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NEWSLETTER

Giving U.S. Business a Voice in the Asia-Pacific

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.


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President Obama, President Xi, and the leaders of the 19 other APEC member economies convened in Manila on November 18 and 19 for their annual gathering to discuss cooperation on economic issues in the Asia-Pacific region.  The 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was complemented by a number of important and productive meetings between public and private sector representatives. Some highlights included:

CEO Summit

This year was a homecoming of sorts for the APEC CEO Summit, which got its start in Manila in 1996 as the APEC Business Forum. As in years past, delegates at the Summit were treated to a number of high-level discussions, as well as numerous opportunities to engage directly with senior government officials through the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition (see below).

The Summit agenda covered issues ranging from global trade to disaster resilience and included speeches from President Xi of China and senior executives from NCAPEC members including FedEx, GE, JPMorgan,  Moody’s, UL and Walmart. In true APEC fashion, business and government took the stage together in a session that saw U.S. President Barack Obama moderate a discussion between Aisa Mijeno, a Philippine-based social entrepreneur and CEO of SALt, and Chinese tech tycoon Jack Ma.

 

U.S.-APEC Business Coalition

U.S. business delegates also had the opportunity to participate in side meetings with U.S. and foreign government officials organized by the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition. Highlights included meetings with President Sang of Vietnam, Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, Trade Minister Lembong of Indonesia, Trade Minister Groser of New Zealand, U.S Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, and U.S. Senior Official for APEC Matt Matthews.

Business Coalition Meeting Image

NCAPEC and the U.S. APEC Business Coalition also supported the hosting of an engaging breakfast discussion with ABAC Members, U.S. and Philippine government officials, and private sector representatives on Creating Ethical Cultures Through APEC Cooperation: Lessons from the Philippines. Special thanks to Deloitte for their support of this event.

 

NCAPEC Annual Luncheon

The National Center for APEC’s annual luncheon served as a unique opportunity to bring together members of the APEC Business Advisory Council, U.S. delegates to the Summit, and the U.S. government delegation to APEC. This year’s luncheon guests had front row seats to a thought provoking dialogue between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Magali Silva, Peru’s Minister of Commerce, Foreign Trade and Tourism, which was moderated by NCAPEC Chair Emeritus Karan Bhatia. The luncheon opened with remarks from Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NCAPEC Chairman Scott Price, both of whom touched on the recent progress in advancing free trade by concluding the TPP negotiations.

Mike Froman, Magali Silva, and Karan Bhatia Conversing

 

ABAC IV

At the final APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting of 2015, members identified key areas of work for the coming year and prepared for their annual dialogue with APEC Leaders. ABAC discussed the APEC Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Marketplace, which is designed to facilitate business networking and matching involving MSMEs and enhance MSME awareness and feedback on trade regulations. ABAC also held discussions on the digital economy and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which highlighted recent studies that the Council had completed on both topics— Driving Economic Growth Through Cross-Border E-Commerce in APEC: Empowering MSMEs and Eliminating Barriers, and The FTAAP Opportunity: A Report to ABAC, respectively.

On November 18, ABAC Members gathered with APEC Leaders for their annual dialogue, which represented the culmination of the Council’s work in 2015. Themes of the discussions included:

  • Next steps toward FTAAP
  • Services
  • Infrastructure financing
  • Micro, small and medium sized enterprises
  • Sustainable development
  • Innovation and digital connectivity
  • Rule of law

Prior to Leaders’ Week, ABAC released its annual Report to APEC Economic Leaders, which this year is entitled Resilient Inclusive Growth: A Fair Deal for All. The report is designed to give leaders a business perspective on the most pressing issues facing trade in the Asia-Pacific region. The executive summary contains the following priorities, while the full text can be found here.

"Our recommendations are premised on the conviction that an open, predictable and transparent trade and investment environment for goods and services generates new opportunities for all. While much has been achieved, more needs to be done particularly in view of the changing dynamics of the global economy, which create new challenges to equitable and sustained growth. We urge strong action on trade agreements; on the services agenda; for micro, small, and medium enterprises; on the rule of law; for financial systems reform and investment; and sustainability."

APEC Leaders standing in groupThe National Center for APEC is partnering with the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) to bring you an event entitled "APEC and the Future of Asia-Pacific Trade and Economic Growth" on December 14th. The event will provide an opportunity to hear more about the outcomes from the 2015‪ APEC leaders’ meeting in Manila and the possibilities for APEC to continue playing a constructive role facilitating greater ‪trade and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Speakers at the event will include U.S. Senior Official for APEC Matt Matthews, former Indonesian Minister of Trade Mari Elka Pangestu, 2016 APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Chair Juan Raffo and NCAPEC President Monica Whaley. The session will be moderated by ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler. For more information, click here.

As Peru works to create new economic opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the Pacific Alliance, the country is also taking a leadership role as the host for next year's APEC meetings. Join the National Center for APEC and the Americas Society/Council of the Americas for a discussion with the two business leaders who will guide Peru’s private-sector engagement with APEC next year. They'll address Peru’s priorities for the APEC meetings and outline specific opportunities over the course of 2016.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables in Miami, Florida, on December 17 from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. The event is free of charge, but prior registration is required. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Arissan Ugles at augles@ncapec.org.

APEC will be returning to Latin America in 2016 for the first time since 2008, with Peru set to host meetings throughout the year, culminating in the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima on November 18-19. The overarching theme for the year will be “Quality Growth and Human Development”.

The Latin America region as a whole is in the midst of advancing a regional economic integration agenda that is remarkably similar to that of APEC. Facing many of the same challenges as APEC’s developing economies, Latin American countries are working together to tackle issues such as human capital development, infrastructure, SME development, supply chain development, trade facilitation, business mobility, and innovation.

However, growth in the region has stagnated recently, a trend driven in part by slack demand for the commodities the region exports to China and other Asian economies. As a result, policymakers throughout Latin America have found themselves in the unenviable position of trying to preserve the social gains achieved during earlier periods of expansion despite the lack of growth.

As the vanguard for free trade and economic integration in Latin America, Peru, Chile and Mexico are well-placed to serve as channels for sharing the best practices and lessons-learned in APEC with other countries in the region. Peru’s hosting of APEC in 2016 and Chile’s hosting three years later will provide excellent opportunities for practical and constructive engagement on the range of issues facing economies on both sides of the Pacific.

Connect with us on our various social media channels to keep up-to-date with Asia-Pacific and APEC related news and events.

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