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United States to contribute US$2.3 million to support APEC projects

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The United States will provide the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum with a total of US$2.3 million in 2007 to support capacity building projects across the Asia-Pacific region.

United States Senior Official for APEC Patricia Haslach announced the total contribution as the APEC Budget and Management Committee met in Singapore to determine funding priorities for APEC over the coming months.

"APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region and we want to ensure it has the resources it needs to implement a strong work program in capacity building and trade and investment facilitation." Haslach said.

In March 2007, the United States contributed US$500,000 to the APEC Support Fund (ASF). The United States will contribute an additional US$300,000 to the ASF. The new contribution will also include US$1.5 million for the Trade and Investment Liberalization and Facilitation Special Account (TILF).

The U.S. contribution to TILF will mark the first time that a new economy has joined Japan in supporting projects targeted at helping APEC members to further trade and investment liberalization. Previously, Japan had been the sole contributor to the TILF account.

The APEC Support Fund, established in 2004, supports projects for developing economies in the APEC region. It enables APEC to conduct economic and technical cooperation activities in such areas as health security, anti-corruption, and human resources development. Economic and technical cooperation is a pillar of APEC activities that complements APEC's trade and investment liberalization and facilitation agenda.

Haslach said that one of the main U.S. goals for APEC in 2007 is to help strengthen APEC's ability to launch effective capacity building initiatives by providing for a strong capacity building program.

"We hope that our contribution, and those of other APEC members, will support programs that lead us closer to the shared vision of regional economic integration," Haslach said.

The U.S. has been an active member in APEC since the forum's founding in 1989. The U.S. hosted the first annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in 1993 in Blake Island, Washington.

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