News / Economy

APEC Officials Work to Boost Exports, Help Small Business

Trade ministers and officials from around the Pacific are gathering in the United States this week for talks intended to increase trade, economic growth and employment in their countries.

Ministers with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum gather Thursday to work on a couple of agreements to cut tariffs as well as legal, regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles to trade.

APEC by the Numbers

  • 21 member economies
  • 40 percent of world population
  • 55 percent of global gross domestic product
  • 43 percent of world trade

One of those agreements is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which involves the United States and eight other nations including Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The TPP has been the subject of several rounds of negotiations. APEC expert Fred Bergsten says the wide economic gaps between the countries mean talks are likely to take quite a while.

“This is a negotiation between high-income advanced countries and still low-income developing countries. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership for example, you have the United States and Vietnam. That’s a sharp divergence in levels of economic development and sophistication and economic systems, which makes it challenging,” said Bergsten.

This meeting is part of series leading up to the annual APEC leaders’ summit in Hawaii next November. Officials in charge of trade and small businesses in the 21 APEC members will wrap up their meeting in Big Sky, Montana, on Saturday.

Many APEC members regard the TPP as a step toward the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which could involve all 21 members. Bergsten, the director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says there has been good progress in cutting tariffs in many parts of APEC. But he says it is harder to negotiate on more subtle, and sometimes informal, barriers to trade. Nevertheless, Bergsten expects officials from the nine TPP nations to craft at least the outline of an agreement before the APEC summit later this year.

Free-trade advocates say cutting tariffs lowers costs for consumers and creates markets for producers. But free trade has critics. For instance, South Korea farmers have opposed trade agreements out of concern that foreign competition would hurt their income. In the United States, many workers blame imports for the decline in the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The need to create jobs is a key reason APEC is focusing on small businesses this year. Experts at the U.S. Small Business Administration say most new jobs come from small businesses and raising their ability to export will help them grow.

There are 28 million small businesses in the United States but only about a quarter of a million of them export. Most that do export send their products to just one foreign nation.

At the Small Business Administration, Senior International Trade Specialist Richard Ginzberg says 97 percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses. He says businesses that do not export are ignoring the 96 percent of the world's customers who live outside the United States. Ginzberg explains that some companies need reassurance about tapping overseas markets.

"The biggest obstacle we have found in talking to so many small businesses is the fear factor of doing business globally versus doing business domestically ... small businesses have strong perceptions about the high rate of risk, the danger of not getting paid and perhaps even loss of their goods," said Ginzzberg.

Ginzberg says small companies often lack the resources to cope with the regulatory issues regarding exports, such as financing and taxes. But he says 20 U.S. government agencies are working to help businesses cope with rules that vary widely from nation to nation.

That work is part of a new initiative to double U.S. exports and create two million jobs. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the Asia-Pacific region is critical to that effort because it will be responsible for half the world's economic growth over the next several years.

"This is an incredibly dynamic region, incredible growth trends. 40 percent of the world's population, 54 percent of the world's GDP, but we account for 44 percent of the world's trade," said Kirk.

U.S. Senator Max Baucus wants to bring more of that trade to his home state of Montana. So he persuaded officials to stage this APEC trade meeting in the ski resort town of Big Sky.

Baucus says thousands of diplomats, businessmen, and journalists will have a good time in Big Sky, which will help his state's ranchers, miners, and other businesses build the relationships needed to make more sales.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.