MR. KIRK: Jim, thank you again. I want to thank the Montana Host Committee for putting together a wonderful welcoming reception for us. I want to thank Governor Schweitzer for that brief geological history of Montana and bringing Asia and the Asia-Pacific to this great state. And I especially want to thank our friend, Senator Max Baucus, for providing us the inspiration to bring this wonderful conference here to Montana.
I am pleased to be joined by our Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke. We'll be joined by representatives of our small business administration. We have our Assistant Secretary for the National Economic Council and the President's principal advisor, Mike Froman, as well, and so many others. And I'm thrilled to see so many of my colleagues from my various APEC economies that are here with us. And for the first time we are joined by so many of our small businesses, not just from here in Montana, but around the United States and from many of your economies.
It's a real privilege for me to have the opportunity to host you this year as we prepare for our leaders meeting later, in Hawaii. We are thrilled to be here in Big Sky. Many of you entreated on me to take you somewhere other than Washington. I don't know that there's any place that better exemplifies and embodies the spirit of the United States and our history and our open frontiers than here in Montana in front of this beautiful place. So we are thrilled to have all of you here.
I had the privilege of coming here from New York, from my daughter's commencement yesterday, and as I sat in the rain for three hours, I had to be thinking the way you all are: How long is he going to talk? So I can hear that roar in the back, so that means we have done our jobs in terms of the hospitality.
We have serious work to do. APEC is a wonderful gathering because we are a group of like-minded economies that are committed to a common purpose of facilitating trade, improving the quality of lives and our communities. We've got good work that we're going to lay out, you know what that is; we'll talk more about that tomorrow, but we're going to have a great time, we're going to have great fun. Take in a bit of Montana. Get out on that lift right up to see the mountains. You are as close to heaven as you're ever going to be right here in Montana. Let's make sure that we get good work.
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