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A Primer on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC

August 8, 2012

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Tyler Voorhees is working in the Office of Public Affairs at the International Trade Administration for the summer. He is starting his senior year at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

We hope you enjoyed our month of covering transportation related exports in July. We talked about everything from the Farnborough Air Show to how remanufactured goods (including autos) can save your wallet and the environment.

During August, we will be highlighting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. APEC may not be a familiar topic outside international trade circles; however, it plays a vital role in the U.S. economy.

Under Secretary Sanchez (left) making remarks on innovation and Intellectual Property Rights at APEC St. Petersburg. (Photo APEC)

Under Secretary Sanchez (left) making remarks on innovation and Intellectual Property Rights at APEC St. Petersburg. (Photo APEC)

APEC was founded in 1989 to promote trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific Region. Today, APEC has 21 members, including the United States and some of its largest trading partners such as Canada, Mexico, China and Japan. Together, the region is home to 40 percent of the world’s population, but accounts for approximately 54 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 44 percent of world trade.

Originally, APEC was founded because of the growing interdependence of Pacific Rim economies. Over the past two decades, this interdependence has only increased, giving the organization growing importance each year. The broad goal of APEC is to decrease trade and investment barriers, facilitate business in the region while working to raise living standards across the region through sustainable economic growth and ultimately lead to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Between 1989 and 1992, APEC met at a senior official and Ministerial level. In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the practice of an annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Since then, APEC leaders have gathered annually during “Leader’s Week” to meet and discuss economic and trade issues in the region.  In 2011, the U.S. hosted the APEC meetings on a variety of topics ranging from addressing business ethics and standards to small and medium-enterprise growth and women’s issues.

Last year, Leader’s Week took place in Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, Russia is set to host the meeting in Vladivostok, the largest Russian port in the Pacific. There have been several ministerial meetings throughout the year, but Leader’s Week is scheduled to take place September 2-9.

This year, Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led the U.S Delegation to the Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SME) Ministerial Meeting in St. Petersburg on August 3rd. There, he discussed the importance of SMEs to economic growth and international trade. Make sure to follow our blog for a  report of the SME meetings.

One comment

  1. Small and medium sized enterprise is the backbone of our country.



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