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Giving U.S. Business a Voice in the Asia-Pacific
The National Center for APEC is dedicated to the proposition that business must have a voice in the development of policies that impact the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. NCAPEC is the only U.S. business association focused exclusively on facilitating American private sector input into Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process.
(Left to Right: President Xi Jinping of China greeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia. 'Business of Innovation' panel with John Rice, General Electric Company, Cher Wang, HTC Corporation and Eric Rudder, Microsoft. Moderated by Ellana Lee, CNN International Asia Pacific)
"I was struck by the fact that the Bali meetings were so different from the humble beginnings of private sector engagement at the first APEC Economic Leaders Meeting held in Seattle back in November of 1993. Back then it was considered groundbreaking for the private sector to have even the most modest participation in hosting the meetings and engaging directly with delegates at reception events.
In contrast, the 2013 meetings featured policy discussions between government and the private sector, dynamic exchanges between Leaders and executives on the CEO Summit stage, and even intimate dinners with Leaders and CEOs. The business program in 1993 consisted of 60 business representatives around a table meeting with APEC Trade Ministers throughout the course of a day; the 2013 CEO Summit had more than 1,200 delegates and interactions with APEC Leaders from 14 economies. What a difference two decades has made!" - Monica Hardy Whaley, President, National Center for APEC
Over 1,200 business leaders from around the region gathered for the 2013 APEC CEO Summit, under the theme of “Towards Resilience and Growth: Reshaping Priorities for Global Economy.” For two days they convened on a wide range of topics including inclusive growth, the global trading system, innovation, connectivity, and emerging markets. Leaders from China, Russia, Indonesia and Japan, as well as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, addressed the gathering. Many other APEC Leaders also participated in panel discussions and candid conversations with business leaders throughout the program.
U.S. businesses were again prominent as sponsors and participants in the Summit, with 13 major U.S. corporate sponsors and 5 U.S. media partners. Several U.S. CEOs were featured in prominent speaking roles and interacted with APEC Leaders and global thought leaders during the Summit program.
In addition to the primary program, Summit sponsor companies were involved in hosting small, high-level dinners with several APEC Leaders, while others hosted ‘themed’ dinners on issues such as global trade or healthcare. These dinners offered an opportunity for business leaders to interact in small, intimate and unscripted discussions with APEC Leaders and Ministers.
(U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussing America's leadership and priorities)
As incoming host for APEC, the Chinese government is set to take the reins from current chair Indonesia in January 2014. In preparation for its hosting, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce held the Informal Senior Officials Meeting, or ISOM, at the National Convention Center in Beijing on December 10. This annual event is an important opportunity for the incoming host economy to share its early thoughts on priorities and areas of cooperation for the coming APEC year and receive feedback from fellow APEC economies and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). NCAPEC Executive Vice President Alex Parle participated in the event on behalf of the U.S. ABAC Members.
China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Baodong will serve as SOM Chair, a role which gives him overall responsibility for China’s hosting of APEC next year. In this capacity he served as Chair of the ISOM where he announced that “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership” will serve as the overarching theme for 2014.
Under this, China aims to focus APEC’s work under the following priority areas:
• advancing regional economic integration;
• promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth; and
• strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development.
Work under advancing regional economic integration centers on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation is a core focus for APEC. China has proposed that governments consider how APEC can make positive contributions to global and regional trading regimes for example, by leveraging APEC to support implementation of the WTO’s Bali Package and working to ensure transparency and compatibility among mega-regional trade deals in the Asia-Pacific. Enhancing the efficiency of global value chains will also be a focus under this priority.
Elements of China’s own economic policy agenda are apparent in the second priority, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth. Citing a strong need for APEC economies to identify new drivers of economic growth, China has proposed a focus on structural reform, developing the Internet economy, and promoting innovative growth and green growth.
Finally, China will be carrying forward the APEC agenda on strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development set forth by Indonesia in 2013. This effort will focus on improving physical, institutional (regulatory) and people-to-people connectivity among APEC economies. For the U.S. private sector, improving the environment for infrastructure investment and promoting compatibility among regulatory regimes are important areas of focus under this theme.
While the Chinese government has been busy developing the agenda for 2014, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, or CCPIT, has been hard at work developing plans to maximize private sector engagement with APEC over the course of the coming year. In addition to organizing the APEC CEO Summit, CCPIT is working with NCAPEC on proposals for a number of business engagement opportunities to be held on the margins of major APEC ministerial meetings that will be held in China throughout next year.
Expectations are always high when an economy as important as China takes the reins of APEC. Based on the level of preparation and effort seen so far, NCAPEC is confident that China is well placed to deliver meaningful results for APEC stakeholders in 2014.
(From left to right: Moderator Larry Greenwood, MetLife Alico, Puneet Verma, Chevron, Philip Vaughn, Fluor Corporation, Jeff Moon, Cisco, David Katz, Visa Inc.)
The National Center for APEC’s Executive Roundtable brought together business and government stakeholders to lay the groundwork to advance initiatives during China’s hosting of APEC in 2014. The diverse audience included senior government and private sector representatives from the U.S. and China, as well as representatives from the APEC Business Advisory Council from the U.S., Japan, the Philippines and Canada.
Attendees enjoyed a variety of panels and discussions on pertinent Asia-Pacific trade and economic issues, such as: regional economic integration, connecting markets, sustainable and inclusive growth, and APEC and the global trade agenda.
The Roundtable's opening dinner featured an interview-style discussion between U.S. ABAC Member Bart Peterson and Michael McDonough, Global Head of Economics and Chief Economist at Bloomberg L.P. The discussion focused on a number of issues, ranging from the global economic recovery, implications for a U.S. budget agreement, as well as the drivers of economic performance across the APEC region. McDonough noted that economic growth has not yet reached a sustainable escape velocity to continue expanding without government intervention. Growth is expected to continue to accelerate next year, allowing for decreased government intervention. However, recovery is still fragile, and the prospect of withdrawal of government intervention could disrupt economic growth, particularly for those economies with current account deficits.
From a long-term perspective, McDonough noted that Southeast Asia will be a center of growth in the coming decades, particularly given its demographics and large working population, whereas many other economies, including Japan, China, and Korea are currently facing aging populations or will do so within the next decade. China's growth is expected to begin to slow to a more sustainable level, which will provide stability and ensure that infrastructure investment is more effectively and efficiently implemented while overcapacity is reduced.
In addition, NCAPEC partnered with the Brookings Institution to hold a joint session on China's economic reform agenda and its implications for the Asia-Pacific's economic and trade landscape.
Speakers expressed optimism about steps that President Xi Jinping has taken to personally advance various reforms, but shared concerns about a lack of meaningful change to critical areas such as state owned enterprises. Participants unanimously stressed the TPP's importance both to the United States and the regional economy and noted that China's perspective of the trade deal has evolved from TPP as a mechanism for containment to seeing it as a potentially positive mechanise for driving domestic reform. Speakers were also optimistic about China's interest in a U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty, noting that government ministries appeared focused on facilitating its development. Finally, in spite of its limits, the Shanghai Free Trade Zone was generally seen as a positive development that should not be dismissed.
NCAPEC and Brookings Institution Panel:
Scott Price, Chairman, NCAPEC and President and CEO, Walmart Asia
Stanley Roth, Vice President, International Government Relations, The Boeing Company
David Dollar, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution
Mireya Solis, Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies, Brookings Institution
(Moderator) John Thornton, Chairman, Brookings Institution
The National Center for APEC collaborated with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to develop a report entitled "Attracting and Harnessing Infrastructure FDI to Secure Lasting Economic Growth". The report highlights how diverse government institutions and areas of policy need to be coordinated in close cooperation with the private sector to facilitate successful FDI in infrastructure.
Containing contributions from experts throughout the region, the publication covers several critical aspects of policy, including steps needed to attract FDI, the importance of developing robust PPP mechanisms and how economies can prepare for future trends in infrastructure development. The report was also designed to support and reinforce the ABAC's recently released "Enablers of Infrastructure Investment Checklist", which is included as an annex. The Checklist is designed to serve as a tool for officials to self-assess the extent to which their economies attract and facilitate FDI in infrastructure and subsequently report back to their peers in APEC.
Economic Empowerment and Inclusion of Women in APEC Economies
The National Center for APEC worked closely with ABAC to develop a report that highlights why women's economic empowerment is a fundamental element of the inclusive growth that APEC strives to promote, and how it's vital to the future competitiveness of the Asia-Pacific region.
Health in APEC: Creating Economic Prosperity Through Strategic Health Care Investments and Enabling Environments for Business
The National Center for APEC worked closely with health policy stakeholders to develop a report that highlights the positive health and economic outcomes that result from investment in health systems and business friendly regulatory environments. The report goes on to provide details on how APEC is enabling deep, substantial partnerships between the business community, academia and the public sector to address healthcare challenges as well as further promote trade, investment and economic growth in the region.
Leveraging Innovative Solutions to Create Economic Dividends: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific
The National Center for APEC partnered with TRPC, a consultancy based in Singapore, to develop a report that profiles how companies and organizations in the region are leveraging new technology and innovative solutions to generate economic dividends.
To view publications from previous years, click here.
NCAPEC recently launched a blog to provide stakeholders and interested parties with information and viewpoints on relevant Asia-Pacific trade and economic issues. NCAPEC’s unique position, which places it close to both U.S. business and the U.S. government, as well as its 20 years of experience in APEC, allows the organization to bring a distinct and experienced voice to APEC discussions.
So far, posts have included: a preview of the 2013 CEO Summit in Bali, a transcript of Secretary of State John Kerry’s address at the CEO Summit, a look at a report on the economic state of APEC, an analysis of potential topics for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s address at the 2013 Summit, and a post written by NCAPEC Program Director David Boman for Investment Policy Central.
NCAPEC plans to provide not only relevant and timely information, but also commentary and insight into issues that impact U.S. business within the Asia-Pacific region.
To visit the National Center for APEC’s blog, click here. To follow NCAPEC’s other social media outlets, follow any of the links at the bottom of this page.
The APEC Secretariat’s Policy Support Unit recently released a collection of graphs that highlight the current state of APEC’s economic climate, and illustrate a number of trends related to APEC economies’ growth.
In recent years, APEC has managed to consistently reduce the simple average of its applied tariff rates on all products, an achievement that has led to strong economic growth and business competition within the APEC region.
APEC economies have also consistently outperformed the rest of the world in terms of Real GDP Growth per capita. These pieces of data portray encouraging trends that will in the short term help to accelerate, and in the long-run reinforce, the economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region.
There are still areas in which progress is needed. APEC economies would benefit from greater average logistics performance and policies that make doing business easier (some of APEC’s largest economies rank in the bottom half of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index).
However, the prospects for growth in APEC economies remain strong, and as an organization APEC will continue to be a valuable mechanism for facilitating and liberalizing trade in the Asia-Pacific.
**Program to be followed by networking reception from 8:00-9:00 pm**
Every year, NCAPEC and the Asia Society co-host a briefing to review issues discussed at the APEC CEO Summit, assess priorities for the coming year, and explore what these trends mean for the region’s future. This past year in Bali, Indonesia, as host to APEC, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that the grouping was more important than ever as its member economies continued to “feel the pain” of the global economic crisis. There was a conspicuous absence — President Barack Obama, bogged down by disputes in Washington, had to cancel his trip at the last minute. This left China and its President Xi Jinping solely in the spotlight and raised questions about U.S. influence in the region.
As Chair of APEC in 2014, China takes the reins in a period marked by change and uncertainty on both domestic and international fronts. Having completed the Third Plenum, the country’s new leaders are embarking on a series of reforms that aim to restructure China’s economy. Further, next year will bring developments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
How will China’s domestic reform agenda impact the development of these free trade Initiatives and how can U.S. companies find their footing in an ever changing Asian business landscape? How will China’s economic headwinds impact Asia’s role as the driver of global growth and where does the U.S., a key member of APEC, fit into this major shift?
14 January 2014 6:30pm - 8:00pm
725 Park Avenue New York, NY
Peter A. Petri is the Carl Shapiro Professor of International Finance at Brandeis International Business School. With recent research focusing on major trade negotiations in the Asia-Pacific region, he is active in U.S.-Asia affairs and is a former chair of the U.S. APEC Study Center Consortium.
Robert S. Wang (invited) is the U.S. Senior Official for APEC. Previously he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Beijing. Dr. Wang is a career Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State.
Monica Whaley was named President of the National Center for APEC in 2009. She has previously worked at the Washington Council on International Trade and is also the current Chairman of the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition.
To purchase tickets for the event or to learn more, click here.