Every year, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization has an annual meeting to discuss economic growth, investment and trade in the Asia-Pacific area. APEC is composed of members from 21 different countries in the region. The economies of these countries account for 57 percent of world GDP, and nearly half of world’s trade volume in population. In the first ten years of its existence, which commenced in Canberra, Australia in 1989, it accounted for almost 70 percent of world economic growth.
The original 1989 meeting was among ministers from 12 nations. Nine additional members have joined since then, and APEC is considered the premier organization in the region for the promotion of trade and prosperity. The 2011 meeting will be hosted by the United States for the first time since 1993, with meetings in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Montana and Hawaii. The U.S. considers APEC of strategic economic importance, and pursues the growth of jobs and prosperity through the organization.
APEC meetings include not only top economic officials, but also technocrats and experts, all with the goal of achieving concrete progress. APEC works with private sector representatives to coordinate activities that address the economic needs of the region. This is especially important for the U.S. as it tries to open up protected Eastern markets to American exporters. The U.S. is committed to reducing and eliminating trade barriers and fostering open investment in technology. It would like to see a level playing field among all APEC members, especially China, which is known for its protectionist policies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement was formulated with the help of APEC as a step in the right direction.
From the U.S. point of view, some APEC nations do not support enough domestic demand to create a balance between imports and exports. The trade deficit in the U.S. is mirrored by the trade surplus in China, thanks to its protectionist policies and currency manipulation. In the process, the Chinese have, according to Washington, created an unsustainable rate of growth. The U.S. supports economic reforms, like tackling the auto insurance quotes industry reform, that will spur innovation and increase wealth for the impoverished masses in the region. To that end, APEC has adopted an agenda that emphasizes energy efficiency and a smaller carbon footprint. It looks to invest in green industries and to develop emerging economies. Achieving these lofty goals will require intense worker training and education throughout the region. Small business development is key to the success of many APEC economies. The U.S. encourages small business development as well as rights for working women and improved social protection policies.