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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum

On June 4, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis will attend 2010 APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade. This week's trade spotlight is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies. Starting out as an informal dialogue group, APEC has now become the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic cooperation. Its goal is to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community.   

APEC countries consist of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.   

The Asia-Pacific – spanning over 20 time zones, home to over 40 percent of the world’s population, and speaking at least 20 major languages – today accounts for more than half of global economic output and almost half of world trade. Even given the deteriorating global economy in 2009, U.S. goods exports to the Asia-Pacific region totaled $618 billion. Agriculture exports were $72 billion and U.S. services exports to the region grew to $187 billion. U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises alone exported $193 billion to the Asia-Pacific in 2009. These APEC realities show up where they matter most – in the paychecks and pocketbooks of American manufacturers, workers, farmers, ranchers, and service providers.   

A telecommunications firm in Alabama, which employees almost 1,000 people, has been exporting for 13 years to over 50 nations, primarily to Asian countries. In South Carolina, a manufacturing firm that exports raw materials to businesses in Chile, employees 160 workers – each one relying solely on international trade for his or her job.   

Ambassador Kirk announced in March that the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Trade Ministerial will be held in Big Sky, Montana during the week of May 23, 2011. The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting ("MRT") is held annually by the APEC host economy for that year, in order to advance APEC's trade and investment and regional economic integration agenda, and provide support for the multilateral trading system.