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Strengthening the Global Economy Through International Trade: The APEC CEO Summit

November 11, 2011

apecThis weekend, I am joining several colleagues at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. Each year, business and government leaders from across the region come together to discuss policies, opportunities and developments that impact the region’s economies and international trade. FedEx has long been a supporter of the organization and this year we are especially proud that Michael L. Ducker, our Chief Operating Officer and President, International, FedEx Express, is serving as Vice Chair of the APEC 2011 Host Committee, which organized this year’s CEO Summit.

APEC, comprised of 21 member economies, embodies one of the world’s fastest growing emerging markets. In fact, APEC’s member economies together represent approximately 2.5 billion consumers and about 60 percent of global income. Over the last decade, increased trans-Pacific trade has generated 70 percent of the increase in global economic growth.

At FedEx, we have seen first-hand how market access and creating opportunities for connectivity leads to greater innovation, job creation and significant economic growth – both in the United States and abroad. Our customers depend on our ability to ship high-tech products, pharmaceuticals, auto parts, medical equipment and many other goods to more than 220 countries and territories. Capitalizing on the expanding global access through continuous innovation enables us to provide broader market reach and the ability to move goods faster, easier and cheaper for our global customers.

We also work with our small and medium-sized customers to identify opportunities to expand their business into new markets. APEC and its member economies are integral to this effort – representing about 60 percent of total U.S. exports; increasing access to these markets for U.S. businesses is essential to economic growth and recovery.

For years, FedEx has worked with APEC to establish initiatives that will enhance trade facilitation efforts, improve supply chain performance and stimulate more efficient cross-border trade. While APEC has always been a leader in these areas, this year we are pleased to see that its members have committed to initiating a series of practical measures that will benefit our company, our customers and the overall global economy. 

We are especially supportive of the Pathfinder initiative that facilitates the movement of low-value (also known as “de minimis”) goods across borders by eliminating duties and simplifying customs procedures on goods valued at less than $100. This may sound simple but it’s hugely important to making international trade more efficient and competitive. As more APEC economies join the Pathfinder initiative, and as the “de minimis” levels are increased, we can save our customers time and money and allow customs officials to focus more time and resources on higher value, higher risk goods.

Other positive measures APEC has implemented this year include the development of a Supply Chain Connectivity Framework that establishes a series of trade facilitation measures APEC economies can take to improve their supply chain performance, and agreeing to the ambitious goal of improving trade facilitation performance by 10 percent by 2015.

These measures will not only benefit traditional commerce; trade facilitation also helps make cross-border e-commerce much simpler and easier. The Internet has made the world a much faster and smaller place, and it will continue to create huge opportunities for global competition and supply chain facilitation.

As we continue to address the next generation of trade issues, we welcome the progress shown in these concrete and practical measures, as well as the substantial progress made in the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) announced by the U.S. Trade Representative We are especially pleased that Japan has expressed its interest in the TPP negotiations. Of course, much work remains to be done and Japan would need to meet the TPP’s high standards for trade liberalization and fair competition in order to join. But Japan’s interest clearly demonstrates the strategic importance of the TPP to the Asia-Pacific region.

***View photos from the conference***

Ralph Carter

Managing Director, Legal, Trade & International Affairs, FedEx Express

As Managing Director of Legal, Trade & International Affairs, Ralph Carter is responsible for FedEx policies on global trade and trade facilitation. Carter’s team advocates for simpler, more open trade rules that reduce barriers and help FedEx customers expand their international business. Carter is a frequent speaker and contributor to international trade events and initiatives including at APEC, the WTO, World Bank, World Economic Forum and the Business 20 (“B20”). Carter’s work has helped FedEx become a respected global leader in international trade policy. Before establishing the FedEx Legal, Trade & International Affairs office in Washington, DC, Carter was Managing Director in the legal department of the Europe, Middle East and Africa FedEx headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Before joining FedEx, Carter worked at the United States Department of State, serving as the Special Assistant to the United States Ambassador to the European Union. He is a former member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and was a cleared advisor and staff liaison for the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations (ACTPN).

View all Ralph Carter’s blog posts

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