National Center for APEC



  • January 30, 2018
    NCAPEC Executive Roundtable
  • February 1 - February 4, 2018
    ABAC I
  • February 24 - March 9, 2018
    First Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM I)
  • March 7, 2018
    SOM Dialogue on the Digital Economy
  • March 13 - March 16, 2018
    Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting (FCBDM)

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Giving U.S. Business a Voice in the Asia-Pacific

Giving U.S. Business a Voice in the Asia-Pacific

The National Center for APEC is dedicated to the proposition that business must have a voice in the development of policies that impact the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. NCAPEC is the only U.S. business association focused exclusively on facilitating American private sector input into Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process.

Complete list of NCAPEC publications

The Philippines’ hosting of APEC this year will culminate in APEC Leaders’ Week, a series of government and business meetings that will be held in Manila from November 13 – 19. The government meetings include the Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (11/13 - 14), APEC Ministerial (11/16 - 17) and the Annual Economic Leaders’ Meeting (11/18 - 19). Discussions at these meetings will focus on the Philippines’ deliverables described in the “SOM III Readout” article below, and officials will release statements from the Ministerial and Leaders’ Meetings that will affirm commitments and set the course for work in future years. These meetings also provide an opportunity for world leaders to engage in bilateral discussions on issues outside of APEC.

A number of private sector events will also be held during the week, including the fourth meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) (11/13 – 16), the APEC CEO Summit (11/16 – 18) and the ABAC SME Summit (11/17). During the week there will be numerous opportunities for public-private sector engagement. As in years past, several heads of state will be participating in dialogues and panel sessions at the at the CEO Summit, and ABAC Members will meet with the 21 APEC Leaders for their annual dialogue on November 18 to convey their key recommendations for the year.

The port city of Cebu, Philippines was the site of the third APEC Senior Officials’ and Related Meetings (SOM III) of the Philippines’ APEC host year. Over 75 separate sessions were held between August 24 and September 5. SOM III was followed immediately by the APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting and the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting. The Philippine government continued its successful efforts to maximize opportunities for public-private sector interaction at the meetings in Cebu where more than 50 private sector representatives were part of the US delegation.

SOM III marks the last opportunity before APEC Leaders’ Week for officials to meet in person to finalize deliverables for the year. For 2015, the Philippines aims to obtain APEC endorsement for an APEC Sustainable and Quality Growth Framework, a Services Cooperation Framework and an implementation plan for the Boracay Action Plan to Internationalize MSMEs, among other initiatives during the APEC meetings in Manila this November. Philippine government officials have indicated they would like Leaders to conclude the Manila meeting with a 2-3 page forward-looking statement that reflects the host economy’s themes of promoting regional economic integration, fostering SME participation in regional and global markets, investing in human capital development and building sustainable and resilient communities.

In addition to working on the aforementioned thematic initiatives, officials in Cebu continued to move forward APEC’s long list of other ongoing projects, including following up on APEC’s 2012 commitment to reduce tariffs to 5% or less on 54 environmental goods by the end of this year.  A number of economies have already met their commitments and many have a clear path to implementation by November.

Additionally, the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) met for the second time this year. NCAPEC attended in its role as the ABAC Co-chair for the group and was joined by several other private sector representatives. The capacity building activities being led by the A2C2 are designed to support APEC’s goal of achieving a 10% reduction in the cost of trade.

A number of health related events were also held in Cebu, including the High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy, which saw the participation of Health Ministers of a number of economies. Themes and deliverables from this and related events included the Healthy Women Healthy Economy Toolkit, business ethics for SMEs in the health industry and trade in healthcare products.

The APEC STAR Database is a powerful but little-known tool designed for businesses that provide services. An Australian initiative that is co-sponsored by Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and the United States, the STAR Database is a catalogue of the various market access policies and regulations facing service businesses seeking to enter APEC economies.

Thorough and user-friendly, the Database provides information on the requirements for 8 sectors of services in each APEC economy: distribution, education, financial, ICT, mining & energy, professional, telecommunications, and transportation & logistics. It also features an online forum where like-minded service providers can exchange information on their experience doing business in the Asia-Pacific.

The STAR Database can be accessed here.

The APEC Business Advisory Council, a group comprised of three business representatives from each APEC member economy, held its third meeting of 2015 from August 10-13 in Melbourne, Australia. ABAC finalized its annual Letter and Report to the APEC Leaders (the heads of state of APEC member economies), proposing a range of initiatives in support of inclusive growth and access to opportunities in the region. These include facilitating physical, human and institutional connectivity, creating robust and inclusive financial systems, promoting access to global markets for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), enhancing participation in global value chains, and strengthening the services sector. ABAC members also made progress on a number of other ongoing projects, outlined below.

ABAC members are working to provide a report detailing business perspectives on the issues around the realization of FTAAP. The report will contribute to the APEC FTAAP study being conducted by APEC officials this year, which will be completed by the end of 2016, and will emphasize the need for FTAAP to be grounded in the principles of inclusiveness, comprehensiveness, consultation, and transparency. 

Dr. Peter Lovelock of Technology Research Project Corporate provided an educational presentation on the digital economy in ABAC’s Connectivity Working Group. Dr. Lovelock gave an overview on why the components of a digital economy are critical to business, and how the digital economy cuts across multiple sectors posing challenges for effective policy-making domestically and internationally.

Monica Whaley of ABAC USA and NCAPEC President presented a draft energy report that was commissioned by APEC Energy officials to identify significant barriers to APEC energy trade and investment.

The Asia-Pacific Financial Forum (APFF) Caucus provided an overview of the 2015 draft APFF Report, a progress report to the APEC Finance Ministers on the APFF’s work. The Report is currently broken down by progress on a variety of initiatives, housed under five primary umbrellas that were identified in 2014:

  • Lending Infrastructure
  • Trade and Supply Chain Finance
  • Capital Markets
  • Insurance and Retirement Income
  • Linkages and Structural Issues

ABAC convened the inaugural Asia Pacific Food Industry Forum (AP-FIF) in May in Singapore. The AP-FIF was created to fill the need for a robust mechanism to gather and co-ordinate private sector perspectives on food security-related issues for advocacy both to the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) and to APEC Economic Leaders.

Dr. Federico Macaranas from the Asian Institute of Management provided a read-out of the completed study, Small Business as Part of Big Business GVC. The study looked at various business models that promote the internationalization of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through learning and collaboration through 27 cases and 24 caselets.

Bart Peterson of ABAC USA introduced a new report that ABAC is undertaking that examines the impact that early retirement caused by ill health has on pension funds. This new study further demonstrates the importance of workforce health as a competitiveness issue, with findings including:

  • high and increasing levels of chronic disease are imposing significant social and economic costs on APEC economies,
  • disability arising from chronic (and other) health conditions is significantly under reported in a number of developing APEC economies, potentially masking the size of substantial economic costs; and
  • the need for government and business to work in partnership to address the growth of chronic disease and associated risk factors.

Thirteen economies have now completed the Enablers of Infrastructure Investment Checklist, a self-assessment tool for governments developed by ABAC USA. The results will be published in the coming months on the NCAPEC website—follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates.

The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business is conducting a study to better understand the challenges that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face when engaging in cross-border e-Commerce.

They are asking SMEs involved in cross-border e-Commerce to fill out a confidential, less-than-15-minute questionnaire that will allow them to quantify the challenges that are most problematic to SMEs.

If you would like to take part in this study, which will be an important reference in the formation of policy priorities in the coming years, please follow this link. Responses are requested no later than Friday, October 2nd. 

NCAPEC recently worked with CSIS to organize the Asian Architecture Conference. The conference brought together key business executives, thought leaders and policymakers, and featured a wide range of speakers including United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and John Steele of Eli Lilly and Company, a U.S. member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

Discussions at the event focused on responding to the ambitions of major powers in Asia, economic priorities for APEC Leaders’ Week and the APEC CEO Summit, small businesses’ important role in encouraging growth, and security challenges facing the East Asia Summit.

To see the full program and video from the event, see the CSIS webpage.

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