Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Statement on the Selection of San Francisco as the host of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November 2023

Image of the California State seal and text: Eleni Kounalakis Lieutenant Governor

November 19, 2022


SACRAMENTO, CA – Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis released the following statement today applauding the announcement by Vice-President Kamala Harris on the selection of San Francisco as the Host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting in November 2023:

“I am thrilled that San Francisco was selected to host the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in November 2023. The City of San Francisco and State of California is a natural choice to host the 2023 APEC Summit. We are honored to showcase our – and America’s – world-leading diversity, prosperity, and spirit of innovation. I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris Administration and the City of San Francisco to make APEC a success.”

California is the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of $3.35 trillion in 2021 and is the largest consumer market in the United States. Situated on the Pacific Rim, California has traded with the countries of Asia and the west coast of Latin America since the earliest days of the state’s history. Today, over 40 percent of all inbound container traffic to the United States, much of which originates in the economies of the Asia-Pacific region, passes through ports located in California. In 2021, California’s two-way trade with the APEC economies was more than $472.5 billion in goods.

Beyond deep commercial and trade ties, California’s cultural connections with the Pacific economies run deep. More Asian Americans live in California than any other state: over 31 percent of all Asian Americans living in the United States call California home, and those who do number over 5.8 million and constitute nearly 16 percent of California’s population. The Greater Los Angeles area and San Francisco Bay Area are the first and third metropolitan areas in terms of Asian American concentrations, and of the ten largest cities in the U.S., San Diego has the greatest proportion of Asian Americans.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. The 21 APEC member economies account for approximately 47 percent of global trade, and the region is the destination for more than 62 percent of U.S. goods exports. This will be the first time the United States has hosted APEC since 2011.


Eleni Kounalakis is the 50th lieutenant governor of California and the first woman elected to the position. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom designated Kounalakis as his Representative for International Affairs and Trade Development, and as Chair of the corresponding Interagency Committee that oversees the state’s trade, investment and international relations. Kounalakis is also alternating Chair of the three-member State Lands Commission, and a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents, the California State University Board of Trustees, and the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.