CalChamber to Attend APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco

When Asia-Pacific business leaders gather this week in San Francisco for their annual summit, the California Chamber of Commerce will be represented.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit will take place from November 14–16, overlapping with the APEC Leaders’ Summit.

The CalChamber will be represented at the three-day summit by Board members Travis Kiyota, senior vice president, head of global corporate affairs at East West Bank; Margaret Wong, president and CEO of McWong International Inc.; and Sima Patel, CEO of Ridgemont Hospitality, along with CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera, and Vice President of International Affairs Susanne T. Stirling.

Dominic Ng, of CalChamber-member company East West Bank, is chairing the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). In this role, Ng and his counterparts are advising APEC leaders on issues affecting the continued economic growth of the APEC region.

The CEO Summit is the most important gathering of Asia-Pacific business leaders each year. Its attendees include CEOs of multinational corporations and leading companies in the Indo-Pacific, as well as leading figures from media outlets in the region. Private sector speakers will include CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, Pfizer, PwC, FedEx, ExxonMobil, and more.

The CEO Summit will begin with a reception on Tuesday evening. Approximately 1,200 CEOs, thought leaders and other stakeholders, together with Asia-Pacific political leaders will gather for the following two days of meetings and conversations. The summit will feature robust dialogue and engagement on global opportunities and challenges that are shaping economic, environmental and societal trends in the region, including sustainable energy transition, inclusive growth, resilient systems and societies, and the promise of innovation in building a better future world.

The first full day of the summit will feature sessions on topics such as “APEC and the World: Global Dynamics, Regional Impacts,” “Leveraging Technology to Address Global Challenges,” and sustainability. The CEOs also will hear remarks from various APEC leaders, as well as CEOs of global companies like Pfizer and Microsoft.

Highlights of the second day of the summit will be remarks from more APEC leaders and global CEOs. Session topics will include resilience, innovation, and artificial intelligence. The CEO Summit will conclude with a closing ceremony focused on Peru, the 2025 host for APEC meetings.

2023 Leaders’ Meeting

The CEO Summit will take place alongside the Leaders’ Meeting, which is expected to draw approximately 1,000 media representatives, and nearly 20,000 delegates from across APEC’s member economies.

The November APEC meeting will be the largest convening of world leaders in San Francisco since the United Nations Charter was signed in 1945 during the UN Conference on International Organization. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected alongside leaders from around the Asia-Pacific region, including President of China Xi Jinping.

The APEC 2023 theme is “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,” which the forum plans to achieve through three drivers of economic growth: trade and investment; innovation and digitalization; and strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

APEC Facts

Formed in 1989, APEC serves as a multilateral forum in which Asian and Pacific economies can solve economic problems and cooperate in developing key economic sectors. The APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

The 21 APEC economies represent approximately 60% of world gross domestic product (GDP), nearly 50% of world trade and 40% of the global population.

APEC commitments to promoting regional economic integration and trade, making trade and business easier across borders, supply chain connectivity, energy efficiency and renewables, and making sure growth is inclusive for everyone have seen great benefits for the region thus far as regional trade has increased multifold, with tariffs falling dramatically.

According to APEC, growth has soared in the region with real GDP and per capita income increasing, lifting millions out of poverty and creating a flourishing middle class.

California-APEC Trade

In 2022, California exported $129.89 billion to the APEC economies, 10.4% of the national total. Of total California exports to APEC, 22.8% ($29.66 billion) consisted of computers and electronics. Other top exports included non-electrical machinery, transportation equipment, processed foods and chemicals. California imported $406.13 billion from APEC in 2022, 30.8% of which was made up of computers and electronic products.

Other top imports included transportation equipment, electrical equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, and non-electrical machinery. In 2022, California was the top importing state from APEC and the second largest exporting state to the region.

CalChamber Position

The CalChamber, in keeping with longstanding policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business. New multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensure that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans.

The APEC is important as a vehicle for all Asia-Pacific economic integration. This regional group sets a high standard that will enhance the competitiveness of the economies that are part of it and help facilitate trade and promote investment among them, increasing their economic growth and development.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling


Susanne T. Stirling
Susanne T. Stirling, senior vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. See full bio.