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Good morning.  Tony and I are thrilled to host you this morning.  I had the opportunity the other evening to express my condolences to Minister Hagiuda, but I haven’t seen you, so Minister Hayashi, please – and your delegation, please accept our condolences for Prime Minister Abe.

It’s a pleasure to be here, as I said, and I could not agree more with you, Minister Hayashi, that the international rules-based order that the United States and Japan, along with our friends and allies, built is being challenged, which means it’s incumbent upon us to strengthen our tie and step up to ensure that they cannot challenge this rules-based order.  And I would suggest convenings of this kind are more important than ever, so thank you for enduring the long flight to be here with us.

We have a number of similar initiatives ongoing that all aim at the same goal.  Last November, Minister Hagiuda and I launched the JUCIP, the U.S.-Japan Commercial and Industrial Partnership, to ensure that METI and the Department of Commerce work together to promote competitiveness and innovation.  Today, of course, we are convening for the first time our economic 2+2 to discuss shared concerns of interest that are central to both foreign and economic policy.

I would say this format is the first of its kind.  It is ambitious, exciting, and timely in light of the threats that we are seeing around the world.  And the reality that, as you said, Minister Hayashi, economic security is very much more than ever tied to national security.

We have a mandate today to track what we have achieved together thus far and to drive cooperative efforts going forward in a way that can help further strengthen the rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific, and indeed, in the world.

I would take a minute to highlight that we’ve made significant achievements so far.  I’m especially proud of Commerce and METI’s joint work already underway in the JUCIP.  It’s already leading to concrete outcomes that we’ll discuss later today, including in the session which I am leading around building supply chain resilience.

Today in the rest of my comments, I also plan to focus on the newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which we believe is vital to establishing strength in the – economic strength in the Indo-Pacific.  I want to thank Minister Hagiuda for the leadership you’re providing in the JUCIP, but also in the IPEF, and for your close partnership in ensuring the success of the supply chain ministerial last week and the virtual ministerial for IPEF this week.  I commend you for participating in the virtual ministerial for IPEF and then immediately getting on a plane and coming here today.

Our shared interests make it imperative for us to continue leveraging dialogues like this, like the 2+2, like the JUCIP, like the supply chain, like the IPEF, to figure out concrete joint solutions for promoting economic growth, economic security that will also help us address the threats to the global economic order and enhance economic security and resilience.  So I’m excited to have a productive discussion today.

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