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Fact Sheet: 23rd Annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting

November 19, 2015

President Barack Obama met with Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Manila to adopt a set of ambitious initiatives under this year's theme of "Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World."

Now in its 26th year, APEC has contributed to a tremendous rise in economic prosperity that directly benefits approximately 40 percent of the global population who live in APEC economies. Since APEC's establishment in 1989, members have seen a ten percentage point reduction in their average applied tariff rate, trade grow to $20 trillion, and their collective GDP rise to 58 percent of the global total.

Under the chairmanship of Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, APEC Leaders committed to a number of concrete actions to support inclusive economic growth under the broad priorities of: 1) enhancing the regional economic integration agenda; 2) fostering Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) participation in regional and global markets; 3) investing in human capital development; and 4) building sustainable and resilient communities.

The United States worked with APEC economies this year to expand trade and investment, promote shared prosperity and inclusive growth, address challenges to our health systems, and provide cleaner and more resilient communities for our citizens.

Enhancing Regional Economic Integration

APEC Leaders and Ministers expanded trade and investment liberalization by:

•      Launching substantive work to explore ways that APEC economies can reduce barriers to digital trade, including its consideration as a potential next generation trade and investment issue. Data flows and the use of digital inputs into all forms of business models make this a key 21st century trade issue.

•      Enhancing the ability of SMEs to access the digital economy through the Digital Economy Action Plan.

•      Facilitating cross border business activity through the expansion of globally interoperable privacy frameworks through economy and industry participation in the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, as well as working to develop bridges between APEC CBPR's and similar systems in Europe.

•      Endorsing the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF), which marks an important step in focusing APEC's attention on this vital segment of the world economy. The future roadmap under the ASCF aims to expand trade and investment in the service sectors, which will lead to job creation and growth in areas where the United States has a strong advantage.

•      Welcoming progress on the Collective Strategic Study on Issues Related to the Realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). The United States looks forward to a finished product at next year's APEC Economic Leaders' meeting in Peru.

•      Setting a strong example for the rest of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Membership, with 11 APEC Economies notifying the WTO of their acceptance of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). With this leadership, APEC continues to push for the earliest possible entry into force of the TFA.

•      Demonstrating leadership on the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion. The United States is pleased that expansion participants were able to successfully conclude the product coverage list, and now looks to conclude the negotiations to put those tariff cuts into effect by the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference. This outcome will result in the first tariff-eliminating result in the WTO in 18 years.

•      Supporting progress made on the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations. The EGA will build on the success of the APEC Environmental Goods commitment by eliminating tariffs on a broader set of clean energy and environmental technologies, supporting U.S. green jobs while advancing global environmental protection efforts.

•      Reaffirming they would reduce applied tariffs on the APEC Environmental Goods List to 5 percent or less by the end of this year, a ground-breaking Leaders commitment that originated in the 2011 U.S. APEC host year.

•      Adopting a roadmap to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

•      Welcoming substantial progress toward the goal of a 10 percent improvement in supply chain performance by reducing the time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific.

•      Agreeing to redouble efforts to make it easier, faster, and cheaper to do business across the Asia-Pacific with a new 10 percent improvement target by 2018.

•      Examining alternatives to localization requirements. The United States is leading the effort to address the negative effects of forced localization requirements on trade and investment.

•      Directing officials to finalize at the earliest possible time a list of best practices in trade secrets protection that promote innovation and investment.

•      Promoting effective advertising standards by endorsing principles to help guide governments in creating efficient regulation of commercial advertising that promotes trade, investment, and effective consumer protection.

•      Endorsing the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR), which over the next five years will reduce barriers to firms engaging in trade. These changes help further open markets and foster a more competitive, transparent, rules-based international economic environment.

•      Affirming the critical role of effective industry-regulator cooperation in the development of food safety regulations and strengthened food safety systems by establishing a network of trainers in aquaculture supply chain management and advancing work in export certificates, laboratory competency, and pesticide maximum residue limits.

•      Taking a step towards eliminating unnecessary export certification for wine by 2018 by advancing the development of a consolidated APEC Wine Export Certificate.

Promoting Shared Prosperity and Inclusive Growth

APEC Leaders and Ministers took steps to ensure that all of our citizens have the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from global economic growth by:

•      Reaffirming the importance of the APEC growth strategy to ensure regional growth and economic integration are sustainable and inclusive.

•      Reaffirming commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), which sets a comprehensive, universal and ambitious framework for global development efforts for the next 15 years and to ensuring that no-one is left behind in our efforts to eradicate poverty and build an inclusive and sustainable future for all.

•      Reaffirming commitment to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which provides a comprehensive roadmap to help economies implement policies to attract and mobilize diverse sources of financing critical for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

•      Increasing the participation of micro, small and medium-size enterprises in global markets by reducing barriers to their ability to internationalize and making it easier to do business globally.

•      Empowering women and facilitating women's participation in the economy, including through the Women's Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) initiative's support for women entrepreneurs; and the collection and use of sex-disaggregated data to inform policy discussions and capacity building priorities, including through the Women and the Economy Dashboard.

•      Increasing women's participation in all modes of the transportation sector workforce and making transportation safer and more accessible to women as users, through implementation of the Women in Transportation Framework.

•      Elevating cooperation to promote the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities as part of APEC's agenda.

•      Improving the business environment for SMEs in the healthcare sector by reducing corruption and other types of unethical practices and doubling the number of industry association codes of ethics over the past three years to cover over 19,000 firms across the region.

•      Commending the early realization of APEC's 2020 student mobility target of 1 million intra-APEC university-level students per year, and calling on economies to continue efforts to promote mobility of students, researchers, and education providers.

•      Endorsing the first ever "State of APEC Tourism Report" in support of efforts to achieve 800 million international arrivals among APEC economies by 2025.

Address challenges to our health systems

APEC Leaders and Ministers took steps to strengthen our health systems and address health-related threats to our economies by:

•      Committing to reduce and eliminate barriers to trade in healthcare products.

•      Launching public-private partnerships to reduce hospital acquired infections, improve infection prevention and control practices, and address the proliferation of anti-microbial resistant pathogens in support of the Global Health Security Agenda and its Action Packages.

•      Welcoming the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit, which addresses health-related barriers to women's participation in the workforce, and calls on economies, private sector partners, and advocates to develop actions to implement its recommended policies and practices.

•      Launching a public-private training network to ensure the safety and sustainability of the blood supply in APEC economies.

•      Establishing an APEC Digital Hub to promote innovative solutions to strengthen mental health.

•      Launching a pilot project to better enable companies to track and trace counterfeit and substandard medicine.

Resilient and Sustainable Communities

APEC Leaders and Ministers committed to actions to provide cleaner and more resilient communities, including by:

•      Endorsing the APEC Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and committing to develop an action plan in 2016.

•      Welcoming the APEC Principles for the Movement of Humanitarian Goods and Equipment during Emergencies to provide faster relief to those in need after disasters and remove bottlenecks in the supply chain.

•      Initiating the Trade Recovery system, in collaboration with the World Customs Organization, to allow effective exchange of critical information between economies with the private sector during transportation disruptions.

•      Promoting appropriate donations after times of disasters.

•      Increasing supply chain resiliency through promotion of best practices in hazard mapping and risk management as well as supporting the APEC Seven Principles of Supply Chain Resilience to facilitate economic recovery following natural disasters.

•      Calling on member economies to: increase protection for anti-corruption officials; fight bribery and corruption including by international cooperation through the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET); and combat illicit trade by promoting cultures of integrity across borders, markets, and supply chains.

•      Recognizing the critical role of customs officials in detecting and intercepting illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products, and leading efforts to strengthen their capacity and contribute to global efforts to halt wildlife trafficking.

•      Sharing information and improving reporting and cooperation on laws relevant to illegal logging and associated trade.

•      Welcoming the commitments to undertake Fossil Fuel Subsidy Peer Reviews by Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, and Brunei Darussalam, the initiation of a peer review by the Philippines, and the completion of peer reviews by Peru and New Zealand, in order to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

•      Expanding collaborations, sharing best practices, and implementing capacity building activities to reach Leaders' aspirational goal to double the share of renewable energy in APEC's energy mix by 2030.

•      Accelerating efforts to promote energy efficient policies, technologies, and approaches, expand collaboration, share best practices, and build capacity to reduce APEC's aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035, including efforts to reduce the energy intensity of growing data centers in APEC.

•      Establishing an Energy Resilience Task Force to foster collaboration on increasing the resiliency of energy infrastructure to natural disasters and climate change.

•      Reducing aviation emissions while improving supply chain performance.

•      Advancing sustainable management and conservation of oceans and coastal resources, reducing fish loss, and promoting free and open trade of fish and aquaculture products.

•      Launching pilot programs to address the issue of marine debris through improved municipal waste management.

•      Adopting the Cebu Action Plan to promote financial integration; advance fiscal reforms and transparency; and enhance fiscal resilience.

•      Finalizing green building codes and building information modeling tools that enable economies to conserve energy and other resources, consistent with APEC efforts to reduce energy intensity.

Extensive Economic Engagement

Taken together, APEC economies form a substantial portion of the global economy. APEC economies account for approximately 40 percent of the world's population, approximately 58 percent of world GDP, and about 44 percent of world trade.

The United States is a significant trader with APEC economies. U.S. goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled over $3 trillion in 2014. Exports totaled $1.3 trillion; imports totaled $1.7 trillion. The United States had a $2.5 trillion in total (two-ways) goods trade with APEC economies during 2014. Goods exports totaled $1 trillion; goods imports totaled $1.5 trillion. U.S. goods exports to APEC economies in 2014 increased by 3.3 percent ($31.5 billion) from 2013, and rose by 91 percent from 2004. U.S. exports to APEC economies account for 61.8 percent of overall U.S. exports in 2014.

The five largest U.S. export markets for goods within APEC are: Canada ($313.5 billion), Mexico ($240.2 billion), China ($124.7 billion), Japan ($68 billion), and Korea ($46.1 billion). The top export categories to APEC economies in 2014 were: Machinery ($144.6 billion), Electrical Machinery ($124.3 billion), Vehicles ($98.7 billion), Mineral Fuel (oil) ($76.5 billion), and Aircraft ($57.5 billion). U.S. exports of agricultural products to APEC economies totaled $109.9 billion in 2014. Leading exports include: soybeans ($20.9 billion), corn ($7.3 billion), beef and beef products ($6.3 billion), pork and pork products ($6.2 billion), and dairy products ($5.6 billion) and fresh fruit ($4.3 billion).

U.S. trade in services with APEC economies (exports and imports) totaled nearly $418 billion in 2014 (latest data available). Services exports were $272 billion, up 2.6 percent ($7.0 billion) from 2013, and up 111 percent since 2004. Services imports were $145.7 billion in 2014, up 3.2 percent ($4.5 billion) from 2013. The U.S. services trade surplus with APEC members was $126.3 billion in 2014, up 2 percent from 2013.

The United States has a strong investment dynamic with APEC. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in APEC economies (stock) totaled $1.2 trillion in 2014, up 3 percent from 2013. U.S. direct investment in APEC economies is concentrated in nonbank holding companies, manufacturing, and finance/insurance sectors. APEC economies' FDI in the United States (stock) was $789.3 billion in 2014, up 7.4 percent from 2013. APEC economies' reported direct investment in the U.S. is led by the manufacturing, wholesale trade, and finance/insurance sectors.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: 23rd Annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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