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Themes and Priorities for APEC in 2011

May 15, 2011

Mrs Brenda J Fisher is the Senior APEC Affairs Coordinator and has been working in International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit for 28 years, of which the last 12 years have been focused on coordinating the US Dept of Commerce’s engagement in APEC

As APEC host in 2011, the United States will prioritize moving forward on concrete initiatives that build a “seamless regional economy” by achieving outcomes in specific priority areas:  (1) strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade; (2) promoting green growth; and (3) expanding regulatory cooperation and advancing regulatory convergence.

As directed by Leaders, in 2011, APEC should seek to strengthen economic integration by working to define, shape, and address the next generation trade and investment issues that should be included in 21st century trade agreements in the region, including a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.  This could include working to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and prevent new barriers from emerging, agreeing to adopt policies and regulations that foster innovation and promote the use of information and communication technologies, and advancing structural reform objectives in APEC economies.  Leaders also directed APEC to continue to work to make it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to trade in the region, including by taking steps to improve supply chain performance.

To promote green growth and help our economies make a successful transition to a clean energy future, APEC’s work to address barriers to trade in environmental goods could be accelerated, and work to remove tariffs and address non-tariff measures related to advanced technology demonstration products, such as vehicles, and to remanufactured and recycled goods could be advanced.  APEC will also consider how it could contribute to developing a work plan to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and a strategy to combat trade in illegal forestry products.

Also this year, APEC will explore ways to expand regulatory cooperation and promote regulatory convergence.  Addressing barriers related to technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment requirements is essential to lowering the costs of doing business and strengthening regional economic integration.  We should seek agreement on regulatory processes, including updated good regulatory practices, and on substantive standards, particularly related to emerging technologies and regulatory issues.

Stay tuned for more posts covering topics such as “How to Grow Your Small Green Business” seminar hosted this weekend, seminars on business ethics, sustainable business practices and sustainable supply chains.