The United States congratulates New Zealand for hosting a successful APEC year during the ongoing economic and health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout an entirely virtual APEC year, the United States sought to work with APEC economies to build a more open digital economy, advance women’s economic empowerment, strengthen supply chain resilience and trade facilitation, and promote sustainable economic growth. President Biden’s at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting highlights U.S. leadership and commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and to multilateral cooperation. Leaders endorsed the Aotearoa Plan of Action for APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040, which will actualize this vision by establishing concrete individual and collective actions.
WHY WE ENGAGE IN APEC
Through APEC, the United States seeks to advance a free, fair, and open economic policy agenda that benefits U.S. workers, businesses, and families. The 21 APEC member economies account for approximately 47 percent of global trade. As of 2020, fellow APEC members were the destination for more than 62.2 percent of U.S. goods exports, and six of the top 10 export markets for the United States are APEC members. Private sector input, through engagement with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and regular technical exchanges between governments, business leaders, and other stakeholders, is critical to ensuring that APEC is delivering pragmatic solutions to the key challenges facing U.S. workers and businesses at home and in the region.
MAKING TRADE IN THE REGION FREE, FAIR, AND OPEN
The United States is committed to working with APEC economies to make trade a force for good that encourages a race to the top and delivers economic prosperity for our workers and all our people. U.S. priorities in APEC include ensuring that trade policies are resilient and inclusive, and advance the needs of U.S. workers, consumers, and businesses, and preparing other economies for participation in high-standard trade agreements. The United States also works in APEC to advance the administration’s trade agenda by:
- Improving efficiency in supply chains and lowering costs for trade by improving the publication of customs requirements and streamlining expedited shipments;
- Advocating for broader APEC engagement on critical labor issues including the promotion of international recognized labor rights;
- Supporting robust public-private dialogues with key trade and digital policymakers to help them understand the changing digital trade environment in the region;
- Strengthening copyright protection for U.S. creators in foreign markets by increasing awareness of effective enforcement against illegal streaming through webinars, , and sharing best practices;
- Increasing services competitiveness through a study on domestic regulations in trade agreements to increase economies’ awareness of emerging regulatory practices, and supporting the adoption of international rules to codify these practices;
- Facilitating the trade of agricultural products produced using biotechnology and fostering engagement and dialogue for the adoption and use of transparent, predictable, and science-based policy and regulatory frameworks; and
- Increasing awareness of current regulations and best practices in the trade of refurbished medical devices in the APEC region.
SUPPORTING U.S. INNOVATION AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of the digital economy in driving economic growth, creating new jobs, and cultivating new markets and new industries in all APEC economies. A more open, interoperable, and secure Internet will benefit the U.S. economy, where the digital economy accounts for an estimated five percent of GDP. This year, United States promoted new, innovative digital technologies to respond to, and recover from, COVID-19 by:
- Fostering an enabling environment for the digital economy by leading and advancing public-private dialogues on digital trade, including enabling cross-border data flows and emerging technologies;
- Mapping the policy landscape for telehealth services across APEC to build knowledge of telehealth policies and practices in the region and reduce barriers in this area;
- Strengthening the digital economy and enhancing cybersecurity through a consensus document on policy considerations for communicating cybersecurity practices;
- Supporting economic recovery and digital trade through strengthening consumer privacy protections and interoperability of privacy regulations by promoting expansion of the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System;
- Promoting the digitalization of licensing and permitting processes through recommendations to implement digital government best practices and identifying related training;
- Supporting the development of the to help governments, employers, academia, and workforce training providers develop their preparedness for jobs in the digital age and support efforts to upskill and reskill workers; and
- Improving good regulatory practices for emerging transportation technologies, such as automated and electric vehicles, drones, and new mobility and travel applications, to better connect the region and create economic opportunities.
HELPING U.S. COMPANIES DO BUSINESS
We work in APEC to improve implementation of economic policies, business regulation, and fair competition to level the playing field and open markets for U.S. companies. We also work with economies to implement good regulatory practices, break down barriers to business, and institute anti-corruption measures. Our work in APEC makes it easier for U.S. companies to do business in the region by:
- Elevating awareness of the risks of corruption during times of crisis and sharing best practices to address corruption-related challenges faced by law enforcement and promote business integrity;
- Strengthening ethical business practices in the region through the APEC Business Ethics for SMEs Initiative by setting best practices and building capacity under the APEC SME Leaders in Ethics and Integrity Program and the Global Distributor Compliance Toolkit;
- Convening APEC public and private sector leaders to discuss legal and institutional mechanisms underlying effective corporate insolvency regimes to improve economic resilience and post-pandemic economic recovery; and
- Exploring best practices for public consultations in urgent situations and how to leverage technology tools to improve economic transparency and recovery.
EXPANDING WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN THE ECONOMY
One of our top priorities for APEC remains advancing women’s economic empowerment across the region. Greater economic participation, and leadership by women, especially in the region’s post-pandemic economic recovery, will spur GDP growth and foster stability. This year the United States celebrated APEC’s 10th Anniversary of the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy and the Women and the Economy Forum which helped to institutionalize APEC’s work on this topic. Through APEC, we work to expand economic opportunities for women by:
- Measuring the impact of legal and regulatory barriers to women’s economic participation and opportunities, aligned with the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth, including by understanding the effect of structural reform on GDP and providing recommendations for APEC economies to develop and implement meaningful improvements;
- Supporting the APEC Women and the Economy sub-fund with $555,606 to help increase women’s participation in the labor force, promote women’s entrepreneurship and health, and increase representation in corporate leadership and STEM; and
- Strengthening the ability of APEC economies to better support women-owned businesses in engaging and growing in cross-border e-commerce through a diagnostic toolkit.
PROMOTING HEALTHY, RESILIENT, AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES
The United States works with partners in APEC to address external factors that affect economic participation, such as social protection, health, and environmental issues. Working to maintain healthy populations, build resilience, and promote the sustainable use of environmental resources are all necessary to maintain long-term economic growth. We work in APEC to mitigate the economic impacts of health and environmental challenges by:
- Accelerating regulatory convergence to improve safety and expedite availability of medical products in the APEC region;
- Developing an APEC-wide plan, including pillars and policy targets, to support the development of resilient and sustainable life-course immunization programs by 2030;
- Combating illegal logging and facilitating trade in legal forest products through focused engagement with industry, and publishing a compendium of resources to assist industry operators and traders assess risk and conduct due diligence in their supply chains;
- Implementing the Roadmap on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and the Roadmap on Marine Debris;
- Developing policy recommendations for governments on tackling the key barriers and using direct and indirect incentives to facilitate the wider adoption of electric vehicles;
- Facilitating regional food trade and improving food safety through a public-private dialogue on electronic certification, identifying best practices for pesticide maximum residue limit compliance, and promoting whole genome sequencing technology and laboratory capacity building;
- Endorsing the Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030, which provides guidance for the region on achieving food security, while reducing Food Systems’ impacts on the environment; and
- Promoting awareness of Sustainable Materials Management to decrease food loss and waste, increase resource efficiency, and develop innovative tools and upcycled food and feed products.
For further information, please contact the Office of Economic Policy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at DOSAPEC@state.gov.