- January 30, 2018
NCAPEC Executive Roundtable
- February 1 - February 4, 2018
- February 24 - March 9, 2018
First Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM I)
- March 7, 2018
SOM Dialogue on the Digital Economy
- March 13 - March 16, 2018
Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting (FCBDM)
Giving U.S. Business a Voice in the Asia-Pacific
The National Center for APEC (NCAPEC) is dedicated to advancing the U.S. business community’s views in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. Established in Seattle, Washington in 1994, NCAPEC is the only U.S. business association focused exclusively on facilitating private sector engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process.
The annual APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting will take place May 20-21 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The meeting brings together senior trade officials from the 21 member economies to review APEC’s work on top global trade and investment issues and to identify goals for senior officials to pursue over the latter half of the year. The meeting serves as a key inflection point, driving APEC officials’ work throughout the year and acting as a “checkpoint” on initiatives leading up to the APEC Leaders’ meeting in November.
Each MRT meeting results in an official statement, the most recent of which was developed in May 2016 during Peru’s APEC host year. The statement focuses on APEC’s annual themes identified by the host economy. This year, Vietnam has identified the following four themes:
- Strengthening regional economic connectivity;
- Fostering sustainable, creative, and inclusive growth;
- Supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises; and
- Enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture, as well as climate change adaptation.
Beyond these priority areas, another major topic of discussion is likely to be support for the multilateral trading system. With the United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its renewed interest in pursuing bilateral agreements, APEC Trade Ministers are likely to discuss what’s next for multilateral trade initiatives –such as the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). This new direction is likely to be a significant focus among APEC Trade Ministers this year, as well as the road ahead on trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
Though the U.S. Senate has not yet confirmed Amb. Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative, Reuters reported that the Senator Finance Committee may seek to move Lighthizer’s confirmation forward after the April recess. If confirmed along that timeframe, he would be in place in time to attend the APEC MRT meeting in Hanoi.
Lighthizer previously served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative during the Reagan Administration. While at USTR, Lighthizer negotiated bilateral international agreements and participated in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now the World Trade Organization) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development meetings.
In the lead up to the MRT, members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) will meeting in Seoul to develop their annual ABAC Letter to Ministers Responsible for Trade. ABAC’s letter includes high-level policy recommendations on a wide array of topics, ranging from mining and services to digital trade and finance. NCAPEC (as the Secretariat for ABAC USA) is working closely with its ABAC members other ABAC economies to ensure the final letter delivered in Hanoi reflects U.S. companies’ interests and priorities. The final letter helps guide APEC’s work throughout the year and identifies top priorities from the global business community.
Though the MRT is a government-to-government meeting, the event creates a valuable opportunity for U.S. companies to engage with senior trade officials from the 21 APEC economies. On the margins of the MRT, Vietnam’s Ministry of International Trade is organizing a symposium on trade and innovation that will include a dialogue with APEC Trade Ministers. Separately, NCAPEC is working to secure meetings with senior APEC economy officials on behalf of the U.S. APEC Business Coalition.
NCAPEC Executive Vice President Alex Parle attended the annual Spring Summit meeting of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC), held in Guangzhou, China on April 20-21. The event was an valuable opportunity for representatives from the 29 AmChams that comprise APCAC to discuss important public policy issues they face across the region. The Summit agenda featured presentations by NCAPEC Board members Jeff Hardee (Caterpillar), Catherine Simmons (Citi), and David Katz (PayPal), as well as a keynote speech by NCAPEC Chairman Scott Price (Walmart).
APCAC’s next event will be its annual D.C. door knock from June 19-22. During this time, APCAC members will meet with members of the Trump Administration and Congressional representatives to convey key messages contained in their annual white paper. NCAPEC signed a cooperation agreement with APCAC in February and looks forward to working closely with the group to support U.S. business interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
Earlier this year, NCAPEC sent a letter in support of the ABTC Reauthorization Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) that would permanently would permanently reauthorize the issuance and use of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). Since the United States began issuing ABTCs in 2014, more than 25,000 U.S. citizens have received cards. These cards have provided U.S. business executives quicker access through participating airports, facilitating travel and engagement in APEC economies in the Asia-Pacific and Western Hemisphere. The ABTC allows executives to spend less time on travel and more time on what matters most: exploring trade and investment opportunities and winning new business deals with global partners. Reauthorizing U.S. participation in this important program prioritizes American business and promotes trade and investment activities that are critical to a strong and growing U.S. economy.
NCAPEC continues working with stakeholders in the House and Senate to advance this bill in 2017.