Deputy United States Trade Representatives Susan Schwab and Karan Bhatia will be
traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam between May 31 and June 2 to participate
in the 12th meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Trade
"The United States is committed to deepening and strengthening its trade ties
with the growing and dynamic economies of Asian and Pacific nations," said
Ambassador Bhatia. "Since last year’s APEC gathering, the United States has
launched free trade agreements with the Republic of Korea and Malaysia and
completed a bilateral market access agreement as part of Vietnam’s bid to join
the World Trade Organization (WTO). This meeting will advance these and other
efforts we are undertaking to build and expand partnerships in the region."
Founded in 1989, APEC is a vital engine for global trade and investment
liberalization and facilitation. During the meeting, Ambassador Schwab will be
working with her counterparts to support the current WTO negotiations. The
meeting is also expected to significantly advance APEC's work on strengthening
intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, promoting high-quality
free trade agreements, and facilitating the free flow of goods throughout the
region. Representing 46 percent of world trade, the APEC economies are
critically important to the United States.
In addition to the United States, other APEC members include Australia,
Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, China; Indonesia, Japan, Korea,
Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia,
Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The meeting of trade ministers will provide a chance to bolster efforts to
conclude a multilateral WTO agreement connected to the Doha Development Round to
bring down trade barriers and increase trade flows.
"This week’s meeting comes at a crucial period for the WTO negotiations and I
look forward to working with my Asia-Pacific colleagues to bring new energy and
focus to the negotiations and to make strong progress this year in all areas,
particularly agriculture, industrial goods, services, trade facilitation and
development," said Amb. Schwab. "Concluding ambitious WTO negotiations in 2006
is a vital step toward realizing APEC’s goal of free and open trade in the
region and a critical part of the President’s agenda to level the playing field
and expand economic opportunities for American farmers, workers and
APEC Members have a long-standing tradition of providing leadership and
ambition to the WTO negotiations.
In Vietnam, APEC Trade Ministers will also consider an initiative by the
United States and Japan to strengthen efforts to combat trade in counterfeit and
pirated goods, and on-line piracy that threaten livelihoods, health and safety
across the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. The initiative calls on
APEC economies to work together to crack down on pirates and counterfeiters by
upgrading laws and procedures for the digital age and establishing common
guidelines to stop the import, export and transshipment of fake goods.
APEC has been a leader in global trade and investment liberalization and
facilitation and the driving force behind WTO initiatives on information
technology and trade facilitation and put the Doha Round both on track after the
2003 Cancun Ministerial. In its first ten years, the APEC region generated more
than 70 percent of global economic growth. APEC economies account for more than
a third of the world’s population, approximately 60 percent of world GDP and
roughly 47 percent of global trade.