Honolulu, HI (Nov. 10, 2011) — Leaders and Ministers representing member nations of Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation are meeting in Honolulu this week from Nov. 8-13, in its conference work to advance regional economic integration and free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived on Thursday and welcomed dignitaries to the Summit.
“We are joined by leaders and representatives from a dozen Pacific Island nations,” said Clinton. “This region is known as the Asia Pacific, but sometimes the second word gets less attention than the first. And the Obama Administration has taken many steps to right that balance.
“We have reopened our USAID office, reinvigorated our commitment to the Pacific Island Forum, and have worked more closely with all our Pacific partners to address urgent challenges from climate change to pandemic health threats to environmental degradation,” he added. “So I want to thank the Pacific Island leaders for joining us today, and for their continuing partnership with the United States.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu Nov. 11. The President chose his birthplace of Honolulu as the site for the APEC 2011 Leaders’ Meeting to highlight America’s position as a Pacific nation.
As host of APEC 2011, the United States aims to create opportunities for prosperity and job creation by expanding trade and investment, cultivating small and medium-sized businesses, and fostering an environment that allows innovation to flourish.
APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region with economies accounting for 54 percent of global GDP, 44 percent of world trade, and 61 percent of U.S. goods exports. Established in 1989 and comprising 21 member economies from around the Pacific Rim, including the United States, APEC fosters growth and prosperity by facilitating economic cooperation and expanding trade and investment throughout the region.
In 1993, President Clinton invited fellow APEC Leaders to meet on Blake Island near Seattle, elevating APEC from ministerial to head-of-government level for the first time. Hosting responsibilities have rotated among APEC economies over the succeeding 18 years, with Japan welcoming President Obama and other APEC Leaders to Yokohama in November 2010.
Leaders from APEC’s 21 member economies will gather on Nov. 12-13 under the theme “Toward a Seamless Regional Economy” while Trade and Foreign Ministers will convene on November 11 to advance APEC’s three priorities for 2011.
The highest leaders from 21 Asia and Pacific countries are expected to attend the conference, the likes that Honolulu has not yet experienced. Expect to attend are China President Hu Jintao and Vietnam President Trương Tấn Sang.
APEC Finance Ministers will also meet on Nov. 10 to focus on policies to strengthen the global recovery and bring about strong, sustained and more balanced growth to boost job creation and income throughout the region.
The APEC CEO Summit will also be held from Nov. 11-12, drawing business leaders from around the region. US President Barack Obama, who will host APEC Leaders, is expected to join Leaders and CEOs for discussions on issues impacting business.
Hosted by the United States this year, APEC is focused on achieving concrete outcomes in three specific areas: Strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade; Promoting green growth; and Expanding regulatory cooperation and advancing regulatory convergence.
APEC is advancing its work on strengthening economic integration this year by working to define, shape, and address the next generation trade and investment issues that will lay the foundation for 21st century trade agreements in the region, including a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
APEC is also taking steps to promote effective, non-discriminatory, and market-driven innovation policies. And APEC is continuing its work to make it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to trade in the region, including by taking steps to reduce the time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the supply chain.
On green growth, APEC is promoting trade and investment in environmental goods and services. APEC is also developing ways to combat trade in illegal forestry products, phase out inefficient fuel subsidies and encourage the adoption of low emissions development strategies.
In the area of regulatory convergence and cooperation, APEC is working on concrete actions to strengthen implementation of good regulatory practices, an APEC Regulatory Cooperation Plan as well as ways to prevent and eliminate technical barriers to trade related to emerging technologies.
For details of the meetings and press arrangements, please visit www.apec2011.gov.