U.S.–Asia Pacific Economic Trends and Issues

APEC’s 21 member economies, which represent nearly 40% of the world’s population and 50% of the world’s GDP, are not just in Asia. Russia, the US, Canada and Mexico are also standing members. On April 5, 2011, Kurt Tong – the United States’ ranking APEC official – discussed the group’s most pressing issues.

Kurt Tong is the Economic Coordinator for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, organizing bureau-wide efforts on economic policy issues. He is also U.S. Senior Official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), managing all aspects of U.S. participation in that organization.

Mr. Tong has spent 17 years working and studying in East Asia, including service at the U.S. Embassies in Manila, Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul. Most recently, he served as Director for Korean Affairs at the Department of State from 2008 to 2009. Prior to that, he was Director for Asian Economic Affairs at the National Security Council from 2006 to 2008. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Tokyo University Faculty of Economics from 1995 to 1996. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Tong was an Associate with the Boston Consulting Group in Tokyo.

Mr. Tong holds a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and studied graduate-level economics at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. He has also studied at the Beijing Institute of Education, Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo, and International Christian University in Tokyo.

Mr. Tong speaks and reads Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. He has published articles in Nihon Keizai Kenkyu (an academic journal of the Japan Center for Economic Research), Foreign Policy, and the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (now Critical Asian Studies).

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