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

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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
0.7718
JPY
USD
107.32
GBP
USD
0.6125
CAD
USD
1.0974
INR
USD
60.919

Rates may not be current.