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U.S. to Host 2011 APEC Trade Talks in Montana

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members represent more than half of global economy

The United States said Friday it would host annual talks among trade ministers of 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Montana in May next year.

"Bringing the APEC trade ministers to Montana will broaden our horizons both literally and figuratively, giving our partners a fresh perspective on the diverse places from which Americas entrepreneurs and exports can spring," said Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade envoy.

"The American West has always been a place of limitless possibility," he said.

The decision to host APEC in Montana "will highlight how important the quickly expanding Asia-Pacific markets are for Montana exporters," said Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who represents the state.

Montana exported nearly $400 million of merchandise to Asia alone, with exports to the region having grown an explosive 320% since 2001, Baucus said.

The United States will take over the chairmanship of APEC in 2011 and also host the annual summit of the forum, which comprises more than half the global economy and some 2.6 billion people including from such economies as China, Canada, Japan, Russia, Chile and Indonesia.

U.S. President Barack Obama's home state of Hawaii will host the 2011 leaders summit.

The 2010 APEC trade ministers meeting this year will be held in Sapporo, Japan, in June ahead of a summit in the Yokohama.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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