USCIB Attends 2016 APEC Senior Officials Meeting in Peru

Lima_PeruComprised of 21 Asia-Pacific economies that account for 40 percent of the world’s population and half the world’s trade, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is the region’s top economic dialogue dedicated to encouraging economic growth, regional cooperation and trade and investment.

USCIB members are continuing to make the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) a priority forum in which to engage, as it is key to accelerating regional economic integration as well as promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth.

To aid private sector engagement, USCIB works with the U.S. APEC business coalition to meet with APEC officials and participate in APEC meetings throughout the year, culminating in the APEC CEO Summit, a meeting of CEOs and leaders from the APEC economies.

To direct and facilitate the work with our members and APEC officials, USCIB has compiled its annual priority issues and recommendations paper, which can be found here. As can be seen in our priorities, USCIB in actively engaged in a number of the APEC working groups related to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) ICT, Chemicals and Customs.

Two of USCIB’s policy team are attending the third APEC Senior Officials Meeting and related meetings (SOM III) in Lima, Peru, held August 15-28. See details below for how they and our members will be engaging:

Customs and Trade Facilitation

Megan Giblin, USCIB’s director for Customs and trade facilitation will be participating in the following APEC meetings: APEC Business – Customs Dialogue (ABCD); Subcommittee on Customs Procedures meetings, under her role as co-chair for the Customs Virtual Working Group; the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) meetings; as well as an event that Peru will be hosting related to the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Megan will continue advocacy work initiated at SOM I related to WTO TFA ratification as well as engagement on implementation efforts, establishing and fostering relationships with Customs officials from APEC economies as well as members of industry, and identifying linkages to the work underway within the USCIB Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee, including, but not limited to, e-commerce, de minimis, and single-window efforts.

Gilbin serves as the industry Co-Chair to the APEC Subcommittee on Customs Procedures Virtual Working Group (VWG), which is comprised of both customs officials and members of the private sector. The VWG will not meet in person at SOM III, but Megan will give the VWG update during the SCCP meetings. Additionally, Megan is a member of the A2C2, which is focused on capacity-building efforts and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Given that several USCIB members are part of the Customs VWG and the A2C2, Giblin will continue to consider ways to increase industry engagement and potentially reduce duplicative industry resource or input requests.

Chemicals Management 

Helen Medina, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation will be attending the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD) meetings.  She will be supporting USCIB members attending the CD-related meetings which include: the American Chemistry Council, American Petroleum Institute, The Boeing Company, General Electric and the Nickel Institute. The CD serves as a forum for regulatory officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It reflects APEC members’ recognition of the importance of engaging with the private sector and building public-private sector dialogue and cooperation for mutual benefit. USCIB members have found this forum a valuable place to promote their regional business priorities. For example, USCIB members will be participating in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) capacity building workshop. The goal of the workshop is to

  • Raise awareness of the international trade obligations of GHS
  • Raise the level of knowledge on the aims and methodologies to implement GHS by government and the private sector; and
  • Determine the proper APEC actions to reduce non-tariff barriers (NTB) attributable to GHS implementation

Digital Trade

USCIB member Christopher Hoff (Crowell & Moring LLP), will be participating in the SOM III meetings of the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and the Data Privacy Subgroup (DPS) on behalf of USCIB. Importantly, USCIB ICT Policy Committee Vice Chair Joseph Alhadeff (Oracle), who also chairs the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Digital Economy Commission, tapped Hoff to lead the ICC Delegation at the ECSG and DPS meetings. ICC enjoys special guest participatory status in the ECSG.

The ECSG meetings, August 15-16 and 19, will feature a workshop, “E-Commerce for Inclusion and Competitiveness.” The program will explore such issues as the use of new technologies to reach new customers who do not have access to financial services, the importance of policies to promote social inclusion through the use of e-commerce, and the importance of cloud computing and data services as tools in the digital economy. The ECSG Plenary, August 19, will include further development of an ECSG strategic plan, which will entail establishment of a Big Data Innovation Friends of the Chair (FOC) group and review of the 2008 APEC Digital Prosperity Checklist, among other issues.

DPS meetings, August 17-18, will continue to expand APEC economies’ understanding of and participation in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules system (CBPR). The DPS likely will revisit SOM I discussions of a communications strategy that more effectively explains the benefits of the CBPR system.

The CBPR system, endorsed by APEC leaders in 2011, is a voluntary, enforceable privacy code of conduct for data transfers by information controllers in the Asia-Pacific region, which implements the nine APEC Privacy Principles, requires third-party certification, and is enforceable by Privacy Enforcement Authorities of member economies. Perhaps most importantly, the CBPR system was conceived to preemptively discourage APEC economies from imposing unreasonable data flow restrictions on companies.

Reflecting the extent to which economic activity has become “digitalized,” APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), which meets August 19, 23, and 24, will continue its year-long exploration of the opportunities and challenges of digital trade. Medina will represent USCIB interests in this meeting.

The APEC Trade Ministers acknowledged in their May 18 statement that digital trade indeed facilitates cross-border trade, innovation and economic growth. The CTI’s second Trade Policy Dialogue, “A New Digital Trade Agenda,” to be held August 19, is aimed at fleshing this out further, with an eye toward securing the endorsement of APEC Leaders that digital trade constitutes a next-generation trade and investment issue. The August 19 Dialogue will tackle an agenda that includes: (1) examining research undertaken by the APEC Secretariat that may suggest the possible scope of future digital trade work in APEC; (2) considering the elements of an enabling environment for digital trade; (3) highlighting case studies that offer useful practices for advancing digital trade; (4) exploring potential challenges economies face as they navigate the ever-changing digital and Internet environment, and (5) zeroing in on how recent trade agreements have sought to address digital trade challenges.

SOM III will also include a Workshop on Advertising Self-Regulation. Through ICC participation at the workshop, USCIB lends support to the efforts to improve advertising standards throughout the APEC region, and to provide input to APEC economies on the use of regulation and self-regulation, including the ICC Marketing Code.

If you would like any further information on the above meetings or issues, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Customs: Megan Giblin,
Chemicals: Helen Medina,
ICT and Data Privacy: Barbara Wanner,
Marketing and Advertising: Jonathan Huneke,
APEC priorities: Elizabeth Kim,

Staff Contact:   Brian Lowry

Senior Counsel
Tel: 202.617.3159

Brian Lowry leads USCIB’s policy work on trade, health, food, agriculture, chemicals, and intellectual property. He also coordinates USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Lowry joined USCIB in February 2021 having previously worked as an executive in the agriculture and crop science industry. Through his role as an executive, Lowry was also a longtime USCIB corporate member leader, as well as co-chair of USCIB’s working group on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda. Lowry was also the first board chair of the UN Global Compact Network USA.
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