Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus is ramping up his efforts to get the word out about top-level trade meetings he is bringing to Big Sky this May so that Montana employers across the state can take full advantage of the opportunity. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Small-and-Medium-Sized Enterprises Trade Ministers' meetings will bring cabinet-level representatives from 21 countries, along with hundreds of other officials, to Montana to discuss ways to deepen the trade and economic relationships among some of Montana's most important trading partners. This week Baucus asked Montana mayors, tribal leaders, and local chambers of commerce across the state to help connect employers with the trade summit and voice their ideas about how to make the meetings a success for Montana jobs.
"Asia-Pacific economies like China are growing quickly, and these markets offer a huge opportunity for Montana ranchers, farmers and small businesses to sell our products and support our workers. That's why we fought so hard to bring the APEC meetings to Montana, because more Montana exports means more Montana jobs," Baucus said. "The APEC meetings in Big Sky this Spring will give us the opportunity to show the world all this great state has to offer. We're encouraging employers across the state to get involved and let us know how we can help them make the most of this opportunity to create good-paying Montana jobs."
The Asia-Pacific region, including China, encompasses some of Montana's most important trading partners, and Montana's exports to APEC countries nearly tripled over the last decade. In September, Baucus brought the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhang Yesui, and other ambassadors from around the world to Big Sky to kick off the Montana Host Committee for APEC.
"The APEC meetings represent an incredible opportunity for Montana employers to build connections with some of the world's most important economies. Events like this don't come to Montana every day and we are so grateful to Max for making it all possible. The Montana Host Committee is rolling out all the stops to make these meetings a success and we are encouraging Montana employers get involved and take full advantage of this unique opportunity in our state," said Montana Chamber of Commerce President Webb Brown.
The United States was chosen among APEC's 21 member countries to host this year's summit, and Baucus fought hard to bring the Small-and-Medium-Sized Enterprises and Trade Ministers' meetings to Montana. The Montana meetings are part of a series of APEC events the U.S. is hosting throughout the year in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, San Francisco, and Big Sky.
As chairman of the Finance Committee, with sole jurisdiction over international trade, Baucus has made increasing Montana exports a cornerstone of his job-creation agenda. Last week, Baucus brought 15 Montana farmers and business owners on a trade mission to Colombia and Brazil to promote Montana jobs by selling more Montana products overseas.
Baucus' letter to Montana mayors, tribal leaders and local chambers of commerce follows below:
This May, cabinet-level officials from around the world will travel to Montana to participate in key meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. I am writing today to request your help in identifying how we can best make APEC work for Montana businesses.
APEC is a group of 21 of the world's most dynamic economies, including China, Japan, Korea, Canada, and Russia. APEC economies produce most of the world's gross domestic product, and they account for more than 40 percent of global trade and more than 40 percent of the world's population. May's APEC meetings will focus on ways to improve export opportunities for small, medium, and large businesses and will bring upwards of 1,000 visitors from around the globe to our great state. These people will not only be exposed to Montana as a destination, but will see our innovative manufacturing sector, eat our safe and delicious beef, and meet the hardworking folks who own and operate our small businesses. This is Montana's chance to shine on the global stage.
For the past six months, I have worked with our administration and the governments of the countries represented in APEC to create opportunities for Montana businesses. I have asked technical experts from the Department of Commerce to be available to assist companies with the challenges of exporting. Economic specialists from the countries represented also will be available to discuss market opportunities abroad.
My office and the Montana Host Committee have identified many Montana companies that currently export or plan to export to the region. The list is robust, including folks in agriculture, manufacturing, and high-tech fields. But we continue to expand our efforts across the state to ensure that the list represents all of Montana. If companies in your community are interested in doing business with APEC countries, or if you have other suggestions, please direct them to Brianne Dugan in my Bozeman office. They can reach her at (406) 586-6104 or Brianne_Dugan@baucus.senate.gov.
I am confident Montana will be a warm and welcoming host. I am hopeful these APEC meetings will lead to meaningful benefits across our state. And I look forward to working with you to make this event a great success.