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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9118
JPY
USD
124.31
GBP
USD
0.6420
CAD
USD
1.3048
INR
USD
64.136

Rates may not be current.