Delivering remarks at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit in Yokohama today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke about the efforts APEC is making to build an environment more conducive to job growth and innovation, and how business leaders must assume more responsibility to do the same.
The Summit was hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), which represents 515 local chambers of commerce and industry and boasts 1.35 million members all over Japan. More than 95 percent of its members are SMEs.
As the U.S. representative to the APEC SME working group, Locke highlighted the steps the U.S Commerce Department is taking to promote opportunity and job creation throughout the Asia-Pacific region – from cultivating the development of small- and medium enterprises to addressing innovation and intellectual property rights. He also called on the assembled business leaders to get more involved in communicating to political leaders and other stakeholders what they do, how they contribute to their community, and what policies they need to succeed. The Secretary also talked about the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility in helping businesses prove their value to the communities where they operate.
Next May, the U.S. Department of Commerce will host the APEC SME Ministerial and related meetings in Big Sky, Montana during the 2011 APEC Summit.
APEC is an intergovernmental group comprised of 21 member economies which account for approximately 54 percent of world GDP and nearly 44 percent of world trade. Established in 1989 to further enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region, APEC has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region, creating efficient domestic economies and dramatically increasing exports.
U.S. trade to the APEC region totaled $1.6 trillion in 2009, and $1.3 trillion year-to-date through August 2010. Remarks