U.S. Trade and Development Agency

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Telephone (703) 875-4357 * Fax (703) 875-4009



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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357



HANOI – (November 16, 2006) Promoting, expanding, and liberalizing trade among Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies and reinvigoration of global trade talks is the focus of the 17th APEC Forum Summit being held this week in Hanoi, Vietnam. As a key initiative in the United States Government’s drive to expand global free and fair trade, USTDA Director Thelma J. Askey, together with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab, announced a new $4 million Global Customs Initiative.


"APEC leaders have clearly articulated the priority of upgrading member economies' customs processes and systems to better integrate with the global trading system," stated Director Askey at the Joint Ministers Meeting at Hanoi's National Convention Center. "This initiative will address critical customs training requirements in developing and middle income economies and incorporate proactive private sector-driven approaches to customs-related technical assistance."


USTDA's initiative will initially create a series of training sessions, orientation visits, and workshops. It is designed to be flexible and innovative thereby maximizing its impact with private sector partners. Potential topics to be addressed include port and supply chain security, IPR licensing and enforcement, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy measures, customs valuation, rules of origin, and compliance with bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.