President Obama discussed a range of economic and trade matters at the 24th annual meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders held Nov. 20 in Peru. According to a White House press release, the president sought to reassure leaders from Trans-Pacific Partnership signatory countries about the United States’ strong support for trade and its commitment to strengthening ties with the Asia-Pacific region. He also commended those leaders who have already successfully worked with their legislatures to advance the TPP ratification process and encouraged additional efforts in this area.
President Obama also took stock of the evolution of U.S-China economic and trade relations in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Among other things, President Obama encouraged President Xi to advance reforms that will help China shift to a sustainable, domestic consumption-driven economic model, including reforms of state-owned enterprises and efforts to strengthen China’s financial system and transition to a market-determined exchange rate in an orderly fashion. In addition, he stressed the urgency of addressing excess capacity in industrial sectors, including by launching as soon as possible the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity in line with the G-20 leaders’ Hangzhou agreement.
APEC leaders also adopted or reaffirmed various initiatives and commitments aimed at ensuring that the benefits of the global economy are more broadly shared. According to a White House fact sheet, the leaders took the following actions.
- reaffirmed commitments on monetary and exchange rate policies and committed to refrain from competitive devaluation and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes
- endorsed the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap as a means of paving the way for long-term, ambitious services liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region by 2025
- committed to continue substantive work that explores ways that APEC economies can reduce barriers to digital trade
- endorsed best practices in trade secrets protection and enforcement against misappropriation
- reaffirmed that economies should not conduct or support information and communications technology-enabled theft of intellectual property or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors
- agreed to enhance digital value chains and promote digital trade in APEC by advancing participation in the APEC cross-border privacy rules system
- supported the initiative of 12 APEC economies to facilitate digital trade by agreeing not to impose customs duties on electronically transmitted content
- endorsed the Phase Two Supply Chain Action Plan 2017-2020 to enhance trade facilitation and connectivity
- agreed to redouble efforts to make it 10 percent easier, faster and cheaper to do business in the region by 2018 by implementing the second phase of the Ease of Doing Business Initiative
- reaffirmed commitments and encouraged cooperation to combat illicit trade associated with illegal logging, fishing and wildlife trafficking
- agreed to strengthen food safety systems by enhancing predictability and transparency in developing regulations and industry-regulator dialogue
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