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Obama Administration Welcomes APEC Endorsement of Best Practices for Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement against Trade Secret Theft

November 21, 2016

The United States’ innovation economy, and the businesses and workers it supports, require strong, enforceable trade secret protections

Progress achieved in APEC sets the course for stronger trade secret protections in the Asia-Pacific region

Washington, D.C. – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today welcomed the endorsement of a set of Best Practices in Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement Against Misappropriation by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders and Ministers  in Lima, Peru. Establishing these best practices is essential to protecting and promoting the United States’ innovation economy, and the many American businesses and workers those industries support.

“The United States’ innovation economy requires strong, enforceable trade secret protections. The theft of trade secrets, including through cybertheft, is a real and serious concern for many American companies,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “The progress achieved today at APEC is an important step in the right direction. We look forward to working with countries in the Asia-Pacific to raise standards for trade secret protection and enforcement, including the adoption of these best practices."

The Best Practices document is the culmination of a multi-year initiative led by the United States with the support of APEC Leaders and Ministers, which also included a four-volume report on Trade Secrets Protection in APEC Economies. Recognizing the important role that trade secrets play in many industries, APEC economies identified eight best practices that will serve as a toolkit for good policy development across the region. Among these best practices are:

  • Broad standing to claims for the protection of trade secrets and enforcement against trade secret theft;
  • Civil and criminal liability, as well as remedies and penalties, for trade secret theft;
  • Robust procedural measures in enforcement proceedings; and
  • Adoption of written measures that enhance protection against further disclosure when governments require the submission of trade secrets. 

These best practices also recognize the important role of appropriate safeguards, such as measures protecting good faith lawful disclosures to provide evidence of a violation of law.

USTR's work on trade secret protection and enforcement in APEC is part of a broader effort under the Obama Administration's Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets. Trade secrets play a crucial role in America's global competitiveness. As the Obama Administration’s Strategy makes clear, the United States will continue to act vigorously to combat the theft of American trade secrets that could be used by foreign companies or foreign governments to gain an unfair commercial advantage over U.S. companies.


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.