This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join leaders from 20 other economies in Vladivostok, Russia, to advance efforts to liberalize trade and investment across the vibrant Asia Pacific region and demonstrate robust and sustained U.S. commitment to broad economic engagement across the Asia Pacific region. Our engagement at APECreinforces our message that the United States is a resident Pacific power committed to strengthening regional institutions to confront 21st century challenges.
As the U.S. Senior Official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), it’s my responsibility to work with my counterparts in APEC and with a U.S. team from the State Department, U.S. Trade Representative, Commerce, and the business community to prepare the ground work for the Secretary’s successful advancement of key U.S. interests. At the forefront of these priorities is the integration of economic policy into all aspects of U.S. foreign policy. In the Asia Pacific region, APEC and our efforts in the Trans-Pacific Partnership play key roles in our rebalance toward Asia.
The stakes are undeniably large; deliberations in APEC since the group’s founding in 1989 have had a positive impact on the prosperity of 2.7 billion people in the APEC economies. Today, APEC economies — including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, and Australia represent 55 percent of global gross domestic product.
The benefits to all are clear; APEC initiatives to lower tariffs and foster free, fair, open trade have driven U.S.-APEC trade from $528 million in 1989 to $2.3 trillion today, enhancing the quality of life of millions of citizens across the region.
Trade within APEC helps sustain millions of U.S. jobs. U.S. merchandise exports to APEC have increased 45 percent from 2009-2011, and APEC economies are the destinations for nearly 60 percent of U.S. exports in 2011. Foreign direct investment in the U.S. by Asia-Pacific economies is also soaring, with Asia now accounting for almost one fifth of all FDI into the U.S.in 2011, sustaining jobs and wealth creation here at home.
APEC is a proven technology incubator for innovation in liberalizing trade and investment. Accordingly, U.S. priorities for the meetings in Vladivostok include follow-up on APEC leaders’ commitment to promulgate a robust list of environmental good and services for which member economies would pledge to reduce tariffs to a maximum of 5 percent by 2015, sparking green and efficient growth around the Asia Pacific region. We are also pressing for steps to enhance food security, combat counterfeit medicines, deter wildlife trafficking, and spur growth in innovation.
APEC’s work helps set the global pace for expansion of free and fair trade, so robust U.S. leadership at this Leaders’ Week in Vladivostok can have a direct benefit not just for American workers and industry, but for all 2.7 billion citizens of APEC economies.