Senior Officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathered from 21 economies in Big Sky, Montana, this week for the second round of U.S.-hosted Senior Officials Meetings (SOM). They discussed progress made by APEC Working Groups and Committees since the first SOM took place in Washington, DC, in March. Work this year centers on three themes put forward by the United States as this year's APEC host: expanding trade, encouraging green growth, and strengthening regulatory cooperation and convergence.
The United States is aiming for more progress over the summer, so that the senior APEC officials can approve a robust package of recommendations at their next meeting in San Francisco, CA, in September, to be passed up to the leaders of the member economies in Honolulu in November.
This Montana site is a fitting location, with the mountain behind us symbolizing our high ambitions. Meeting here also emphasizes the importance of Asia-Pacific trade to Americans throughout the country. Montana produces $1.5 billion in exports every year, and its top six trading partners -- the destination for over 50 percent of its exports -- are APEC member economies. In addition, approximately 70 to 80 percent of all Montana wheat, the state's top export, is exported to Asia. This illustrates the impact that a more open, free, transparent, and fair economy can have on all Americans.
Following SOM in Big Sky, the meetings here continue with a Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting starting tomorrow and a Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Ministerial Meeting on Saturday. To learn more about APEC and the U.S. host year, please visit http://www.apec2011.gov or follow us on Twitter.