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APEC Launches 2011 Efforts Toward Creating a Seamless Regional Economy in the Asia-Pacific Region

Washington, D.C.— Today senior officials from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum concluded their first meeting during the 2011 U.S. APEC host year. At this meeting in Washington, they made progress toward building a seamless regional economy in the Asia-Pacific by discussing practical and concrete ways to strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, promote green growth, and advance regulatory cooperation and convergence.

Officials addressed next generation trade and investment issues, including improving supply chain performance and innovation and trade in technology. They also agreed to identify and address the most onerous barriers faced by small- and medium-sized businesses trading in the region.

To promote green economic growth, APEC members discussed how best to address non-tariff measures that affect trade in environmental goods, streamline import procedures for advanced technology demonstration automobiles, facilitate trade in remanufactured products, and combat trade in illegal logging.

To advance regulatory cooperation and convergence, the senior officials supported U.S. proposals to work to strengthen the implementation of good regulatory practices and improve the effectiveness of APEC's regulatory cooperation activities. APEC economies also agreed to address issues that have the potential to act as barriers to trade in emerging green technologies, including smart grid technology.

We will look to further advance all these issues during the next set of APEC Senior Officials meetings, which will lead up to the APEC 2011 Trade Ministers Meeting, in May in Big Sky, Montana, hosted by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

BACKGROUND

APEC’s core agenda is to strengthen regional economic integration by addressing barriers to trade and investment. The 21 APEC member economies account for more than half of the global economy and 44 percent of world trade. Seven of the United States’ top fifteen trade partners are members of APEC.

The Senior Officials Meeting was chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman. U.S. Senior Official for APEC Kurt Tong and Assistant U.S Trade Representative Wendy Cutler led the U.S. delegation. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis gave opening remarks at an APEC conference on good regulatory practices on February 28 and welcomed APEC officials to Washington on March 9.