November 11, 2014
FACT SHEET: APEC Efforts to Support Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resilience
In recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has endured a series of devastating natural disasters–including the China Yunnan Earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan, the 2011 Southeast Asia floods, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the 2010 Chile Earthquake, to name a few. APEC’s 21 member economies account for approximately 58 percent of world GDP, 52 percent of the earth’s surface area, and 59 percent of the world’s population – yet they experience over 70 percent of the world’s natural disasters. These disasters take a terrible toll in lives lost and damage caused. The economic costs of natural disasters, both at the local and national levels, can be staggering as trade decreases, supply chains are disrupted and critical infrastructure is destroyed. In 2013 alone, the top five major disasters in the region accounted for nearly $100 billion in economic damage and resulted in over 19,000 deaths.
The international community must sustain its commitment to humanitarian response, while at the same time being resilient and quickly addressing the transition from relief to recovery.
To protect businesses, trade, economic growth, and communities from disruptions, President Obama, together with President Xi of China and the other APEC Leaders, agreed to begin developing measures to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters:
• Support effective public donation practices, efficient supply chain and relief operations, and speedier economic recovery in disaster-affected areas by adopting the APEC Guidelines on Appropriate Donations that stress four principles: monetary contributions to established relief agencies or formal disaster appeals are always the most productive public response to disasters; before items other than cash are collected, donors should confirm that there is a need; transportation is expensive and requires preplanning; and public volunteer opportunities are extremely limited and therefore those looking to volunteer should closely coordinate with relief agencies assisting with the response.
• Facilitate the movement of emergency response personnel across borders and permit the importation, free of duty or restriction, for goods and supplies for humanitarian and emergency response efforts after disasters.
• Operationalize a trade recovery communications mechanism, in collaboration with the World Customs Organization, to facilitate information exchange between economy governments and the private sector after a disaster. Establishing the system and providing technical assistance to developing economies significantly improves public and private sector cargo transport coordination, including humanitarian materials, maximizing to the extent practicable the use of constrained transport systems.
• Recognize the importance of assessing the economic value of coastal ecosystems for disaster risk reduction, response, recovery and resilience through support of an APEC funded project, led by the United States. The economic value of goods and services from the world’s coastal ecosystems has increasingly been recognized, however it is difficult for decision makers to factor the economic benefits of coastal ecosystems on regional, national, and local levels, into policy and management decisions. The outcome of this study will be an assessment of the potential economic value that green infrastructure in coastal ecosystems provides for disaster risk reduction and response and coastal resilience in the APEC region.
• Welcome efforts to increase the resiliency of our supply chains by working diligently through all APEC fora to include the Seven Principles of Supply Chain Resilience in all relevant activities and programs. The United States continues to lead APEC’s efforts to implement a five year plan to improve the resilience of the supply chain throughout the region. In 2015, the United States will host a workshop in the Philippines to offer best practices in order to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities based on their risks and hazards. This economy-level workshop is planned to be replicated in additional economies in subsequent years. APEC will also begin to conduct APEC-wide workshops on the Seven Principles of Supply Chain Resilience. In 2015 the workshop will focus on earthquake and other hazard mapping and transportation infrastructure.
• Develop emergency response mechanisms to increase resiliency of our energy infrastructure to natural disasters and climate change. APEC economies will expand collaborative efforts to develop emergency response mechanisms, strengthen energy infrastructure, and increase timely, relevant, and reliable data that can address both safety as well as short-term disruptions in energy supplies after disasters.
FACT SHEET: APEC Leaders Agree on Actions to Promote Regional Economic Integration and Trade
Strengthening regional economic integration (REI) in the Asia-Pacific region by removing barriers to trade and investment remains the core mission of APEC and was one of the main themes for work in APEC in 2014. This year, APEC Leaders agreed on a series of outcomes that will help advance U.S. trade and investment interests, and build on APEC’s successes in this area over the past several years. Most notable among these are the establishment of an APEC fund dedicated to helping economies overcome specific obstacles to implementation of APEC and WTO commitments on supply chain and trade facilitation and the groundbreaking APEC commitment to reduce tariffs on a list of environmental goods to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015.
Environmental Goods- To ensure the full implementation of APEC’s ground-breaking 2011 commitment to reduce applied tariffs on the 54 products in the APEC List of Environmental Goods to five percent or less by the end of 2015, economies agreed to submit implementation plans by the time of the Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in spring of next year. APEC is also undertaking technical assistance that will help economies fully implement their commitments.
Good Regulatory Practices- APEC economies continue to strengthen the implementation of good regulatory practices. This year Leaders agreed to take steps to improve the conduct of public consultations through using information technology and the Internet. This new approach presents enormous opportunities for regulators in the region to consult more effectively with stakeholders, both foreign and domestic, and gain the best possible understanding of the possible economic impact of regulations. APEC Ministers encouraged economies to provide innovative capacity building approaches to the implementation of good regulatory practices and the use of regulatory tools.
Electric Vehicles- To promote the widespread use of environmentally friendly, technologically-advanced electric vehicles, APEC economies agreed to several steps, including using international standards as the basis for regulations on electric vehicles; creating a priority list of international standards important for electric vehicles; working towards aligning regulations and avoiding regulatory divergences, particularly regarding electric vehicle charging; and establishing and APEC Electric Vehicles Interoperability and Research Center to help economies meet their regulatory alignment objectives. Through these steps, APEC will encourage greater electric vehicle production and use – and greater trade and investment opportunities – while advancing APEC’s green growth, connectivity, regulatory coherence, and regional economic integration objectives.
Supply Chain Performance- APEC Leaders agreed to accelerate technical assistance and capacity building to help economies improve supply chain performance, in support of the APEC-wide goal of a ten percent improvement in supply chain performance by the end of 2015. With a dedicated fund already in place, economies this year agreed to create a comprehensive capacity building plan for using the resources in this fund, and established a new body of public and private supply chain experts to advise the technical assistance and capacity building projects under the plan.
FACT SHEET: Leading the Fight Against Corruption and Bribery
Across the Asia-Pacific Region
Today, President Obama and APEC Leaders agreed to elevate their efforts in fighting corruption and bribery across the Asia-Pacific region. Leaders encouraged APEC Member Economies to enhance cross-border cooperation in combating public corruption, business bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade. The creation of a new network of anticorruption authorities and law enforcement agencies (ACT-NET) will support these actions and reinforces APEC’s overall efforts to spur economic growth and greater investment and trade across all economies.
Anti-Bribery and Corporate Compliance
APEC Leaders also adopted the APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Laws, and APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs. The new principles to prevent bribery and improve the enforcement of economies’ domestic and foreign bribery laws will enhance APEC economies’ compliance with their respective international commitments and help to level the playing field for U.S. companies engaged in international business.
Adopting the APEC Principles will illustrate to our citizens and the world APEC’s commitment to preventing, detecting and effectively prosecuting foreign bribery, and recovering the corrupt proceeds of such offenses. Similarly, adopting the APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs will reinforce the strong message to the business community that the private sector has an important role to play, and provide valuable guidance to our businesses on how to expose corruption.
Business Ethics for Small and Medium Enterprises
APEC Ministers have also endorsed three sets of APEC principles for voluntary codes of ethics in sectors where SMEs are the major stakeholders with a view towards their adoption across APEC economies. Corruption imposes a significant market access barrier and high costs particularly for SMEs, which can be disproportionately impacted by bribery and solicitation, resulting in a net drain on economic growth. The United States worked closely with APEC economies in developing the voluntary ethics principles and is now conducting a series of workshops with APEC trading partners to implement them. The first SME Business Ethics Forum was held in Nanjing, China in September 2014, to highlight accomplishments, including the adoption of 18 new industry association codes across 9 APEC member economies. Participants issued the Nanjing Declaration to Promote Ethical Business Environments in the Medical Device and Biopharmaceutical Sectors for SMEs which calls on APEC member economies to double the number of codes for the healthcare sector between 2012 and 2015. A similar event was held in September in Manila, with focus on the construction and engineering sector.
U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The Obama Administration, following long-standing U.S. efforts, takes a firm stand against public corruption within the United States and abroad with respect to American and other companies that engage in bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business.
Through the enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and our Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice and our other law enforcement and regulatory agencies have vigorously pursued bribe payers of all stripes: large corporations and small companies; powerful CEOs and frontline sales agents; U.S. and foreign companies; citizens and foreign nationals; direct payers and intermediaries.
President Obama and the U.S. Government continue to drive a robust agenda to prevent and prosecute corruption around the world to hold accountable those who exploit the public’s trust for private gain. Preventing corruption preserves funds for public revenue and thereby helps drive development and economic growth. By contrast, pervasive corruption siphons revenue away from the public budget and undermines the rule of law and the confidence of citizens in their governments. It also facilitates human rights abuses and organized crime, empowers kleptocracies, and can threaten the stability of entire regions. The United States views corruption as a growing threat to the national security of our country and allies around the world.
International Cooperation in other Fora
Through these and other longstanding efforts, the United States remains a global leader on anticorruption. The United States was a leader in developing fundamental international legal frameworks such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions negotiated at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the global architecture for international legal cooperation in areas such as asset recovery and denial of entry. The United States continues to lead in providing funding for capacity building to fight corruption and promote good governance.
FACT SHEET: Fulfilling Leaders’ Instructions on Quality in Higher Education
As the global financial crisis swept the APEC region and the world, APEC Leaders emphasized the importance of education and training as a major pillar of APEC’s inclusive growth strategy. APEC has since focused more explicitly on access to quality higher education and the role of postsecondary cross-border education mobility as an important part of APEC’s regional economic integration agenda. In 2012, APEC Leaders recognized that “increasing cross-border student flows will strengthen regional ties, build people to people exchanges, and promote economic development through knowledge and skills transfer. High quality cross-border education equips students with the 21st century competencies they need for their full participation in a globalized and knowledge based society.” Last year, APEC Leaders introduced a new Framework of Connectivity and cited postsecondary cross-border education as a major part of the people-to-people connectivity agenda. They committed to the setting of 2020 regional student mobility goals, as well as other education goals shared by all 21 APEC Economies, and in 2013 APEC Leaders endorsed the “target of 1 million intra-APEC university-level students by year 2020,” recognizing that access to quality higher education through student mobility helps developing economies enhance workforce capacity to ensure sustainable development.
To better promote the Leaders’ Connectivity agenda through cross-border education cooperation that can stimulate growth in the region, the United States has been advancing the following initiatives in cooperation with APEC economies:
APEC Scholarships and Internships Initiative
The United States and other APEC members announced this week the APEC Scholarship and Internship initiative, which will provide new APEC-branded scholarship and internship opportunities and will also provide links to major websites on other existing scholarships in the APEC region. Responding directly to the commitments made by Leaders in 2012 and 2013 to promote cross-border education, the initiative aims to expand education and training opportunities for students and professionals.
All three of the U.S. ABAC member companies—Caterpillar, Eli Lilly, and Microsoft— as well as GE, EMD (Merck) Serono, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Washington Evans School are partnering with APEC and the United States to offer more than thirty scholarships and paid internships for cross-border opportunities in the APEC region. Australia, China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines, and Singapore have also announced that they will make scholarship and internship opportunities available in their economies, totaling over 150 total cross-border opportunities announced through the APEC Scholarship and Internship initiative.
Apart from this, through the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Government provides nearly $50 million each year alongside other partner governments to support the exchange of more than 2,000 students and scholars between the United States and APEC economies. The U.S. Government also offers EducationUSA advisory services in person and online in all APEC economies for students seeking accurate, current, and comprehensive information about opportunities to study at accredited U.S. colleges and universities.
In support of APEC’s student mobility target, the United States, with support from Australia, launched the first phase of a five-year project, APEC Education Mobility Data Collection Survey and Report, in July 2014. For each member economy, the survey responses will be compiled into economy-level reports that will 1) identify key stakeholders in international education mobility, 2) document domestic data collection methodologies and indicators, and 3) show current trends in in-bound and out-bound education mobility. Furthermore, the information collected will be used to establish a baseline of APEC economies’ current education data collection efforts, which could then inform potential capacity building efforts to support APEC economies in tracking mobility. Many economies have national data collection organizations, but the data collection process currently varies widely from economy to economy in terms of methodology, frequency of data collection, key definitions, and scope. By aligning regional data collection methodologies and practices, APEC members can utilize that foundation to identify gaps in student mobility and opportunities to further promote regional educational exchanges in the lead up to 2020.
FACT SHEET: Promoting Energy Security and Clean, Efficient, and Sustainable Energy Development in the APEC Region
APEC’s member economies account for approximately 60 percent of global energy demand and increasing energy consumption due to growing populations and urbanization poses a real challenge to the region’s economic sustainability. In addition, the APEC region is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. APEC Leaders agreed to take the following steps to strengthen energy security, promote efficient and sustainable energy development, develop clean energy sources, and reduce the impacts of climate change. All of these efforts support the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, increase resiliency to climate change impacts, and expand international collaboration to collectively address energy and climate challenges.
• Endorse an aspirational goal to double the share of renewable energy in APEC’s overall energy mix by 2030 and intensify cooperation to achieve it.
• Reaffirm their commitment to reduce energy intensity of their economies by 45 percent by 2035, with practical steps to increase capacity building and cooperation.
• Renew their commitment to rationalize and phase out in efficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful energy consumption, including through peer reviews.
• Improve capacity building and develop emergency response mechanisms to support secure and stable oil and gas supplies and ensure effective response to supply disruptions.
• Increase resilience of our energy infrastructure to natural disasters and climate change.
Doubling Renewable Energy in APEC’s Energy Mix
• APEC economies are committed to develop clean energy sources, support innovation for renewable energy technologies, and share best practices on making such technologies economically viable. To support the doubling of renewable energy in the APEC energy mix, the U.S.-chaired APEC Energy Working Group (EWG) will pursue a number of new collaborative projects that focus on capacity building and grid integration of renewables.
Reducing Energy Intensity
• In 2011, APEC Leaders agreed to aspire to a 45 percent reduction of regional aggregate energy intensity of their economies by 2035 from a 2005 baseline. The EWG has implemented, and will initiate, a number of projects to boost energy efficiency in appliances, buildings, data centers, and transport, to review product and system standards that enhance energy efficiency, and to improve energy efficiency technologies and data. The EWG will continue efficiency peer reviews to provide recommendations for goals and action plans.
Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
• In 2009, APEC Leaders committed to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce wasteful energy consumption that constrains economic growth. In 2011, Leaders established a voluntary reporting mechanism on progress and, in 2013, the EWG developed a methodology for conducting voluntary peer reviews. These reviews are similar to those conducted by members of the G-20. Peru completed and New Zealand initiated peer reviews this year. The Philippines will undertake one next year. APEC welcomes additional participants for peer reviews, which help assess the impact of fossil fuel subsidies and provide recommendations for reform.
• To understand the interdependence between energy and water, the United States, China, and Australia initiated a project to assess the energy-water nexus across the region. This will help APEC economies understand the increasing demands for clean and abundant energy and water posed by growing populations, identify potential vulnerabilities across sectors, and develop ways to use resources more efficiently.
Improving Resilience of our Energy Infrastructure
• APEC economies are committed to developing emergency response mechanisms and capacity building to address short-term energy supply disruptions. Work has focused on improving the response to oil and gas emergencies in the APEC region and building energy infrastructure resiliency to natural disasters and climate change. APEC economies are working to increase timely, transparent and reliable energy data, build capacity and training for emergency response, and develop microgrid and other technologies that can help prepare for, and respond to, energy supply disruptions.
Free Trade in Environmental Goods
• APEC economies agreed to develop individual implementation plans to meet the groundbreaking Leaders commitment, made in the 2011 U.S. APEC host year, to reduce tariffs on environmental goods to five percent or less by the end of 2015. In 2012, APEC economies developed a list of 54 environmental goods, such as water treatment filters, gas and wind turbines, and solar water heaters, which would be subject to this tariff reduction commitment. The APEC initiative and the President’s Climate Action Plan provided impetus for the United States and 13 other WTO members, including China and a number of other APEC economies, to launch the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations in July 2014.
FACT SHEET: APEC Breaks Down Barriers to Women’s Economic Participation
President Barack Obama and other Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum made historic commitments today in Beijing to advance women’s economic participation. The UN estimates that the APEC region loses upwards of $89 billion in GDP a year due to laws, policies, and social norms that inhibit women from being able to fully participate in and benefit from the economy. In 2011 under U.S. leadership, APEC elevated and energized its focus on women’s economic empowerment. Since then, APEC Ministers and Leaders from all 21 economies collectively have agreed to take action to realize the full potential of women, focusing efforts on five key pillars impacting women’s economic empowerment, women’s access to markets, skills, capacity building and health, women’s leadership, and innovation and technology. APEC economies seek to support gender responsive programs and policies across all sectors and to identify potential areas of action or regulatory reform to advance women’s economic participation. To turn this vision into action, the United States and APEC Leaders agreed today in Beijing to launch, support, and expand five regional initiatives.
APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard
Since 2011, APEC Ministers have convened to identify barriers to women’s economic participation and recommended regional and domestic actions to realize progress. Increasingly across APEC fora, data is used to measure progress and underpin policy discussions, such as through APEC initiatives on the Ease of Doing Business and Supply Chain Performance. Likewise to advance women’s economic participation, data is needed to create a common baseline, to focus capacity building efforts, and to develop evidence-based policy recommendations. This is especially true as many economies still do not collect sex-disaggregated data.
To fill this need, the United States has worked with the other member APEC economies to establish the Women and the Economy Dashboard, a framework built on 26 contributing factors, to track and measure APEC’s progress in improving women’s economic participation. The framework will help policy makers in APEC to prioritize collective efforts on policy and capacity building as well as inform each economy’s domestic goals. Measurements will include key indicators across the five core areas of: 1) access to capital, including financial inclusion; 2) access to trade and labor markets; 3) skills, capacity building and health, including policies related to domestic violence and discrimination against women; 4) leadership, including national identification; and 5) innovation and technology, including access to cell phones and the internet as well as (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education.
The APEC Women and the Economy Dashboard is a milestone achievement, which parallels and complements efforts being undertaken in the G20 on female labor force participation and in the post-2015 sustainable development goals process.
Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) Network In May, Ministers at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum called for the launch of an “Asia-Pacific regional women’s entrepreneurship network of networks to assist women entrepreneurs in all APEC economies in better connecting to each other, and expanding their channels and opportunities to engage in regional trade and economic cooperation.” Responding to this call, the United States with support from Australia has launched the development of a Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC (WE-APEC) Network. WE-APEC, a cross-cutting regional network, will aim to identify and connect women’s entrepreneurship networks in each economy with public and private sector support services and global supply chains to ultimately expand economic opportunities and regional trade.
The initial phase of the WE-APEC initiative aims to:
1) conduct a regional assessment of existing networks and public and private sector support services;
2) develop regional analysis on best practices and gaps within the APEC region regarding women’s entrepreneurship networks; and
3) launch an online platform that allows governments, entrepreneurs and the private sector to link to regional women’s entrepreneurship networks and provides a sustainable mechanism to link women entrepreneurs through the region and facilitates information sharing, best practices and opportunities.
Healthy Women, Healthy Economies
The Asia-Pacific region lags behind other global regions with respect to women’s health and survival relative to that of men. Sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved if one-half of the workforce (women) is unable to fully participate in the economy due to health implications. Women must enjoy equal protection on the job and be free from domestic violence and other gender-specific health and social challenges that impact workplace productivity. Raising female labor force participation would raise GDP substantially – by as much as five percent in the United States and nine percent in Japan. To address this need, the United States launched the “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” multi-year initiative in APEC to develop policy recommendations and actions that aim to enhance women’s economic participation by improving women’s health. In 2014, the initiative began with an APEC expert’s group focused on identifying health-related barriers preventing women from entering or remaining in the work force. The barriers identified included 1) lack of women- and family-friendly health services, workplace policies, and education, 2) lack of access to basic healthcare, and 3) health issues such as domestic and workplace violence.
In 2014, APEC economies agreed to work towards establishing measurable, aspirational, and voluntary goals to increase women’s representation in leadership roles. They also agreed to support the development of research on gender diversity in public and private-sector leadership positions in the APEC region. To meet these goals, APEC economies agreed to identify and share private sector best practices that have resulted in increasing women’s representation in senior leadership positions within the last two to three years. The results were reported and published in a report launched this week in Beijing entitled 50 Leading Companies for Women in APEC. Seven U.S. companies were highlighted for their innovative practices which promote women in leadership, including Citi Bank’s Hong Kong Office, Proctor & Gamble, State Street, AT&T, Eli Lilly, Baxter, and Qualcomm.
Women in Transportation
The APEC Women in Transportation initiative, launched by the United States in 2012 within APEC’s Transportation Working Group, focuses on the linkages between increasing women’s economic participation and critical labor shortages in the transportation sector. In 2014, the WiT Task Force was established to lead efforts to address inequality and projected future labor shortages in the Asia-Pacific transportation sector by including more women in the workforce of APEC Economies. The WiT Task Force is the only industry-specific initiative seeking to translate the overarching policy objectives of the APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy into demonstrable policy improvements with measurable impacts on gender equity in the transportation sector. Efforts will focus on education, access to jobs, retention, and leadership.
FACT SHEET: Key Infrastructure Initiatives Supporting U.S. Economic Priorities Work in the G20 and APEC
Infrastructure investment is essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Having highly interconnected and dependable transportation networks, a reliable electric grid, and well-run and maintained water infrastructure means we can efficiently move goods to market, improve access to good jobs, and enhance the quality of life for our citizens. Infrastructure investment needs are huge and will require optimally leveraging existing financial resources, building government capacity to develop and execute investments under a coherent strategy, and improving coordination within government and with a full-range of stakeholders.
In Cairns, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors recognized that increasing investment, particularly in infrastructure, is critical to boosting demand and lifting growth. They outlined a multi-year agenda to promote greater knowledge-sharing and facilitate infrastructure investment in emerging and developing countries and provided support for significant measures underway through the multilateral development banks (MDBs). This broad agenda includes:
• Creating the Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII), a global knowledge platform on infrastructure investment opportunities and best practices that will carry forward the G20 work on infrastructure over several years. The Initiative will work closely with governments, MDBs, and the private sector to disseminate best practices, address critical data gaps, and consolidate information on the pipeline of infrastructure projects around the world;
• Supporting the World Bank Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), a significant new initiative that will help improve the domestic investment climate in developing countries, increase the number of bankable infrastructure projects, and increase the volume of resources available for investment in infrastructure. The GIF is designed to be an upstream platform to facilitate development of large, complex infrastructure projects by coordinating the multiple stakeholders (including the World Bank) involved in project preparation and financing; and
• Encouraging the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to continue optimizing their balance sheets to increase the volume of resources available to finance infrastructure throughout the developing world. Reforms currently underway at these institutions will allow them to increase their lending capacities by 40-50 percent, or $11 billion in extra lending each year, much of which is likely to be devoted to the infrastructure sector.
In Beijing, APEC Finance Ministers committed to advance long-standing APEC work on infrastructure investment and financing, in particular through promoting interested members’ capacity to engage in public-private partnerships (PPP).Well-designed PPP projects can lead to faster delivery and improved quality of infrastructure services, and provide value for tax payers by allocating risks and responsibilities to those who can most cost-effectively manage them. Specifically, Ministers:
• Endorsed the Implementation Roadmap to Develop Successful Infrastructure PPP Projects in the APEC Region, to assist government officials of APEC member economies to better understand, prepare, structure and implement infrastructure PPP projects and appropriate financing arrangements. This work advances the Multi-Year Plan on Infrastructure Development and Investment, endorsed under Indonesia’s presidency of APEC in 2013;
• Encouraged interested member economies to set up their own PPP centers; and
• Welcomed the launch of the APEC PPP Experts Advisory Panel, which is an important resource to build the capacity of Indonesia’s pilot PPP Center and to facilitate regional sharing of knowledge with other member economies and private sector dialogues under the Asia-Pacific Infrastructure Partnership.
FACT SHEET: APEC Leaders Commit to Protect the Environment
Protecting the environment is a top priority for the United States. President Obama has repeatedly stressed the importance of the environment as “front and center” in American diplomacy, trade, and economic policy. This commitment has been evident in the substantial steps taken by the United States to protect the global environment for example, through our actions to reduce carbon pollution under the Climate Action Plan, to protect sensitive ecosystems such as in the vast Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and to support the development of new technologies that can promote economic prosperity while improving environmental performance. Most recently, the United States hosted the “Our Ocean” Conference, resulting in $1.8 billion in pledges from across the globe to conserve the ocean and mitigate climate change. The United States has also led the way in promoting free trade in environmental goods, which would contribute to environmental protection as well as economic growth.
With U.S. leadership, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum plays an important role in pursuing green and sustainable growth in the region. APEC has elevated initiatives and partnerships aimed at promoting environmental protection in a diverse set of areas including: addressing wildlife trafficking and illegal logging; sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources; energy efficiency and infrastructure for electric vehicles; responsible mining practices; chemical health and safety cooperation; and trade in environmental goods, and aviation emissions.
Trade for illegal wildlife products, such as tiger, pangolin, elephant ivory, and rhino horn, is worth billions of dollars in Asia alone and current trade is at a record high. Wildlife trafficking is increasingly perpetrated by well-armed, well-equipped, and well-organized networks of criminals whose actions promote corruption, threaten global peace and security, strengthens illicit trade routes, destabilizes economies and communities that depend on wildlife for their livelihoods, and contribute to the spread of disease. Earlier this year, President Obama issued a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking which establishes three strategic priorities: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.
APEC serves as a valuable forum to pursue efforts to combat this pernicious trade by tackling the demand side of the economic equation, shifting consumer purchasing patterns in tandem with bolstering law enforcement cooperation. Since 2012, APEC Leaders have committed to combating wildlife trafficking, and we are implementing that commitment. Through APEC, the United States recently partnered with Vietnam and the Asian Development Bank to support an APEC-wide workshop to build capacity within economies in the region to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife. We plan to strengthen policies and legislative frameworks, enhance investigative and law enforcement cooperation, and further develop capacities for detecting, prosecuting and adjudicating wildlife-related crimes and related corruption through capacity building for law enforcement, customs, and judicial officials in 2015. The United States is also working with many of our APEC partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations to secure commitments to combat wildlife trafficking, enhance law enforcement cooperation, and effectively implement and enforce international species conservation commitments.
Illegal Logging and Associated Trade
Illegal logging and associated trade is a significant concern in the Asia-Pacific region and undermines legal trade in timber products. It also threatens biodiversity and sustainable management of forests for both economic development and climate change mitigation. In 2011, APEC established an Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade to strengthen and enhance APEC’s efforts to combat illegal logging and promote legal wood products trade. With U.S. leadership, the Experts Group is developing APEC policy guidelines on the scope of laws relevant to identifying illegal logging and associated trade. The United States is also seeking to ensure that the work of the APEC Experts Group complements and supports commitments we are seeking in the TPP agreement negotiations to combat illegal logging and associated trade.
The Pacific Ocean plays a vital role in promoting economic prosperity and serves as a conduit for 90 percent of world trade. APEC economies account for over 80 percent of global aquaculture production and more than 60 percent of capture fisheries production. APEC Ministers Responsible for Ocean-Related Issues met in August to discuss the establishment of a more integrated, sustainable, inclusive and mutually beneficial partnership through ocean cooperation among APEC members, in 4 priority areas: (1) coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and disaster resilience; (2) the role of the ocean on food security and food-related trade; (3) marine science, technology and innovation; and (4) Blue Economy.
In addition, the United States is working with our TPP partners to secure first-ever commitments in a trade agreement to combat illegal fishing and promote sustainable fisheries management practices across the region. The United States is also leading action-oriented, cross-fora projects and initiatives such as the formation of the Virtual Working Group on Marine Debris to target marine debris in the APEC region, and many other U.S.-led projects. We are also finalizing a draft of the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) Food Security Action Plan, leading a study on post-harvest loss in fisheries with the World Fish Organization, and leading a project on assessing the economic value of green infrastructure in coastal ecosystems for disaster risk resilience, among other examples.
APEC Ministers met in 2014 to discuss the significance of sustainable development in mining. They called on all APEC economies to take necessary domestic measures to meet the requirements of the Convention. The Minamata Convention on Mercury has implications for the protection of human health and the environment, as it calls for parties to control and reduce mercury emissions to the air from a number of industrial sources, reduce or eliminate the use of mercury in certain products and industrial processes as well as in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), and reduce the supply of mercury. The ministers also recognized the important role of corporate social responsibility efforts towards establishing responsible mining practices.
Chemical Health and Safety
The United States works closely with health and safety agencies throughout the APEC region to enhance cooperation on chemical health and safety regulations that increase protection for consumers, employees, and the environment, while facilitating trade by minimizing duplication of effort and increasing transparency.
The United States is leading work for APEC economies to take new actions to promote the widespread usage of electric vehicles through aligning existing regulations and basing new regulations on international standards. Such actions would ensure that the new wave of environmentally friendly, technologically advanced electric vehicles are safe and convenient to use in order to gain greater acceptance by consumers and a bigger share of the global automotive marketplace. A centerpiece of these actions is a commitment to interoperability of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and communications protocols, so as to create greater opportunities for trade and investment in this area. These efforts align with past APEC commitments to reduce fossil fuel consumption, reduce pollution, and grow renewable sources of energy as key environmental objectives.
During its 2011 APEC host year, the United States secured a groundbreaking Leaders commitment to reduce tariffs on environmental goods to five percent or less by the end of 2015. In 2012, APEC economies succeeded in developing a list of 54 environmental goods, such as water treatment filters, gas and wind turbines, and solar water heaters, which would be subject to this tariff reduction commitment.
As part of their efforts to implement this commitment, economies will submit implementation plans by the Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting in early spring next year. The United States has continued to lead on this issue in APEC and is providing technical assistance to help economies implement their environmental goods commitments effectively. The 2011 Leaders commitment on environmental goods provided the impetus for the United States and several other APEC economies, including China, to launch the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations in July 2014, which will build on this Leaders commitment.
Reducing Aviation Emissions
APEC Leaders have stressed the importance of integrating Transportation and Energy ministerial agendas, and the United States-led APEC Air Traffic Management (ATM) Emissions Reduction technical cooperation initiative -endorsed by APEC’s Transportation and Energy Working Groups – responds to their mandate. Under this initiative, the United States plans to partner with the civil aviation authorities of Vietnam and the Philippines on a technical cooperation effort to analyze how advanced air traffic management technologies and practices can improve the efficiency of airline operations and reduce aviation emissions and fuel consumption within these two member economies and later share best practices with all APEC members through a technical workshop in 2015. The project will also support the commitment by APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) to achieve an APEC-wide target of a 10 percent improvement in supply-chain performance by 2015, in terms of reductions in transport sector time and cost.