19th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting

November 12-13, 2011
Honolulu, Hawaii

Table of Contents

The Honolulu Declaration - Toward a Seamless Regional Economy

In 1993, when the United States hosted the first Leaders’ Meeting on Blake Island near Seattle, APEC Leaders hailed the rise of the Asia-Pacific’s voice in the global economy. Today, as we gather in Honolulu, in the heart of the Pacific, APEC Leaders look out on a region that is performing beyond even the most optimistic expectations. Our region is now the vanguard for global growth, a status that we have achieved through a steady commitment to the APEC mission of regional economic integration and to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

We meet at a time of uncertainty for the global economy. Growth and job creation have weakened in many economies, and significant downside risks remain, including those arising from the financial challenges in Europe and a succession of natural disasters in our region.

These challenges have only strengthened our commitment to cooperation as the way forward. Building on the Yokohama Vision, we firmly resolve to support the strong, sustained, and balanced growth of the regional and global economy.

We recognize that further trade liberalization is essential to achieving a sustainable global recovery in the aftermath of the global recession of 2008-2009. We have deep concerns regarding the impasse confronting the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and the reality is that a conclusion of all elements of the Doha agenda is unlikely in the near future. We will not complete the DDA if we continue to conduct negotiations as we have in the past, but none of us intends to abandon efforts that would allow for better progress toward the ultimate conclusion of the DDA. We instruct officials to approach the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference and negotiations beyond it with a view to fresh thinking and a determination to begin exploring fresh and credible approaches. These include possibilities that involve advancing specific parts of the Doha agenda where consensus might be reached on a provisional or definitive basis.

As our economies and others continue to address evolving challenges and opportunities, it will be important for the WTO to contribute, with development as a continuing priority. We reaffirm our pledge against protectionism through a standstill and extend this commitment through the end of 2015. We urge WTO Members meeting at the Eighth Ministerial Conference in December 2011 to build on the commitment made at APEC through agreement on an anti-protectionist pledge. We direct APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade to use the 2012 meeting in Kazan to assess ways to promote progress on the DDA in the WTO. We look forward to the conclusion of Russia’s WTO accession process at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference.

In APEC this year, we have committed to taking concrete steps toward a seamless regional economy, in order to link our economies and markets ever closer together, to the benefit of all.

Strengthening Regional Economic Integration and Expanding Trade

APEC’s core mission continues to be further integration of our economies and expansion of trade among us. We come together in APEC to pursue these goals, recognizing that trade and investment are critical to job creation and greater economic prosperity for all our economies. We further recognize that strengthening regional economic integration also plays a key role in promoting regional peace and stability.

We have pursued these objectives in 2011 by addressing next-generation trade and investment issues, including through our trade agreements and a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which is a major instrument to further APEC’s regional economic integration agenda. Specifically, we will advance a set of policies to promote effective, non-discriminatory, and market-driven innovation policy to set a model for innovation in the region as the best path toward fostering innovations that will increase productivity and ensure economic growth (see Annex A). We also decided on areas of cooperation that could be included in our trade agreements to enhance the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in global production chains (see Annex B).

In addition, we will take the following steps to further open markets and facilitate regional trade:

  • Establish commercially useful de minimis values in our economies that will exempt low-value shipments from customs duties and streamline entry documentation requirements, as a key contribution to our goal of an APEC-wide 10 percent improvement in supply-chain performance by 2015;

  • Undertake specific actions to address the top barriers that SMEs face in trading in the region to boost the capacity of these companies to contribute to economic growth and job creation in our economies;

  • Play a leadership role in launching negotiations to expand the product coverage and membership of the WTO Information Technology Agreement, in order to build on the contribution this Agreement has made to promoting trade and investment and driving innovation in APEC economies;

  • Launch the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative to explore ways to make travel in the region faster, easier, and more secure;

  • Implement our APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform plans by 2015 in order to reduce behind-the-border barriers and promote balanced,inclusive, and sustainable growth;

  • Implement the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules System to reduce barriers to information flows, enhance consumer privacy, and promote interoperability across regional data privacy regimes;

  • Implement the Niigata Declaration on Food Security, and reaffirm our commitment to a standstill, first made by APEC Leaders in 2008, as it pertains to export restrictions and other WTO-inconsistent trade measures; and

  • Facilitate commerce and promote economic growth by pursuing liberalization of air cargo services.

Promoting Green Growth

We are committed to advancing our shared green growth objectives. We can and must address both the region’s economic and environmental challenges by speeding the transition toward a global low-carbon economy in a way that enhances energy security and creates new sources of economic growth and employment.

We have advanced these objectives significantly in 2011. In 2012, economies will work to develop an APEC list of environmental goods that directly and positively contribute to our green growth and sustainable development objectives, on which we are resolved to reduce by the end of 2015 our applied tariff rates to 5% or less, taking into account economies’ economic circumstances, without prejudice to APEC economies’ positions in the WTO. Economies will also eliminate non-tariff barriers, including local content requirements that distort environmental goods and services trade (see Annex C). Taking these concrete actions will help our businesses and citizens access important environmental technologies at lower costs, which in turn will facilitate their use, contributing significantly to APEC’s sustainable development goals.

We will also take the following steps to promote our green growth goals:

  • Rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while recognizing the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services, and set up a voluntary reporting mechanism on progress, which we will review annually;

  • Aspire to reduce APEC's aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035;

  • Promote energy efficiency by taking specific steps related to transport, buildings, power grids, jobs, knowledge sharing, and education in support of energy-smart low-carbon communities;

  • Incorporate low-emissions development strategies into our economic growth plans and leverage APEC to push forward this agenda, including through the Low-Carbon Model Town and other projects; and

  • Work to implement appropriate measures to prohibit trade in illegally harvested forest products and undertake additional activities in APEC to combat illegal logging and associated trade.

Regulatory Convergence and Cooperation

Regulatory reform, including eliminating unjustifiably burdensome and outdated regulations, can boost productivity and promote job creation, while also protecting the environment and public health, safety, and security. In addition, as trade and investment flows become more globalized, greater alignment in regulatory approaches, including to international standards, is necessary to prevent needless barriers to trade from stifling economic growth and employment.

This year, we have advanced these objectives by committing to take specific steps by 2013 to implement good regulatory practices in our economies, including by ensuring internal coordination of regulatory work; assessing regulatory impacts; and conducting public consultation (see Annex D).

We will also take the following steps to increase convergence and cooperation in our regulatory systems:

  • Pursue common objectives to prevent technical barriers to trade related to emerging green technologies, including smart grid interoperability standards, green buildings, and solar technologies;

  • Strengthen food safety systems and facilitate trade, including by supporting the Global Food Safety Fund – an innovative capacity-building partnership with the World Bank; and

  • Ensure implementation of our APEC anti-corruption and open government commitments by 2014 through deeper cooperation in APEC.

Looking Forward

To promote strong, inclusive regional growth, we commit to take concrete actions to expand economic opportunities for women in APEC economies. We welcome the San Francisco Declaration on Women and the Economy and pledge to monitor its implementation.

We applaud the contributions of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) to our work. Recognizing that private enterprise is the engine of trade, investment, and innovation, we have committed ourselves to enhancing the role of the private sector in APEC, through greater input into APEC’s working groups and the establishment of new public-private Policy Partnerships. Expressing solidarity with the people affected by tragic natural disasters, we pledge to incorporate the private sector and civil society more substantively into our emergency preparedness efforts, as a critical piece of our efforts to build more resilient communities and businesses.

Recognizing the range of experiences and systems across APEC economies, we reaffirm the importance of supporting our ambitious vision for a seamless regional economy through our abiding commitment to delivering effective economic and technical cooperation.

Enormous progress has been made. But our work toward a truly seamless regional economy is only in the beginning stages. We instruct our ministers and officials to carry forward this work and to strengthen the economic foundation of our shared Asia-Pacific community. We look forward to reviewing further progress when we convene again during Russia’s hosting of APEC in 2012.

Annex A

Promoting Effective, Non-Discriminatory, and Market-Driven Innovation Policy

Encouraging innovation – the process by which individuals and businesses generate and commercialize new ideas – is critical to the current and future prosperity of APEC economies. Our collective economic growth and competitiveness depend on all our peoples' and economies' capacity to innovate. Open and non-discriminatory trade and investment policies that foster competition, promote access to technology, and encourage the creation of innovations and capacity to innovate necessary for growth are critical aspects of any successful innovation strategy. Therefore, we as APEC Leaders agree to:

  1. Develop and maintain an open economy that allows the flow of capital, people, ideas, goods, and services across borders in ways that ensure competition, enhance productivity, and foster growth across the Asia-Pacific region;

  2. Enable the development and adoption of new and innovative business models by maintaining regulatory systems, including licensing regimes, that support competitive markets;

  3. Maintain regulatory systems that are transparent and non-discriminatory, provide due process, and include opportunities for early and meaningful stakeholder engagement, consistent with the APEC Leaders' Transparency Standards;

  4. Promote open investment, including by working to remove restrictions on foreign direct investment, consistent with the APEC Non-Binding Investment Principles and the APEC Investment Facilitation Action Plan;

  5. Encourage the use and participation in the development of voluntary, market-led, and global standards that promote innovation, competition, and create global markets for products and services;

  6. Ensure that technical regulations and requirements serve legitimate public policy objectives (e.g., health, security, safety, and environment), and do not serve to stifle innovation, limit access to technologies, reduce competition, or create unnecessary trade barriers;

  7. Develop and implement technical regulations and requirements, taking into consideration the APEC-OECD Integrated Checklist on Regulatory Reform;

  8. Provide effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights to create a climate in which innovators, including small and medium-sized businesses, are encouraged to invest in the research, development, and commercialization of leading-edge technologies and promote the dissemination of technologies and services throughout APEC economies;

  9. Refrain from adopting or maintaining measures that make the location of the development or ownership of intellectual property a condition for eligibility for government procurement preferences, without prejudice to economies' positions in the WTO;

  10. Ensure that the terms and conditions of transfer of technology, production processes, and other proprietary information are left to the agreement between individual enterprises, consistent with WTO rules;

  11. Promote government procurement policies that are transparent, non-discriminatory, openly pro-competitive, and performance-based, consistent with the APEC Non-Binding Principles on Government Procurement;

  12. Implement information and communication technology policies, including those related to data privacy and security, in such a way as to minimize the trade-distorting impact of and promote greater global alignment in those policies;

  13. Effectively and efficiently manage spectrum so as to enable innovative use of this resource, avoiding undue limitations on applications and technologies that utilize spectrum, other than as necessary to mitigate harmful interference; and

  14. Encourage cooperation and interaction among researchers and laboratories, including through joint research and development, in order to accelerate innovations that can be applied to address the common economic and other challenges APEC economies face.

We instruct officials to develop capacity-building activities that will further assist economies to promote effective, non-discriminatory, and market-driven innovation policy.

Annex B

Enhancing Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Participation in Global Production Chains

Recent Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have begun to include chapters or provisions on cooperation and addressing the development of SMEs, and their results have enabled SMEs to strengthen capacity in their productive processes. However, further efforts could be made to foster the participation of SMEs in global production chains through addressing the issue in next generation trade agreements. This will facilitate the development of SMEs as supporting industries1.

Therefore, we agreed that APEC could promote the inclusion of language in FTAs, setting out areas in which parties will cooperate to enhance SMEs' participation in global production chains in order to foster trade and investment in the region. These areas of cooperation could include:

  • Enhancing SMEs' ability to take advantage of opportunities throughout the production chain
    • a) Enhancing SMEs' ability to identify commercial partners and direct investment and joint venture opportunities in foreign markets.
    • b) Sharing information on assistance programs the parties have in place to foster SMEs participation as supporting industries.
    • c) Enhancing SMEs' understanding of how to become reliable supporting industries and to establish business ties with other supporting industries, final goods suppliers, and exporting industries.
  • Enhancing SMEs' ability to take advantage of trade opportunities
    • d) Enhancing SMEs' human resources development through training programs on international trade, and entrepreneurial and technical education.
    • e) Making publicly available trade-related regulations and other policies relevant to SMEs and their participation in global production chains.
  • Promote enhanced use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and intellectual property protection
    • f) Enhancing SMEs' understanding of how to utilize ICT networks and other innovative technologies to participate in global production chains.
    • g) Enhancing SMEs' understanding of how to acquire and protect their intellectual property rights.
  • Facilitate SMEs' access to trade and investment-related information:
    • h) Enhancing Parties understanding of how to develop and promote seminars, workshops, trade opportunities and other activities, including establishing and maintaining a publicly available online tool kit to convey information, including text, tariff schedules, and references that can be useful for trading, investing, or doing business, to make it easier for SMEs to take advantage of the benefits of Free Trade Agreements.

Annex C

Trade and Investment in Environmental Goods and Services

In 2007, in Sydney, we made a commitment to avoid barriers to trade and investment in pursuit of clean and sustainable development, and additionally launched an action agenda including promotion of environmental goods and services as a way to reduce trade barriers in this area. In 2009, we further enhanced this work by endorsing the APEC Work Programme on Environmental Goods and Services designed to help APEC reach agreement on actions to support sustainable growth in the region, advance work to increase utilization and dissemination of EGS, reduce existing barriers and refrain from introducing new barriers to trade and investment in EGS, and enhance capabilities of economies to develop their EGS sectors.

In 2011, we are now ready to take the concrete steps necessary to achieve these past commitments, and to make green growth a reality in all of our economies. Current estimates suggest that tens of trillions of dollars of investment will be required in the coming years to meet our clean energy, clean air, sanitation and other environmental goals. Ensuring that we can meet these goals at the lowest cost, utilizing the latest technologies, while also creating new, green jobs will be a significant challenge. In order to meet this challenge, we will benefit from open markets and enhanced environmental technology dissemination. Therefore, we agree to undertake the following actions to promote trade and investment in environmental goods and services:

  • In 2012, economies will work to develop an APEC list of environmental goods that directly and positively contribute to our green growth and sustainable development objectives, on which we are resolved to reduce by the end of 2015 our applied tariff rates to 5% or less, taking into account economies' economic circumstances, without prejudice to APEC economies' positions in the WTO.

  • Eliminate, consistent with our WTO obligations, existing local content requirements that distort environmental goods and services trade in the region by the end of 2012, and refrain from adopting new ones, including as part of any future domestic clean energy policy.

  • Ensure that all government support and incentive programs aimed at promoting environmental goods and services are transparent and consistent with economies' WTO obligations.

  • Ensure that all government procurement policies pertaining to environmental goods and services are transparent, consistent with the 1999 APEC Non-Binding Principles on Government Procurement.

  • Promote regulatory coherence and cooperation in areas affecting environmental goods, including by better aligning approaches to standards and conformance in the environmental goods sector.

  • Affirm our commitment to pursue liberalization of environmental goods and services in the World Trade Organization (WTO), including by exploring creative and innovative solutions to advance the Doha mandate to reduce and, as appropriate, eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to these goods and services.

  • Pursue progressive liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services in our Free Trade Agreements.

We instruct officials to undertake capacity-building activities relevant to implementing these actions, including exchanging views, experiences, and best practices to promote EGS trade and investment.

Annex D

Strengthening Implementation of Good Regulatory Practices

Building high quality regulatory environments in APEC economies is a key component of APEC's work to promote free and open trade and investment in the region. Since its inception, APEC has promoted the use of good regulatory practices and worked to reduce the negative impact of regulatory divergences on trade and investment. APEC work in this area seeks to embed the concepts of non-discrimination, transparency, and accountability into the regulatory cultures of APEC economies, which will help create jobs and promote economic growth.

Therefore, we as APEC Leaders agree to undertake the following actions by November 2013 to strengthen the implementation of Good Regulatory Practices across APEC economies:

  1. Develop, use, or strengthen processes, mechanisms, or bodies to enable a whole of government approach in the development of regulations, including coordination across regulatory, standards, and trade agencies. The functions of this process, mechanism or body may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Development of an economy-wide, cost-sensitive, and forward-looking regulatory agenda;
    • Establishment of overarching and publicly available principles to guide good regulatory governance; and
    • Review of existing regulations on a periodic basis to improve their effectiveness and address burdensome requirements contained within.
  2. Develop, use, or strengthen mechanisms for assessing the impact of regulations, which involves effective and consistent use of the tools and best practices for developing new regulations and reviewing existing regulations. Such tools and best practices may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • When deciding to regulate, clearly identify the need for a regulatory proposal, describing the nature and significance of the problem;
    • Examine feasible alternatives, including less burdensome alternatives involving market-based or voluntary solutions, for addressing the problem;
    • Assess both the costs and benefits of each available alternative for addressing the problem and identify the reasons why the alternative selected best achieves the policy objective. Given that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, qualitative assessments are more feasible in some cases; and
    • Examine the incentives and mechanisms in place to review and streamline existing regulations.
  3. Implement the principles related to public consultation of the 2005 APEC-OECD Integrated Checklist on Regulatory Reform section on regulatory policy and the 2004 Leaders' Statement to Implement the APEC Transparency Standards. Implementation of these principles may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Establish procedures that provide stakeholders with a meaningful opportunity to comment on regulatory proposals;
    • Provide plainly written, clear, and concise draft measures for public comment with adequate time for review, so that stakeholders and government can have a genuine dialogue that leads to improved regulatory outcomes; and
    • Ensure that regulators consider public comments.