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USTR Robert Lighthizer Statement on APEC Trade Meeting

May 21, 2017

Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Bilateral Engagement for Fair and Free Trade in the Region

Hanoi, Viet Nam -- United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer attended the 23rd Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Viet Nam, May 20-21. The meeting marks Ambassador Lighthizer’s first international trip as U.S. Trade Representative.

With Viet Nam as the 2017 APEC host economy, the APEC meeting topics included efforts to facilitate digital trade in the region, expand services markets, strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protections, and eliminate barriers to agriculture and food trade.

“It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade – a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive U.S. trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand U.S. export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.”

In the margins of the MRT meetings, Ambassador Lighthizer met trade ministers of APEC member economies, including through formal bilateral meetings with the following economies: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Viet Nam, China, and Australia.


The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the premier economic forum in the Asia Pacific region. The United States is a founding member of APEC, which now consists of 21 member economies.

The Asia Pacific region is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world.  U.S. goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled $2.7 trillion in 2015 (latest data available).  The U.S. goods trade deficit, however, with APEC economies was $576 billion in 2016. 

APEC provides an opportunity for the U.S. to address this trade deficit by engaging trade partners to expand market access for U.S. exports and addressing unfair trade practices.