The APEC Russia host year recently came to a close with the APEC CEO Summit, Ministers’ and Leaders’ meetings held in Vladivostok in early September. USCIB President & CEO Peter Robinson and Justine Badimon, manager for APEC affairs, attended the CEO Summit on behalf of USCIB members and the U.S. APEC Business Coalition from September 5-8.
The Business Coalition was represented in Vladivostok by USCIB and our partners, the National Center for APEC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. ASEAN Business Council and the U.S.-Russia Business Council, along with many executives from USCIB member companies.
Ministers and leaders from the APEC economies met in Vladivostok over the first week of September to assess the progress of the 2012 year and plan the way forward. On September 6th APEC ministers released a positive statement on their commitment toward fostering trade and economic growth in the region, and addressing next generation trade and investment issues.
Over 50 representatives from U.S. companies attended the summit, which included a full agenda of panel discussions with members of the business community on current trade and economic issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region. Leaders addressing the summit included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
U.S. participants also took part in the Business Coalition bilateral meetings, which were held parallel to the summit, with senior foreign government officials from the APEC economies including Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (which Robinson chaired) and Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming. These bilateral meetings gave the U.S. business community an opportunity for dialogue on APEC and Trans-Pacific Partnership issues and a chance to express concerns about business issues faced in those economies. The coalition also met with U.S. officials including Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats, and Deputy U.S. Trade Representatives Demetrios Marantis and Michael Punke.
One of the most notable outcomes from the ministers and leaders meetings in Vladivostok was agreement on a list of Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) that directly and positively contribute to APEC’s green growth and sustainable development objectives. By the end of 2015 applied tariff rates on all environmental goods included on the list are to be reduced to five per cent or less.
In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Robinson wrote: “Together with agreement by the APEC ministers on a comprehensive approach to trade facilitation and supply chain connectivity – additional high-priority items for USCIB’s members – the green goods agreement demonstrates the ability of APEC to tackle and push forward important shared priorities.”
In addition to significant agreements on APEC’s approach to supply-chain performance and commitments to work toward prevention of local content requirements in the region, USCIB welcomed the formation of a Virtual Customs Business Working Group, which will enhance collaboration with the private sector on customs-related issues. Nasim Deylami, USCIB’s manager for customs and trade facilitation, played an integral role in creating the Virtual Working Group with the support of USCIB members and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We look forward to the progress that this group will bring to maintaining a consistent and meaningful dialogue on customs issues in the APEC arena.
Turning ahead to Indonesia’s host year in 2013, USCIB is looking forward to continuing our role ensuring the engagement of the business community in maintaining the positive momentum of work and dialogue in the APEC process. The next APEC CEO Summit will take place October 5-7 in Bali, Indonesia.
To learn more about USCIB’s APEC work, please keep an eye out for USCIB’s 2013 APEC Priorities Paper, which will be finalized in late October.
Staff contact: Justine Badimon