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  May 22nd, 2017 | Written by

USTR Reaffirms US Commitment to Bilateral Trade Engagements

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  • Lighthizer’s first international trip as US Trade Representative.
  • APEC meeting topics included digital trade, services markets, intellectual property rights, and agriculture.
  • Lighthizer held bilateral meetings with envoys from Canada, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, China, and Australia.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer attended a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 20 to 21. The meeting marks Lighthizer’s first international trip as US Trade Representative.

With Vietnam as the 2017 APEC host economy, the APEC meeting topics included efforts to facilitate digital trade in the region, expand services markets, strengthen intellectual property rights protections, and eliminate barriers to agriculture and food trade.

“It was important to me to come to APEC first and foremost to reaffirm the President’s strong commitment to promoting bilateral free and fair trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Lighthizer. “APEC provides a great opportunity to focus energy on the barriers to its stated objective of free and open trade, a goal that cannot be met without tackling trade-distorting measures that have led to massive US trade imbalances in the region. I look forward to working with our trade partners to expand US export market access and address persistent unfair trade practices.”

In the margins of the MRT meetings, Lighthizer met trade ministers of APEC member economies, including through formal bilateral meetings with Canada, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, China, and Australia.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an economic forum for the Asia Pacific region. The United States is a founding member of APEC, which now consists of 21 member economies.

The Asia Pacific region is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world. US goods and services trade with APEC economies totaled $2.7 trillion in 2015. The US goods trade deficit with APEC economies was $576 billion in 2016.

According to Lighthizer, APEC provides an opportunity for the US to address this trade deficit by engaging trade partners to expand market access for US exports and addressing unfair trade practices.