From the joint blog with Jay Timmons and Business New Zealand’s Phil O’Reilly to meetings and hallway discussions, trade, investment and infrastructure dominated our first full day at the APEC CEO Summit.
In meetings with Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Michael Froman, and Deputy USTRs Wendy Cutler and Michael Punke, the discussion centered on opening markets, eliminating forced localization and other barriers to greater growth in the region, and promoting high standards that will advance competitiveness and economic opportunity.
Jay and I kept our focus on the importance of pro-growth outcomes that will connect businesses with customers throughout the region. We emphasized the importance of the strongest possible outcomes in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on concrete new market access and strong standards, including on investment and intellectual property. We met with manufacturers throughout the day, and the same themes continued to emerge:
- Improving connectivity and economic engagement by reducing trade barriers, including the red tape at the border and behind the border such as that created by differing and costly regulations, product standards and assessments;
- Emphasizing core disciplines and standards that are vital to promote growth in the Asia Pacific and advance the competitiveness of America’s manufacturers, from intellectual property to investment rules; and
- Creating trading systems that keep in step with the technological advances that are critical to new growth.
At lunch, Jay joined Ed Rapp, Group President of Caterpillar Inc. in a discussion roundtable to release a new NAM, NCAPEC and ABAC report –Attracting and Harnessing Infrastructure FDI to Secure Lasting Economic Growth and companion checklist to spur governments to adopt policies and eliminate barriers to growing investment in infrastructure. Melody Meyer, President of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company, and Bob Prieto, Senior Vice President, Strategy for Fluor discussed growth opportunities, but also challenges in the region. Secretary Pritzker and many other Asia Pacific business delegates joined the discussion.
There was widespread agreement on the need for further action to build and modernize the infrastructure that is vital for everything from transportation, water and electricity to energy production, technological connectivity and greater trade flows. Many of the recommendations to governments centered on some of the same topics we covered in the trade discussions – from the protection of investment and intellectual property, keeping up with technology, fair rules and the elimination of unnecessary barriers. With an estimated $8 trillion in infrastructure needs in the Asia Pacific over the next ten years, APEC economies have an unprecedented opportunity to take action that will promote not just infrastructure growth, trade and investment, but also the broader economic growth that all economies seek.
Tomorrow, I’ll share some of the technology focus and a new report on growth prospects for technology leaders and laggards.
Linda Dempsey, the NAM’s Vice President of International Economic Affairs, is blogging from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Bali, Indonesia.