APEC pledges to create “seamless regional economy”
March 14, 2011
While most of the world’s focus was on Japan’s response to its earthquake and related crisis, trade experts were quietly working behind the scenes in Washington last week to establish a long-term strategy for rebuilding that country’s economy.
“The U.S. wants to build towards the goal of a ‘seamless regional economy’ that produces economic growth, employment and prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region,” said senior White House official Michael Froman in his capacity as Chair of the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Senior Officials’ Froman is also the Deputy Assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs.
Froman opened the meeting with an expression of condolence and solidarity to Japan on behalf of the United States and all APEC economies, in light of the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Against that backdrop, Senior Officials pledged to redouble APEC’s efforts in disaster preparedness and recovery.
APEC senior officials held their first meeting during the United States’ host year in Washington, DC last Saturday to discuss priorities for 2011. Specifically, they are looking to identify practical and concrete initiatives in 2011 to: 1) Strengthen regional economic integration and expand trade, 2) Promote green growth; and 3) Advance regulatory convergence and cooperation.
“The United States sees 2011 as an important year to reaffirm and strengthen our ongoing commitment to the Asia-Pacific – in particular, our economic engagement with economies throughout the region,” said Froman. “We see our participation in and hosting of APEC as vital to this effort.”
In addition, the U.S. is advancing ways to streamline and strengthen the way APEC does business by focusing on solving problems and achieving clear, meaningful progress toward APEC goals with input from the private sector.
“Throughout 2011, we plan to hold multiple private sector-led activities on topics ranging from energy and transportation to innovation and trade, food security, and women’s entrepreneurship that will allow APEC officials to draw upon recommendations from industry and other stakeholders when developing initiatives and outcomes.”
“These are all big issues that present real challenges to our economies and to the future of this organization. If we are going to be successful in addressing them, we will all need to work together, to think outside the box, and to push ourselves to truly ‘get stuff done’ in 2011,” said Froman concluded.
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