FACT SHEET: 22nd Annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
President Barack Obama met with Leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on the shores of Lake Yanqi in Beijing to adopt a set of ambitious initiatives under this year’s theme of “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership.”
Now in its 25th year, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has contributed to a tremendous rise in economic prosperity that directly benefits the almost 40 percent of the global population that live in APEC economies. Since APEC’s establishment in 1989, members have seen a ten percent reduction in their average applied tariff rate, trade grow to $20 trillion, and their collective GDP rise to 58 percent of the global total.
The United States worked at APEC this year to speed the flow of goods across borders, to promote structural reforms that support growth, and to develop policies that encourage investment in infrastructure. We have also worked with member economies to drive towards completion of the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement and advance the Environmental Goods Agreement, both of which emerged from APEC.
Under the chairmanship of Chinese President Xi Jinping, APEC Leaders committed to a number of concrete actions under China's broad priorities of: 1) advancing regional economic integration; 2) promoting innovative development, economic reform, and growth; and 3) strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development. The United States and APEC members support these goals through pursuing free and open trade, establishing regional scholarships, increasing capacity in disaster preparedness, and many other areas of cooperation.
Advancing Regional Economic Integration
APEC Leaders advanced trade and investment liberalization by:
- Accelerating and bolstering economy-level capacity building and technical assistance to achieve the APEC-wide goal of a 10 percent improvement in supply chain performance by 2015 and assist economies with the implementation of their WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement commitments.
- Affirming that APEC members will meet the ground-breaking APEC commitment to reduce tariffs to five percent or less by 2015 on the basis of the 54 products in the APEC List of Environmental Goods; submitting plans for how economies should implement that commitment by the time of the 2015 Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting in early spring; and launching new work to address non-tariff measures that impact trade in environmental goods and services.
- Raising awareness about the negative economic consequences of localization barriers to trade, especially regarding their impact on global value chains (GVCs).
- Fostering greater regulatory transparency by endorsing a set of actions and a capacity building program on conducting public consultations on proposed regulations through information technology and the Internet.
- Promoting widespread use of environmentally-friendly electric vehicles (EVs) in the region through greater alignment of regulations concerning vehicle charging, using international standards as the basis for new regulations, establishing a EVs Interoperability and Research Center by the end of 2015.
- Ensuring APEC remains a contributor to the realization of APEC’s long-term objective of realizing a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, and that APEC supports the participation of member economies in ongoing regional undertakings.
- Raising awareness about the importance of trade secrets protection and enforcement to innovation, foreign direct investment, and commercialization of research and development. Building on this work in 2015.
- Eliminating unnecessary export certification for wine by 2018 based on the recognition that wine is a low risk food product;
- Reiterating, in recognition of the threat terrorism continues to pose in the Asia-Pacific region, their commitment to make regional commerce more secure, efficient, and resilient through capacity building initiatives that support secure supply chains, travel, finance and infrastructure.
Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform, and Growth
Recognizing that prosperity in the region depends on an environment that supports trade and investment, APEC Leaders agreed to:
- Establish the APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard to monitor progress in APEC economies on key issues related to women’s economic empowerment, and to serve as a reference for future capacity building and evidence-based policy discussions.
- Develop a region-wide ecosystem to empower women entrepreneurs to 1) start and grow businesses; 2) increase their access to global supply chains; and 3) link them to existing support services and associations ultimately creating a Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) network.
- Reducing wasteful consumption of fossil fuels by expanding the number of APEC economies volunteering to undergo fossil fuel subsidy peer reviews. Peru completed and New Zealand initiated reviews this year and the Philippines will undertake a review in 2015.
- Establish an ambitious goal of doubling the share of renewable energy in the region’s energy mix by 2030 with collaborative projects to support this goal.
- Continue work on reducing energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035 with the next tranche of collaborative projects to support progress toward this goal.
- Address the pervasive problem of corruption in the region by adopting APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-bribery Laws and the General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs; enhancing cooperation across borders with the establishment of an APEC anti-corruption law enforcement network; and sharing best practices and case studies.
- Improve food security by undertaking research and capacity building to reduce post-harvest loss.
- Liberalize and facilitate agricultural trade and investment by recognizing the role of public-private partnerships in investment and reaffirm commitments against protectionism and export restrictions.
- Improve food safety in the APEC region, through work on risk-based inspections, allergen management, laboratory capacity building, and regulatory cooperation the Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and its Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN).
- Promote people’s health and well-being through the “Healthy APEC 2020” initiative by means of a comprehensive whole-of-society approach to health security, growth and development of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Jointly tackle pandemic disease, including the ongoing Ebola outbreak.
- Expand efforts to combat wildlife trafficking by reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement cooperation, and reaffirmed their commitment to treat wildlife-related crimes seriously.
- Reduce mercury pollution by encouraging APEC economies to take the necessary domestic measures to meet the requirements of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
- Support effective public donations practices, efficient supply chain and relief operations, and speedier economic recovery in disaster-affected areas by adopting the APEC Guidelines for Appropriate Donations in Times of Disasters.
- Operationalize a regional trade recovery communications mechanism for customs officials to utilize during large transportation disruptions.
Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity And Infrastructure Development
The APEC Business Travel Card has long been touted as one of APEC’s major successes in connecting the region by facilitating business travel. This year, the United States began issuing APEC Business Travel Cards to eligible U.S. citizens, enabling them to access the priority immigration processing APEC lanes in airports of foreign participating APEC economies.
In Beijing, Leaders took steps to increase connectivity across borders and to lay the groundwork for increased infrastructure development by:
- Adopting the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, aimed at strengthening physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity by taking agreed actions and meeting agreed targets, with the objective of achieving a seamless and comprehensively connected Asia-Pacific.
- Launching an APEC scholarship and internship initiative, to strengthen regional ties, build people-to-people ties, and promote economic development.
- Promoting regional science and technology collaboration through the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research, and Education (ASPIRE) by recognizing talented, accomplished young scientists who cooperate with scientists from other APEC member economies.
- Announcing the goal of doubling the number of tourists to 800 million among APEC members by 2025.
- Developing greater capability among APEC economies to advance public-private partnerships in infrastructure investment, including through adoption of an Implementation Roadmap, in order to attract private sector capital and promote market-based investment.
Extensive Economic Engagement
APEC member economies account for approximately 40 percent of the world's population, approximately 58 percent of world GDP and about 44 percent of world trade.
APEC economies represent a significant and growing market for U.S. goods and services. In 2013, U.S. goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled $2.5 trillion, accounting for 61.5% of overall U.S. exports in 2013. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. goods exports supported an estimated 4.3 million jobs in 2013.
The five largest U.S. export markets among APEC economies are: Canada ($301.6 billion), Mexico ($226.1 billion), China ($121.7 billion), Japan ($65.2 billion), and Hong Kong ($42.3 billion). The top categories of exports to APEC economies in 2013 were: Machinery ($139.6 billion), Electrical Machinery ($118.9 billion), Vehicles ($96.3 billion), Mineral Fuel (oil) ($70.7 billion), and Aircraft ($53.0 billion). U.S. exports of agricultural products to APEC economies totaled $104.7 billion in 2013. Leading categories include soybeans ($18.7 billion), pork and pork products ($5.6 billion), wheat ($5.5 billion), beef and beef products ($5.4 billion), and corn ($5.2 billion).
U.S. trade in services with APEC economies totaled $376 billion in 2012 (latest data available). The U.S. services trade surplus with APEC countries was $114 billion in 2012. U.S. exports of private commercial services (i.e., excluding military and government) to APEC were $244.9 in 2012 (latest data available), up 6.9% ($15.7 billion) from 2011, and up 120% since 2002.
The United States also has a strong investment relationship with APEC economies. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in the APEC economies (stock) totaled $1.2 trillion in 2013, up 6.4% from 2012. U.S. direct investment in APEC economies is concentrated in the nonbank holding companies, manufacturing, and finance/insurance sectors. APEC economies’ FDI in the United States (stock) was $723.9 billion in 2013, up 10.8% from 2012. Direct investment by APEC economies in the U.S. is led by the manufacturing, wholesale trade, and finance/insurance sectors.