Companies Need More Say in APEC Policies – Clinton

Businesses of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc should have more influence on decision making, pushing governments to do away with protectionism, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.

“The private sector needs to stand up for the system that will allow you to thrive over the long run,” Clinton said, addressing the APEC forum in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.

“That means pushing governments to support high-standard trade agreements like the [2005] Trans-Pacific [Strategic Economic] Partnership to drop harmful protectionist policies,” she said.

Clinton said American businesses are actively investing in APEC countries, with U.S. exports to the region rising 45 percent between 2009 and 2011.

However, she said, they need open, transparent and fair treatment to succeed, and should be more proactive in fighting protectionism, which is unproductive in the long term.

This includes the United States, where the State Department is lobbying for the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment that imposes formal restrictions on trade with Russia, she said, adding that the Congress may cancel the amendment – a relic of the Cold War – by October.

The amendment, named after Congressmen Henry M. Jackson and Charles Vanik, was introduced in 1974 to restrict trade with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration.

The restrictions imposed by Jackson-Vanik are often waived, but remain in place and are a thorn in the side of Russia-U.S. trade relations.

Clinton also said Russia’s recent admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was in the interests of Russia, the United States and the global economy.


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