On the occasion of the closing meeting of Chile’s APEC host year, the United States applauds Chile’s leadership throughout 2019. This year marks the 30th anniversary of APEC’s founding, and we remain committed to working through APEC to open markets, promote high standards, and achieve free, fair, and reciprocal trade.
APEC is the premier platform for the United States to engage our regional partners on trade and investment issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Taken together, APEC’s 21 economies account for approximately 38 percent of the world’s population, approximately 60 percent of global GDP, and about 47 percent of world trade. APEC members are already seven of the top 15 markets in the world for U.S. goods exports. Our work in APEC advances our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. By opening markets and advancing fair trade initiatives across the APEC region, we make it easier for U.S. businesses to succeed abroad, and generate strong economic growth in the United States and the region. Over 6.1 million American jobs are supported by U.S. exports of goods and services to the APEC region.
The United States values APEC as a forum for public-private collaboration, including through engagement with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and welcomes the appointment of Peggy Johnson from Microsoft to ABAC. She will represent U.S. industry alongside Nate Gatten from American Airlines in 2020. We thank outgoing U.S. ABAC members Scott Price of UPS and Marija Zivanovic-Smith of NCR for their commitment and service over the last three years.
We have worked closely across the U.S. government with Chile and our APEC partners to advance the efforts below in the areas of trade, improving the business environment, digital economy, women’s economic empowerment, and sustainable economic growth:
Free, Fair, and Reciprocal Trade
The United States works with partners in APEC to advance free, fair, and reciprocal trade and investment in the region while delivering meaningful results for U.S. businesses. U.S. priorities in APEC include advancing services trade, preparing other economies for participation in high-standard trade agreements, and supporting implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, estimated to reduce global trade costs by ten to eighteen percent when fully implemented. The United States is a leader in services trade, with a 2018 global services trade surplus of $260 billion, accounting for a third of all U.S. exports, and is a dominant contributor to foreign direct investment flows. The consensus APEC 2019 Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement calls for continued progress on U.S. priorities such as services, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), digital trade, and trade facilitation. We continue to work in APEC to lower barriers to U.S. exports and open markets for U.S. businesses by:
- Increasing services competitiveness through increased transparency and predictability of domestic regulatory requirements and procedures;
- Increasing APEC economies’ understanding of the safe and sustainable benefits of genetically engineered and genome edited agricultural products to improve farmers’ livelihoods, increase food security, and expand the trade of products from agricultural biotechnologies;
- Facilitating trade in safe food and decreasing costs of regulation by reducing the use of burdensome and unnecessary export certificate requirements for food trade and streamlining science-based certificate requirements and through partnerships with governments, industry, academia, and development banks;
- Advancing trade facilitation to reduce the cost of exporting by supporting U.S. industry and other stakeholder priorities through the convening of the U.S.–led APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2); and
- Improving efficiency in supply chains and lowering costs for trade by improving the publication of customs requirements and streamlining expedited shipments.
Better Business Environment
Leveling the playing field and opening markets for U.S. companies is central to our efforts in APEC and in the broader Indo-Pacific region. We do this by working with member economies to improve implementation of economic policies, business regulation, and fair competition. We also work with economies to implement good regulatory practices, break down barriers to doing business, and institute anti-corruption measures. APEC promotes quality infrastructure investment, including through advocating for transparent procurement processes and partnering with the private sector. Our work in APEC makes it easier to do business in the region for U.S. companies by:
- Identifying economies’ challenges as outlined in the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators and sharing best practices;
- Helping businesses, particularly SMEs, engage in cross-border trade by lowering transaction costs, co-establishing the APEC Online Dispute Resolution Framework, and connecting businesses with Framework-compliant online dispute resolution providers;
- Building and sustaining ethical business practices in the healthcare sector including supporting the launch of the Chile Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration that supports SMEs across the region;
- Enabling investments in new technologies and U.S. biotechnology exports by reducing regulatory burdens through enhanced cooperation and coherence for agricultural biotechnologies’ regulatory frameworks among APEC economies;
- Leveling the playing field for APEC businesses by doubling down on combating corruption in the region for the past 15 years, including preventing and combating foreign bribery;
- Promoting good business practices to attract investors to the small-scale mining sectors through the development of a publicly-available business training curriculum;
- Preventing unnecessary regulatory barriers and supporting U.S. companies’ exports to the region by aligning standards and conformance measures across the Asia-Pacific through the 12th APEC Conference on Good Regulatory Practices; and
- Helping U.S. medical device and pharmaceutical companies do business in the region through harmonizing regulatory environments.
Innovation and the Growth of the Digital Economy
The digital economy is growing rapidly in APEC economies and is a high priority for the United States. Through APEC we are promoting policies that facilitate digital trade and promote a free and open internet. The U.S. digital economy accounts for an estimated 6.9 percent of GDP with the potential to boost annual GDP by $2.2 trillion by 2025. We work in APEC to support U.S. businesses and innovators in the digital economy by:
- Strengthening consumer privacy protections, protecting American jobs, and enhancing market access for U.S. companies across the Asia-Pacific with nine APEC economies through the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system, which reduces data localization restrictions and barriers to cross-border data flows;
- Promoting high-standard approaches to digital trade through the adoption of principles on prohibition of data localization requirements and upholding the free flow of data;
- Strengthening trade in digital products through promoting increased member economy participation in the APEC Pathfinder on a Permanent Customs Duty Moratorium on Electronic Transmissions, including Content Transmitted Electronically;
- Building consensus on the benefits of using globally-recognized cybersecurity standards and finalizing the APEC Framework for Securing the Digital Economy to promote interoperability, alignment, and economic growth;
- Bridging digital workforce needs through partnerships with employers and academia and the development of an APEC Roadmap on Closing the Digital Skills Gap by 2030;
- Fostering innovation for U.S. inventors seeking patent protection in foreign markets through increasing awareness on the benefits of patent grace period harmonization in the APEC region; and
- Shaping the APEC Economic Policy Report 2019: Structural Reform and the Digital Economy and sharing best practices in areas such as cross-border data flow and competition policy.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
Women’s full participation in the economy is a top priority for the United States, including through the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, and we support Chile’s leadership in elevating this issue as a central priority for the first time in APEC’s history. We are using data to promote women’s participation in high-growth and higher-wage sectors, including transportation, science, and technology; addressing legal and regulatory barriers to women’s economic empowerment; and supporting women entrepreneurs (read more). We work in APEC to expand opportunities for women to participate in the economy by:
- Supporting efforts across APEC to increase women’s economic participation on key metrics through the APEC-wide ministerial-level La Serena Roadmap on Women and Inclusive Growth (2019-2030);
- Promoting education and career opportunities for women and girls in STEM by launching the APEC Women in STEM Principles and Actions; and
- Improving the legal, policy, and regulatory environment for women to enter, remain, and advance in the workforce through new policy research, found in the APEC Women@Work brief.
Resilient and Sustainable Economic Growth
The United States works with partners in APEC to address external factors that affect economic participation, such as health, secure trade and travel, and environmental issues. In particular, working to maintain healthy populations, build resilience, and promote the sustainable use of environmental resources are all necessary to maintain long-term economic growth. We work in APEC to mitigate the economic impacts of health, environmental, and security challenges by:
- Finding solutions for marine debris and its effects on our economies and ecosystems by funding an APEC Sub-fund for Marine Debris Management and Innovation and developing a ministerial-level APEC Roadmap on Marine Debris;
- Reducing and preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the APEC region through an APEC Roadmap to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing;
- Combating illegal logging and facilitating trade in legal forest products in the APEC region through focused engagement with frontline industry and international organizations;
- Promoting the security and resilience of regional supply chains, travel, finance, and critical infrastructure, as well as soft targets, from terrorism by encouraging economies to take collective and individual actions according to the APEC Consolidated Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy; and
- Supporting healthy populations and promoting the active participation of older persons in the economy.
For further information, please contact the Office of Economic Policy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at DOSAPEC@state.gov.