WASHINGTON - United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, on October 23 - 24. Zoellick will discuss U.S. policies to promote and expand economic development, opportunity, and prosperity by liberalizing trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region and globally.
Zoellick will emphasize the opportunity and need for APEC members to work together to achieve the goals established in global trade negotiations launched in Doha, Qatar, last November.
"APEC is important to promoting prosperity, hope, opportunity, security, and the rule of law by liberalizing trade throughout the Asia Pacific region and the world," Zoellick stated. "The United States is continuing to provide strong leadership in support of opening markets. I look forward to discussing with my fellow ministers how we can work together to achieve those goals globally, through the Doha Development Agenda, and regionally, among the APEC members."
The APEC meetings will discuss ways that APEC members can work together to expand trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region through increased transparency; trade policies for e-commerce; reduction of transaction costs; and regional trade agreements; and, a range of economic and technical cooperation activities.
During the APEC conference, Zoellick will meet individually with ministers responsible for trade from some of the 21 APEC members. Following the Ministerial, there will be an Economic Leaders Meeting, which President Bush will attend.
Started in 1989, APEC provides a valuable forum for representatives to develop ways to enhance economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC members have agreed that free trade is a regional goal that APEC members should seek to achieve (the Bogor goals).
In 2001, U.S. two-way trade with APEC members exceeded $1.1 trillion, about two-thirds of U.S. trade with the world. Zoellick assisted in the formation and early years of APEC as an Under Secretary of State.
The APEC members are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States.
Throughout the year, the United States has been moving forward on trade liberalization, globally, regionally, and bilaterally. The passage of Trade Promotion Authority has helped the United States spur momentum globally, on the Doha Development Agenda in the World Trade Organization (WTO), regionally in meetings such as APEC, and bilaterally, as we move to complete free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore, both APEC members. On October 31 and November 1, Zoellick meets with his Western Hemisphere counterparts in Quito, Ecuador to discuss progress on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Last week, Zoellick met with ministers from the Cairns Group of agriculture exporting countries in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to discuss liberalizing trade in agriculture within ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations. On July 25, the United States became the first WTO member to put forward a comprehensive agricultural trade reform proposal, calling for elimination of export subsidies, cuts of $100 billion in annual allowed global trade-distorting domestic subsidies, and lowering average allowed global tariffs from 62 percent to 15 percent. The United States is the only WTO member with a proposal that calls for reductions in its own farm program.
Other examples of U.S. global leadership include:
• In June, the United States proposed a framework for easing WTO rules to allow poor countries to gain greater access to drugs needed to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other public health crises.
• On July 1, the United States announced proposals for liberalizing global trade in services, designed to remove foreign barriers in areas such as financial services, telecommunications, and environmental services.
• On August 9, the United States submitted a proposal to expand transparency and public access to World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings. The proposal would open WTO dispute settlement proceedings to the public for the first time and give greater public access to briefs and panel reports.
• On October 17, the United States submitted a paper to the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules highlighting the need to preserve and improve the effectiveness of global trade rules to deal with market-distorting trade practices still prevalent throughout the world.