On November 20, President Barack Obama and the Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum adopted a set of ambitious initiatives at the 24th annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting under the theme of Quality Growth and Human Development. Under the chairmanship of Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the United States worked with other APEC Leaders and Ministers to make sure that the benefits of the global economy are more broadly shared by more people. That is a central part of our work in APEC, to find ways that we can raise standards for trade across the region and bring benefits to more of our people.
APEC economies account for approximately 40 percent of the world's population, approximately 59 percent of world GDP, and about 49 percent of world trade. U.S. goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled over $2.9 trillion in 2015. U.S. exports to APEC economies accounted for 62.3 percent of overall U.S. exports in 2015. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. goods exports to APEC economies supported an estimated 4.2 million jobs in 2015. U.S. trade in services with APEC economies (exports and imports) totaled nearly $475 billion in 2015. Services exports were up 98 percent since 2005 and the U.S. services trade surplus with APEC members was $130.1 billion in 2015.
Expanding Trade and Investment
· Reaffirming commitments on monetary and exchange rate policies and refraining from competitive devaluation, and not targeting exchange rates for competitive purposes.
· Endorsing the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR), which will pave the way for long-term, ambitious services liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region by 2025.
· Committing to continue substantive work that explores ways that APEC economies can reduce barriers to digital trade.
· Endorsing the Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement Against Misappropriation, which will nurture entrepreneurship, innovation, and social policy goals.
· Reaffirming that economies should not conduct or support information and communications technology (ICT)-enabled theft of intellectual property or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.
· Enhancing digital value chains and promoting digital trade in APEC by advancing economy and industry participation in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system.
· Supporting the Initiative of 12 APEC economies to facilitate digital trade by agreeing not to impose customs duties on electronically transmitted content.
· Endorsing the Phase Two Supply Chain Framework Action Plan 2017-2020 to enhance trade facilitation and connectivity.
Shared Prosperity and Inclusive Growth
· Advancing women’s economic empowerment by reducing barriers in science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and transportation fields, and promoting women’s health outcomes to enhance workforce participation.
· This year marks the five-year anniversary of APEC’s 2011 agreement in San Francisco to dismantle barriers restricting women’s participation in the economy and maximize their contributions to economic growth. To catalyze these efforts moving forward, the United States together with Chinese Taipei announced their intention to support APEC’s launch of a sub-fund in 2017 aimed at increasing women’s economic participation.
· Redoubling efforts to make it 10 percent easier, faster, and cheaper to do business in the region by 2018 through implementing the second phase of the Ease of Doing Business Initiative. The United States is championing efforts to simplify business registration and widen access to credit, both of which are vitally important for small business development.
· Working to eliminate corrupt practices across health systems by championing a code of ethics.
· Welcoming the APEC 2016 health agenda to advance mental health policy development, cervical cancer prevention and control, and blood supply chain training.
Provide Cleaner and More Resilient Communities for Our Citizens
· Reaffirming APEC’s aspirational goal to double the share of renewable energy in APEC’s energy mix by 2030 and furthering efforts to realize the commitment to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
· Addressing the challenges of food security, development, and climate change by launching a new multi-year APEC Program on Food Security and Climate Change and promoting a comprehensive approach towards rural-urban development.
· Safeguarding our natural resources by reaffirming commitments and encouraging cooperation to combat illicit trade associated with illegal logging, fishing, and wildlife trafficking.
· Strengthening food safety systems through enhancing predictability and transparency in developing regulations and industry-regulator dialogue.