Ambassador Kirk just returned from Yokohama, Japan where he joined President Obama for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. This week’s trade spotlight will highlight the significance of the annual meeting.
APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. Because it is a non-binding, voluntary organization, APEC has the flexibility to take on pressing and new cutting-edge 21st century issues as they emerge. It originally started as an informal annual meeting and is now the primary dialogue between the 21 participating economies.
The United States works within APEC to open markets in the Asia-Pacific region and connect them to American exporters, including our small businesses, ranchers, and farmers. This includes eliminating barriers to trade and investment, creating better business environments, and building a level economic playing field in the region that will help Americans compete and succeed. APEC initiatives also lay the foundation for high-standard, comprehensive trade agreements – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that will help the United States strengthen economic ties with the region.
APEC members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam. These economies account for 44 percent of global trade, with U.S. goods exports to APEC countries totaling more than $600 billion in 2009. APEC economies also include some of the most important markets for U.S. agricultural exports. In 2009, the United States exported $71.5 billion of agricultural goods to APEC economies. In fact, eight of the top 10 U.S. agricultural export destinations in 2009 were APEC economies.
By engaging with the emerging economies in APEC, the United States can increase exports and create high-paying, sustainable jobs for American workers.