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Smarter, Modern Global Policies That Cut Trade Barriers Are the Answer – Reporting Back From the APEC CEO Summit

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I had the pleasure of participating in the 2013 CEO Summit for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Bali, Indonesia earlier this month. This gathering took place alongside APEC’s annual meeting of leaders from 21 of the world’s most dynamic economies. They made important progress to advance the future of global trade – the underpinning of innovation, entrepreneurship, jobs and sustainable growth.

While the last five years have been difficult in the wake of the global financial crisis, more people are back to work and small and medium-sized businesses are beginning to grow again. Still, businesses today, and especially smaller businesses, continue to confront a complex spaghetti bowl of overlapping rules and competing regulation that hinders innovation and development, including expensive tariffs and confusing and lengthy customs approval processes to get their products into consumers’ hands.

At FedEx, making global trade easier, faster and more reliable is our business. We know from experience that lowering trade barriers helps entrepreneurs and companies to expand operations and services and – most importantly – create new, good-paying jobs. Additionally, with the rise of the Internet and e-commerce, there are now tremendous untapped prospects for individuals and entrepreneurs to increase their purchases and sales across borders.

At the APEC meetings, leaders took several important steps that will make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy and sell around the globe and help cut costly red tape:

  • Leaders agreed to move forward on a plan to assist APEC economies with improving their supply chain performance, which is of particular importance to FedEx. This trade facilitation initiative included a list of recommended supply chain best practices and a capacity building program to help economies implement these recommendations. This is part of APEC’s objective to improve regional supply chain performance in terms of time, cost and reliability by 10% by 2015.

  • APEC extended its standstill commitment to refrain from adopting new trade restrictive measures until the end of 2016 and reaffirmed its pledge to roll back protectionist and trade-distorting measures. APEC’s stance against protectionism is something that we at FedEx strongly support, but we know from experience that protectionist measures continue to appear across the globe and that we must do all we can to oppose them.

  • APEC leaders also expressed their support for an ambitious outcome at the next WTO meeting in December. FedEx has been actively involved in the WTO negotiations to conclude a trade facilitation agreement that would bring substantial improvements in customs procedures around the world.

  • Finally, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting the leaders of the countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations issued a statement that significant progress had been made towards completing the negotiations by the end of the year.

It was a successful Summit and FedEx was able to once again demonstrate its leadership in the global trade debate.  China will host APEC next year and we look forward to continuing our work and collaboration with APEC in 2014.

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