Minimizing barriers to trade for green building products, materials and services in the Asia Pacific region through cooperation on standards and conformity assessment took significant steps forward at the March 3-4 Conference on Green Buildings and Green Growth, which focused on the enabling role of standards and trade. The U.S. government partnered with ASTM International and approximately 20 other trade associations, standards development organizations, and conformity assessment bodies to plan and host the conference, which attracted 150 participants from all of the 21 APEC member economies. The two-day conference was one event in a series leading up to the first APEC Senior Officials Meetings in 2011, hosted in Washington, D.C. The conference featured keynote addresses by Ronald Sims, undersecretary for housing and urban development; and Frank O’Brien-Bernini, vice president and chief sustainability officer, Owens Corning.

The building products sector is one of the highest performing manufacturing export sectors for the U.S., with exports of $30 billion in 2009 supporting an estimated 153,000 jobs. Key conference topics included a discussion of a recently completed APEC survey of its members’ policies on green buildings, and both voluntary and mandatory requirements for market entry. Businesses discussed their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of trading green building products in the Asia Pacific market.

APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, is a 21-member intergovernmental forum that works through private sector input to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia Pacific region. APEC represents 60% of global production, 47% of world trade, and one-third of the earth’s population.

Increasing economic engagement in the Asia Pacific region reflects President Obama’s priorities for the U.S. as the APEC host for 2011, which include strengthening regional economic integration, expanding trade, promoting green growth, and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence.

For more information,