A gantry crane moves a shipping container at Kwai Tsing Container Terminal, operated by Hong Kong International Terminals Ltd. (HIT), a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., in Hong Kong, China,(Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

An App for That? APEC Looks to Blunt Trade Protectionism

(Bloomberg) -- Amid fears that trade barriers are going to increase, the largest bloc of Pacific Rim nations has come up with an idea to stem the protectionist tide: create an app.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members are planning to hold a 24-hour competition to design the app among 11 teams of software and web developers as a way to enliven proceedings of trade officials to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam on May 18-19.

The 21-nation group pledged in November to reject protectionism and tackle the slowdown in trade growth by expanding economic integration and continuing work to set up a free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific region, based on existing pacts and others.

 That’s a tall order after the Trump administration abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have been the biggest trade pact in history.

An App for That? APEC Looks to Blunt Trade Protectionism


The competing teams are being called to build a “new mobile or web solution to one or more key challenges faced by medium, small, and micro enterprise owners who are interested in expanding their businesses through cross-border trade,” APEC said in a release.

The contest’s organizers said SMEs, which account for roughly 98 percent of all businesses and employ two-thirds of the region’s workforce, are a particular focus because online communications may help them reach customers and markets that were traditionally out of reach.

All employers need to do is download the app.

An App for That? APEC Looks to Blunt Trade Protectionism




To contact the author of this story: David Roman in Singapore at droman16@bloomberg.net.