Kazan, Russia - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued a statement today at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum's annual Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade. The meetings took place on June 4 and 5 in Kazan, Russia in the Republic of Tatarstan.
From Ambassador Kirk:
"The United States thanks and congratulates our gracious Russian hosts for the APEC meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade - in particular my new counterpart Minister Andrey Belousov and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. We thank also the citizens of Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan for providing a fascinating home for these discussions.
"We are pleased that as Russia leads APEC in 2012, vital work is continuing. Together, we are tackling protectionist barriers in the form of local content requirements, seeking to streamline regional supply chains more broadly, and taking concrete actions to liberalize environmental goods and services trade.
"Last November’s APEC Leaders’ agreement to reduce tariffs on environmental goods to five percent or less was a huge, huge step in this vital sector of trade. We stand with our Russian hosts and our APEC partners in resolving to fulfill our leaders’ commitment to produce by their meeting in September a credible and robust list of goods to which these cuts will apply.
"There is much else to celebrate. It is an honor to be here as Russia's WTO entry draws nearer. Indeed, it is a pleasure to work with all of our APEC partners to seek new horizons at the WTO - from trade facilitation, ITA expansion, services, LDC accessions, and beyond - after December's historic turning of the page on Doha. Also, for those of us who are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this meeting offers an opportunity to mark together continued progress toward an agreement.
"Our common goal is to keep APEC’s agenda on the cutting edge. It is clear that Russia's host year is helping to do so, building in new and vital ways on APEC's legacy of success in liberalizing Asia-Pacific and even global trade."