APEC marks 30th Anniversary, U.S. hosts APEC leaders, ministers to deepen ties, confront global challenges


The 2023 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week hosted by the United States and chaired by President Joe Biden commences in San Francisco | Photo via APEC Secretariat

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first time Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders met on November 20, 1993, in Blake Island, Washington. President Bill Clinton convened the inaugural group to build a new economic foundation for the Asia-Pacific that harnesses the energy of member economies, strengthens cooperation, and promotes prosperity.

Under the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,” leaders, ministers, and officials will meet here at the AELW Moscone Center from November 13-17, hosted by the U.S. to further APEC’s work across a wide range of policy areas this year including trade and investment facilitation, the digital economy, clean energy and climate, health, gender equity and equality as well as anti-corruption and food security. President Joe Biden chairs the 2023 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

Guided by this year’s three priorities of interconnected, innovative, and inclusive, senior officials are starting the week-long deliberations under three pillars of engagement: 1) the Digital Pacific pillar to expand access to digital connectivity; 2) the Sustainability pillar to promote sustainable and inclusive energy transition; and 3) the Resilient and Inclusive Growth pillar to deepen economies’ ties and improve supply chain resiliency.

Ambassador Matt Murray, US Senior Official for APEC, said, “Hosting APEC this year provides the United States with the opportunity to shape trade policies and drive economic growth in a vibrant Asia-Pacific region, which represents nearly 40 percent of the world’s population, almost half of global trade and over 60 percent of the global economy. “

He noted that seven of the United States’ top 10 trading partners are APEC members. Businesses from APEC member economies have invested more than USD 1.7 trillion in the United States and employ 2.3 million American workers.

Ambassador Murray added, “This trade and investment engagement underscores APEC’s strategic role in our economic partnerships as this forum remains the premier platform for advancing economic and trade policies, fostering innovative ideas and supporting businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “

“By actively participating in regional and global value chains, SMEs overcome trade barriers, expand their presence, drive innovation and access new markets.”

This week-long meeting will culminate in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 16-17. Guided by President Biden, Asia-Pacific leaders will establish a strategic agenda and regional goals for the following year.

Preceding the arrival of APEC leaders, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, will chair the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting on November 13. At their meeting, finance ministers will focus on policies that increase long-term economic output while addressing progress on social goals such as reducing inequality and environmental damage.

On November 14-15, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai will host their foreign and trade counterparts for the APEC Ministerial Meeting.

The APEC CEO Summit will also be held from 14-16 November, drawing business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the region to discuss building a future driven by sustainability, inclusion, resilience, and innovation.

“At the core, APEC is about how 21 member economies which are very varied in terms of economic development and political structures can sit together in a room, confront the most pressing economic challenges, deliberate on difficult issues and find common ground—all to further initiatives towards a better world,” said Dr Rebecca Sta Maria, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.

“It is so necessary during this week’s set of meetings that we bring member economies together, not to focus on our differences and what divides us, but to focus on what we have been doing these past few years for regional economic integration, for youth, for women, for Indigenous Peoples, for our small businesses, and most importantly, to improve the lives of our citizens,” Dr. Sta Maria added.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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