We, the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, met in Big Sky, Montana, May 19-20, 2011 under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Ronald Kirk, United States Trade Representative.
We welcomed the participation in the meeting of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Mr. Pascal Lamy, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the APEC Secretariat.
We express our solidarity with the victims and those people affected by recent natural disasters in the region, including in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, and the United States. The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami’s impact on the supply chains of the entire region was a reminder of this region’s deepened economic integration, and we are convinced the ongoing recovery of the affected areas will contribute to the economic well-being of all APEC economies. We agree to refrain from taking WTO-inconsistent measures in the aftermath of recent natural disasters in the region, recognizing the importance of securing the prompt return of the smooth flow of goods, services, and people in the Asia-Pacific region. We recall the APEC Leaders’ 2010 Yokohama Vision, which recognized the need for APEC economies to further develop practical risk management mechanisms to handle emergencies and natural disasters. Taking into account the fact that our region is particularly prone to natural disasters, we instructed officials to strengthen APEC’s agenda on disaster preparedness and recovery.
In 2010, APEC Leaders set forth a comprehensive, forward-looking framework for achieving growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st Century. The Yokohama Vision called on APEC to promote stronger and deeper regional economic integration, including by taking concrete steps towards achieving a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). It also stated that full achievement of the Bogor Goals for all economies should continue to provide direction for APEC’s work on trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Finally, it outlined the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy for achieving high-quality growth in the region that is balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure.
In 2011, APEC has the opportunity to take significant strides towards realizing the Yokohama Vision, in pursuit of APEC’s central mission of promoting free and open trade and investment. Together we should build towards a seamless regional economy that results in economic growth, employment, and prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region.
With this goal in mind, our discussions focused on the following three priority areas.
Strengthening Regional Economic Integration and Expanding Trade
We remain committed to APEC’s core mission to strengthen and deepen regional economic integration and expand trade. As the best way to advance this goal, we discussed practical, concrete, and meaningful actions that we can take towards the achievement of a FTAAP. In 2010, Leaders instructed APEC to make an important and meaningful contribution as an incubator of an FTAAP by playing a critical role in defining, shaping, and addressing the ‘next generation’ trade and investment issues that an FTAAP should contain. To fulfill this mandate, we identified the following next generation trade and investment issues to be addressed in 2011 through substantive and specific outcomes: facilitating global supply chains; enhancing small and medium-sized enterprises participation in global production chains; and promoting effective, non-discriminatory, and market-driven innovation policy.
We emphasized our commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, and instructed officials to finalize by November 2011 a more robust process for reviewing APEC economies’ progress towards meeting these goals and that is also more accessible to the business community and other stakeholders.
Enhancing supply chains to reduce the time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services throughout the region continues to be a top priority for APEC given its importance to trade and economic growth. To respond to the APEC Leaders’ commitment to achieving a 10 percent improvement in supply chain performance, taking into consideration individual economy circumstances, we instructed officials to continue to implement the APEC Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan by 2015 and specifically to take the following actions by November 2011:
In 2010, Leaders endorsed the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) as a blueprint for promoting structural reform that can lead to more balanced, inclusive, and sustainable growth, as well as foster regional economic integration. We call on officials to continue to advance this work, through capacity building and technical assistance, and commend the early mover economies for serving as examples to help other APEC economies individually set forth robust plans for structural reform to be presented to Leaders by November 2011.
More than two-thirds of member economies’ food trade is with other APEC members, most of whom are major food importers or exporters. As such, we recognized the important role that open and transparent markets for food trade play in ensuring global food security by increasing reliability of supply, mitigating price volatility, and providing farmers with accurate price signals to drive production and investment decisions for future seasons. We committed to fully implement the Niigata Declaration on APEC Food Security and its Action Plan, including efforts underway to enhance market transparency, and we reiterated our commitment to a standstill, first made by APEC Leaders in 2008 and extended until 2013, as it pertains to export restrictions or other WTO-inconsistent trade measures.
We agreed that APEC economies will promote and adopt regulatory approaches that are transparent, science-based, consistent with international obligations, and take into account, where appropriate, existing international standards in order to facilitate trade in innovative agricultural technologies. In order to support food safety, animal and plant health; protect public health; and stimulate innovation, economic growth, and agricultural productivity, we instructed officials to identify by the APEC Leaders’ Meeting concrete steps APEC can take to achieve this goal, including capacity-building activities.
By better aligning requirements relating to food with international standards and best practices, APEC economies can both enhance food safety and facilitate trade. To this end, we agreed to:
Promoting Green Growth
In advancing our green growth objectives, as outlined in the 2010 APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy, APEC should leverage the linkages between economic and environmental challenges facing the region in a way that creates new sources of economic growth, including the transition towards a global low carbon economy. We commit to integrate our priority of “free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific” and economic development and common prosperity with our commitment to protect the environment. Free and open trade and investment and capacity-building in the region is critical to disseminating environmental goods and services that we need to meet environmental challenges, including access to clean water, clean air and clean energy. Our efforts to reduce unnecessary trade and investment barriers to these environmental goods and services will lower their cost and increase our citizens’ access to these important green technologies. Achieving our goal of free and open trade and investment will also help create new green jobs across all of our economies. Realizing the importance of domestic regulatory environments and the market absorption capacity in facilitating trade and investment in environmental goods and services, we will continue to strengthen our dialogue and capacity-building activities under the EGS work program.
Recalling Leaders’ previous commitments to reduce existing barriers and refrain from introducing new barriers to trade and investment in environmental goods and services, we commit to explore ways to promote greater liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services, and we instruct officials to develop a work plan by November 2011 in this regard. We believe that taking these actions will contribute to the implementation of the 2009 APEC Environmental Goods and Services Work Program, attainment of the Bogor Goals, and to the growth of our economies, and the protection of our environment. We are mindful that pursuing liberalization of environmental goods and services is supportive of the ongoing WTO Doha negotiations to enhance the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment. We also instructed officials to take further steps to promote dissemination of environmental technologies by November 2011, and believe this work is mutually supportive of our trade and development agenda in this area.
We also discussed a number of other ways that we could advance our green growth objectives.
Advancing Regulatory Convergence and Cooperation
As addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, and improving the business environment, in the Asia-Pacific becomes an increasing focus of our work, it is critical that we take action to improve the quality of regulatory procedures and systems in the region. Open and transparent regulatory systems prevent the emergence of unnecessary technical barriers to trade by allowing stakeholders to engage appropriately in the process of policymaking, and by enabling governments to produce high-quality regulations. In 2011, we will focus on steps that both individual economies and APEC as an organization can take to further these goals.
Strengthening Economic and Technical Cooperation
We reaffirmed the Leaders’ commitment to continue demand-driven economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH) activities to bridge the development gap, assist developing economies in achieving the Bogor Goals by 2020, increase economies’ ability to address next generation trade and investment issues, and produce economic growth, employment, and prosperity for all.