.
Now, we talked briefly today and we talked a little yesterday about the challenge that is posed by Daesh/ISIL and other violent extremist groups and also about the progress that we are making against Daesh in Iraq, in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. We shared ideas also about the reforms that are necessary in Ukraine and how we can move to fully implement Minsk, and what is needed both by Russia and the Ukrainians in order to move forward in the Minsk process. And we are committed to doing so.
We talked about the Middle East and about recent events in Turkey, obviously, and about the importance of implementing both the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.
Later today, as Boris mentioned, we are going to be gathering with our fellow foreign ministers, first with a smaller group that will talk about Syria, and then subsequently we will meet with Arab colleagues to talk about Yemen, both of which we think we have the possibility of making progress on.
I intend to provide an update on my trip to Moscow and negotiations with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and the concrete steps that the U.S. and Russia are planning to take. We are still planning – I talked with Foreign Minister Lavrov again today. We both believe that we have an understanding of the direction we’re going in and what needs to be achieved, and our teams will meet shortly in order to continue to do that, in order to bolster the cessation of hostilities and in order to increase our capacity to fight back against al-Qaida, which is Nusrah, as well as to fight back against ISIL.
We will also do everything in our power to improve the delivery of food, medicine, water, incredibly essential humanitarian needs that need to be met. And ultimately – and I met today here in London with Staffan de Mistura to talk about the role the UN needs to play and will play as we go forward in this process.
This evening, we have a dinner that will deal with Yemen and how we can further the process in Kuwait and advance the prospects for an agreement that brings the Yemeni people the peace and security that they need and deserve.
So that’s scratching the surface of regions and challenges that we face, but they are some of the most pressing. And I know that Boris is fully prepared to and ready to jump into this agenda. I appreciate the commitments he has made and his readiness to see to it that this steady relationship of ours continues with the same sense of purpose and the same commitment to the values that we share.
I’d just close by saying to you – and I don’t want to overdo this, but on the other hand, it’s not a small deal. And it’s particularly not a small deal when you’re just a few meters away from the bunker and the place from which Winston Churchill guided this nation and the free world, together with Roosevelt and others through the war and through a great challenge against fascism, and how together we then went on to win the Cold War and the difference that that has made to so many nations that today are democratic because of it. More democratic nations in the world than any time in history.
So I just point out that when times have been tough and we have faced them together, we have listened to the words of Winston Churchill, who spoke to a joint session of Congress about what can be achieved by British and Americans working together heart and hand. So that’s our intention. The challenges today are more varied. They’re more complex. They require different responses. They are less clear-cut in many ways and they have a mix of religion and sectarianism and clash of culture and history and modernity that was not part of an age-old struggle of nation-states in their competition for territory and dominion.
So this is a different time and it requires different thinking. And I welcome a colleague who I know is committed by education and career and thinking to play his part in our efforts to meet this particular challenge. Thank you.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Thank you very much, John. And we’re going to go – I think we’re going to have a couple questions from the UK, then the American media. James Landale, BBC.
QUESTION: James Landale, BBC. Good afternoon. Foreign Secretary, six months ago you argued strongly that the West should work with President Assad to defeat IS. You now say that he has to go. What was it that changed your thinking, apart from the fact that you’re now in government? And do you fear that the Americans, by working so closely with the Russians at the moment, might end up in a place where they do begin to seek some kind of accommodation with Assad?
Secondly, as this is your first news conference since your appointment, can I give you this opportunity to apologize to world leaders you may or may not have been rude to over the last 12 months – (laughter) – and ask us what your strategy is to try and rebuild trust?
And Secretary Kerry, now that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, can you confirm what President Obama said that Britain is now at the back of the queue when it comes to international trade deals? And secondly, in all your years as a statesman, have you ever come across anybody quite like Boris Johnson? (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: I’m going to take – I’m going to – I’ll give you some time to think about that, John. (Laughter.) Just on the second point first, James, look, I mean, we – I think we could all spend an awfully long time going over lots of stuff that I’ve written over the last 30 years of some serious issues, and all of which in my view have been taken out of context, but never mind. There’s some serious issues before us today: a humanitarian crisis, real problems in Egypt on the agenda tonight, and of course, the continuing crisis in Yemen.
And looking actually directly at the whole question that you raise about Assad and whether he should go, it’s always been my view that he should go and I think it’s – that’s agreed amongst everybody in the Western powers.
What we also want to see – and I think that it’s very interesting that you’ve had some productive discussions, John, in Moscow over the last couple of days – I think there is a prize. For me there is a – no one would deny that the situation in Syria is hellish at the moment, and it is very, very hard to see a way through. But if there is a way through, then it must surely involve the regime somehow coming to terms with the moderates in the opposition somehow engaging in a peace process with them, at the same time as agreeing to a transition away from power for Assad, which is what everybody wants to see, and everybody then concentrating their fire, their energies on the threat, which is from Daesh/ISIL. That is what is our objective. And I won’t say it’s going to be easy, but that seems to be – to me, to be the best way forward.
SECRETARY KERRY: So with respect to the trade relationship and where we’re going, we actually talked about that a little bit. We talked about it yesterday, obviously, with the Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels. And let me just say that, obviously, there are complicated questions that are posed by Brexit, and everybody understands that. I think that Prime Minister May, Chancellor Merkel, Boris, Philip Hammond – people have been making responsible statements – Federica Mogherini – about how we need to be calm, how we need to be thoughtful, how we need to proceed to work through as rapidly as we can the ways in which this can be managed to maximize the benefit and minimize whatever negative aspect there is to it.
So everybody understands that as a starting point here, folks, the UK has to work to define its new trade relationship with the EU. I mean, that’s obvious and automatic. And the British have told us that they can’t sign any kind of new trade agreement, and I think it stands to common sense that you can’t do that, until they’re no longer a member of the EU.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: That’s right.
SECRETARY KERRY: So there’s a certain time period here, no matter what, a process that may take at least a couple of years, before anyone could contemplate some kind of an agreement.
Now, President Obama has also made it very clear – and I very much support this point of view not because I work for him, but it’s the right point of view – that we need to talk, all of us. We need to talk together. We need to talk with the EU; the EU needs to talk to the UK. People need to be trying to figure out, okay, so now this is happening and we need to do this in a way that’s as thoughtful as possible. And everybody has very high stakes in that. Our citizens depend on the prosperity that has come with the remarkable transformation of the global economy over the years, but not enough to enough people. And that’s a phenomenon in the United States, as well as it is here, as well as it is in other parts of the world. So we can benefit by talking to each other and trying to figure out how we continue to be able to grow our economies, but do so in a way so that every single income earner within those countries benefits appropriately from that journey.
Now, with respect to Boris Johnson, my colleague now – and let me just say that I served 28 years in the United States Senate; one year and a half, two years, as a lieutenant governor; as a prosecutor for many years; I ran for president of the United States; and I have now been Secretary of State for three and a half years, so I have met everybody in the world like Boris Johnson, or not. And I don’t even know what you mean, “like Boris Johnson.”
Our ambassador to the EU in Brussels, who I just spent the evening with the other night, had the privilege of going to Oxford with Boris Johnson. And in fact, Boris Johnson got him to come into the Oxford Union, of which Boris was president, and talked to me about some great experiences that they had together there. And he told me that this man is a very smart and capable man. That’s the Boris Johnson that I have met —
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: That’s (inaudible). I can live with that. I could live with that. I can live with that (inaudible). (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: — and that’s the Boris Johnson that I intend to work with, and we intend to make good things happen together.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Phew, just stop there. (Laughter.) That’s great. Thank you for this —
PARTICIPANT: It’s called diplomacy. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Fantastic. (Laughter.) It’s going well, John. Thank you very much to you. (Laughter.) I think we got through that one all right. (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary of State.
Could we go to – I think we got a – sorry, it’s your question now, John. It’s a question from the U.S. media, if you want to identify someone from U.S. media.
SECRETARY KERRY: Brad Klapper of AP.
QUESTION: Thank you. I have a question for each of you as well. First, Mr. Foreign Secretary, I have to follow up on my colleague’s question because you didn’t quite answer it. You’ve accused the current U.S. President, Barack Obama, of harboring a part-Kenyans, quote, “ancestral dislike for the British Empire”, unquote, while claiming, I think untruthfully at the time, that he didn’t want a Churchill bust in the White House. You’ve described the possible future U.S. president, Hillary Clinton, as someone with, quote, “dyed blond hair and pouty lips, and a steely-blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” unquote. You’ve also likened her to Lady Macbeth. Do you take these comments back, or do you want to take them with you into your new job as some sort of indicator of the type of diplomacy you will practice?
And then one for the Secretary of State: Given that Mr. Johnson led a campaign that your government viewed pretty universally as detrimental to UK, EU, and even U.S. interests, what confidence do you have that, as foreign secretary, Mr. Johnson will represent the interests of anyone but himself? Is the Mr. Johnson you saw during the referendum campaign what the UK, EU, and U.S. needs right now at a time of so many challenges?
SECRETARY KERRY: I couldn’t hear the last sentence of that.
QUESTION: Is the Mr. Johnson you saw campaigning before the referendum the type of man you think the UK, the EU, and the U.S. needs right now at a time of so many challenges?
SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Okay, you want me to go first?
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Let —
SECRETARY KERRY: You want to go?
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Well, just to thank you for giving me an opportunity, really, to repeat a point that I made earlier on. I’m afraid that in the – there is such a rich thesaurus now of things that I have said that are being one way or another, through what alchemy I do not know, somehow misconstrued that it would really take me too long to engage in a full, global itinerary of apology to all concerned. And I think most people – most people who read these things in their proper context can see exactly what was intended. And indeed, I find that virtually everybody I’ve met so far in this job understands that very well, particularly on the international scene.
And we have some very serious issues before us today. We have an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria, which, as I said earlier on, is getting worse and worse. We have to come up with some answers there. We have real problems in Yemen, which are currently intractable, and we have a burgeoning crisis in Egypt.
Those, to my mind, are far more important than any obiter dicta that you may disinter from 30 years of journalism.
SECRETARY KERRY: So Brad, what we’re doing in Afghanistan together, what we’re doing in the UN Security Council together, what we’re doing and did in the Iran nuclear agreement and in its application, what we are doing in the fight against ISIL together, what we are doing in Libya, what we are doing with respect to rule of law, South China Sea, North Korea, nuclear weapons, what we are doing with respect to developmental policies and the vision of the United Nations in 2030 – and I can go on and on and on – has absolutely nothing to do with the referendum that took place here in Great Britain. And I am absolutely confident, with respect to all of those issues and more, that Secretary Johnson is committed on behalf of his government and the people of Great Britain to following through on that. And they have made that clear before the referendum and after the referendum that they remain deeply committed to NATO, to the UN Security Council, to the G7, to the G20, to the treaties, and to all of the endeavors which will make this world safer.
So I’m confident, yes, that as long as the British people, because this is a democracy, provide a budget and support these endeavors, because it does matter to their security and prosperity, that we will continue to work extremely closely together.
Now, with respect to the question of the referendum of Mr. Johnson before the referendum et cetera, the people of Britain voted. This is a democracy. We all expect a democracy. Yes, it is a fact President Obama and I both said we thought that we would be better off with a continuation of the UK’s membership within the EU, and that’s a well-known fact, but that’s not the way the people of this country voted. And we respect democracy, all of us. Therefore, it is our job to implement in the best way possible what people voted for and to try to guarantee that the response is going to meet their standard, not ours. That’s the ultimate arbiter of this.
So I am absolutely confident, yes, that post-referendum that we’re going to work together, and we talked about specific things that we need to do to try to avoid negative consequences and work on the positive ones. And I do know this, as I said earlier, and I’m not throwing this away as a casual comment of diplomacy, but I believe that Secretary Johnson brings considerable intellect and value – values – to this initiative, and I look forward to working with him.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Thank you very much, John. I think we’ve got one more question from the UK media – James (inaudible).
QUESTION: Good afternoon. A question for you both, if I may, and if I could take you back to that comment about Britain being at the back of the queue —
SECRETARY KERRY: Do you mind – mike closer? Thank you.
QUESTION: Sure. The comments about Britain being at the back of the queue – if I understood your answer right, you were saying that until we have exited the EU, you cannot begin negotiations with Britain. And therefore does that mean we are indeed still at the back of the queue, or is it possible for you to begin informal negotiations about what a British-U.S. deal might look like?
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I didn’t say that we couldn’t begin conversations or negotiate. What I said is it’s impossible to sign an agreement until the EU issue is resolved, and that obviously takes a period of time. But President Obama made it very clear the other day, as did our trade representative, Michael Froman, that we are absolutely prepared to engage in conversations because it would be irresponsible not to.
QUESTION: And in which case —
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: I really couldn’t add anything to that superb answer.
QUESTION: In which case, when you were sat down just then, did you begin those informal negotiations?
And then secondly, if I may, a domestic question for the foreign secretary. While we journalists have been gently baking in here, the new home secretary has been asked if she would recommit the government to the tens of thousands target in relation to immigration and declined to do so, saying only that she now wishes it to be reduced to sustainable levels. And I wonder if you agree that it’s time for the tens of thousands target to go.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Well, just on your first question, James, I think that Secretary Kerry, John, is completely, completely right. It is legally impossible to enter into another trade deal whilst we are in the EU. Though clearly you can begin to pencil things in, you can’t ink them in, and that’s the – that’s entirely right and proper.
On migration numbers, I think the home secretary’s entirely right to be careful about committing to numbers, because one doesn’t want to be in a position where you’re disappointing people again. But what is certainly possible post a – post leaving the EU and once we end our obligations under uncontrolled free movement, it will be possible to have a system of control, and that was what we were talking about in the referendum campaign. You can’t do that immediately, clearly, because we are still in the EU and subject to uncontrolled free movement. I’m sure that everybody here understands that.
And as for the heat of the day, it is very, very great, but we have some beautiful surplus German water cannon, so – (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Is there something in store for me I’m not aware of? (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: It’s what I feel like at the moment, actually.
SECRETARY KERRY: We all do.
Last question from the U.S. side, Gardiner Harris of The New York Times.
QUESTION: Mr. Foreign Secretary, I understand that you don’t want to revisit the past, perhaps, but you have an unusually long history of —
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: This one again.
QUESTION: — wild exaggerations and, frankly, outright lies that I think few foreign secretaries have prior to this job. And I’m just wondering how Mr. Kerry and others should believe what you say considering this very, very long history.
And Mr. Kerry —
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: I appreciate the First Amendment and your right to free speech, but I think we need chapter and verse on this stuff. Sorry. You —
SECRETARY KERRY: No, go ahead. (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: This is what you would do if you were in my place. (Inaudible.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: Oh, I’m sorry. Look, I mean – let me just —
QUESTION: Let’s go.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: — repeat my point, which is that I think people are more than welcome to rake over the stuff I’ve written over many, many years, but I think the most important thing is to get on with the very heavy agenda we have before us today and to try and sort out, if we can, some of the intensifying problems we’re seeing, particularly in Syria. And I think most people who are paying their taxes would rather that those were our priorities.
SECRETARY KERRY: You had a part of the question for —
QUESTION: Well, I think we’re all sort of – I want to go back a little bit to the trade deals. Sir, you’ve struck two different trade deals, and the United States has TPP and TTIP. You spoke at length about TTIP yesterday in Brussels. It’s an important priority for you, for the United States. Given that we’re all – the United States is already deeply invested in these two large trade deals, is there any chance that the Administration – this Administration or the next – will prioritize a trade deal with Britain over those already in the queue?
SECRETARY KERRY: It would be physically impossible to do so. I think we’ve made that clear here today. It’s not a question of discretion, it’s just it’s physically impossible to do so. Until Great Britain – until the UK is not part of the EU, it is part of the EU. It’s that simple. And so we are going to continue to negotiate with the EU, and I find that in my meeting yesterday in Brussels there was very broad support for re-engagement on the EU. And I intend to come over here – I’ll be – probably give a speech in a few of the countries in Europe regarding this, because I think there’s a mythology that has attached itself to this because we were very busy negotiating TPP, and some people sort of automatically came out and said, well, TTIP is bad because of this or bad because of that.
No. TTIP is even more important, I believe, and President Obama believes, to Europe now – much more important. And I think that it is an opportunity for us to be able to demythologize it. For instance, regulations do not go downwards. It does not usurp people’s ability to have strict standards. It embraces strict standards and it empowers people to be able to regulate their products and economies. And we have respected that in the TPP. We have increased labor rights within the TPP, and I am convinced that it is possible to address the concerns that exist within Europe with respect to TTIP. It’s just that there hasn’t been enough pro advocacy taking place with respect to how this will benefit. But for all those people who voted because they don’t think they’re getting the benefits of globalization, we believe that passing TTIP is in fact the way to begin to guarantee you will get those benefits and that there will be more of those benefits going forward.
And I’m very – feel very confident of this. I voted on any number of trade agreements since I went into the Senate in 1985, going back to NAFTA. And while they are still controversial in some places, the controversy cannot be argued to be because it doesn’t increase the market or because it doesn’t increase access to goods or because it doesn’t provide more consumer choice. It’s because, unfortunately, in certain countries, including mine, not enough of the benefits of that trade have flowed all the way up and down the economic food chain so people feel the benefit of the work that they’re doing to produce those goods. And that is a reflection of tax policy. That is a reflection of social policy. It’s a reflection of whether or not you have stabilization funds, ongoing education. There’s always a certain amount of shift and change within any economy that is modernizing and transforming. But nobody can argue legitimately that the last 30 to 40 years with respect to Europe in terms of the medicines that are available, the places people can go to get a job, the types of jobs that are available, the income levels that people have, aren’t significantly better than the world that existed before these transformations have taken place.
So we’re going to argue for it, we’re going to work for it, and we don’t believe that the current situation prevents us from being able to advance that agenda.
FOREIGN SECRETARY JOHNSON: I passionately agree with what John just had to say just now. And I think you’re absolutely right in your analysis about people not feeling that they’re sharing the benefits of globalization, and people on low income seeing their wages basically stable or in some cases declining while others are increasing. But in fact, the answer to that is to invest in skills and invest in human capital and to boost the productivity of our country. It is not – and this is a crucial thing – about the UK post-Brexit. It is not to close ourselves off or to become any less international. On the contrary, we’ve got to be more outward looking, more free trading, do more deals around the world. And you will discover, gentlemen, if you look carefully at my articles, a long article in defense and in praise of the TTIP.
Thank you very much, everybody, for coming out.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Nice to be with you. Thank you.