This year, the United States is hosting Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) annual meetings for the first time since 1993. As part of these efforts, I am leading meetings in Big Sky, Montana this week with 21 of my fellow Ministers Related to Trade. This week, we are working to advance common APEC objectives that complement President Obama’s forward-looking, export-focused trade agenda.
APEC is the premier forum for facilitating sustainable economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the region, and the Asia-Pacific region is the largest market in the world for U.S. exports. In fact, APEC economies represent nine of the top 15 export markets for U.S. goods. Over 60 percent of U.S. goods exports and 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports in 2010 were to APEC economies.
Tomorrow, my fellow ministers and I will meet with business leaders from the United States and other APEC economies to work on concrete, practical measures that will help to level the playing field across the region. In particular, we will discuss ways to make it cheaper, faster, and easier for small businesses to trade around the region. Because if we can make it easier for exporters to enter different markets throughout the Asia-Pacific, then those businesses can grow more quickly and hire more workers here at home.
The United States is working in our APEC host year to build toward a seamless regional economy in the Asia-Pacific. To this end, we’ll discuss ways to strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, promote green growth, and advance regulatory cooperation and convergence. Successful efforts in these areas will enhance export opportunities for U.S. businesses of all sizes in support of American jobs.
During the meetings, USTR.gov will be updated in real time to keep you fully abreast of our work. So be sure to visit our APEC 2011 pageand follow us on Twitter to get the most up-to-date information on the progress of APEC meetings in Montana.
Ambassador Ron Kirk is the United States Trade Representative