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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.