APCAC Supports U.S. Commitments to Free Trade with Asia

In November 2009, business leaders, heads of state, and government officials from the U.S. and 20 other Asia-Pacific economies gathered in Singapore for the 20th anniversary Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). APEC was established to increase economic growth and strengthen the Asia-Pacific community and has embraced the goals of free and open trade and investment among member economies.

The Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) welcomed the support by the Obama Administration for a number of key trade initiatives expressed during President Obama’s first trip to Asia and hopes that the U.S. will continue to move forward on a robust free trade agenda with the Asia-Pacific region.

During his trip, President Obama has announced that the U.S. will engage with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that the U.S. will continue to engage with ASEAN, and that he will push for ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2010.

“We are very glad that President Obama has made these positive remarks during his time in Asia. We hope that the U.S. will continue to move forward with concrete steps on a trade agenda that recognizes Asia’s importance to the recovery of the U.S. economy,” said Kristin Paulson, Chair of APCAC.

APCAC wrote to President Obama in early November this year requesting that he elaborate on his trade plans with Asia during his trip to the APEC summit.

The following are excerpts from the letter:

“APCAC… believes that the United States must pursue a comprehensive free trade agenda with Asia and continue to maintain its leadership role in trade in Asia to prevent being closed out of important trading opportunities for U.S. businesses in a potential East Asian or other trading alliance.

“In addition to joining the TPP, APCAC strongly urges the U.S. to commit to early ratification of the
U.S.-Korea FTA to expand U.S. market share in that important economy in Asia, particularly in light of the recently concluded EU-Korea FTA. We also encourage discussions leading to a possible U.S.-ASEAN FTA, to advance business opportunities for U.S. companies in the fast-growing ASEAN region, and ensure that the U.S. continues its leadership role in Asia.

“APCAC would like to thank AmCham Singapore for hosting 11 events for visiting American CEOs, business leaders and government officials to speak to a combined 1,305 Chamber members. This was an excellent model for AmCham involvement in APEC and may provide ideas for AmCham Japan to capitalize on their hosting of APEC in 2011.”

AmCham Sri Lanka - Colombo

AmCham Sri Lanka (Colombo)