Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Kicks Off APEC in San Francisco 


Monday, November 13, 2023
Contact:, (916) 445-8994


SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis kicked off the first day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week conference in San Francisco. The United States is chairing this year’s APEC, with San Francisco selected as the host city for this global event.   

Image of Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis and other world leaders at APEC conference

This week, heads of state from 21 countries, including U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi, will gather in San Francisco for the APEC conference. The conference will bring tens of thousands of visitors to San Francisco, including almost two dozen heads of state, more than a thousand CEOs, and hundreds of foreign journalists for discussions on regional economic issues, including sustainability, digitalization, women’s economic empowerment, trade facilitation, energy security, food security, and health. The meeting is expected to generate over 55,000 hotel stays and more than $50 million in revenue for San Francisco. 



Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; and Viet Nam. 

Image of Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis at APEC conference

On Sunday, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis started the day at the Opening Plenary Session of the APEC Business Advisory Council’s (ABAC) Fourth Meeting. At the meeting, she welcomed the delegates to California and presented an overview of the role of international trade in the state of California. United States Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and ABAC Chair and CEO of East West Bank Dominic Ng also spoke at the event.  

“The APEC economies are critical to California’s economic success and prosperity, and they play central roles in all aspects of our international relationships.  Today, one in four California jobs are tied to foreign trade.  Last year, more than 77 percent of our foreign trade, totaling over $536 billion was with APEC, led by the economies of China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, and Japan. Foreign direct investment into California from APEC accounted for nearly 260,000 jobs and constituted 41 percent of all FDI made in our state.” 

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

The APEC Economic Leaders created ABAC in November 1995 to provide a business perspective on specific areas of cooperation to APEC Leaders, Ministers, and Senior Officials. ABAC comprises up to three senior private sector members from each economy. ABAC members are appointed by their respective Leaders, and represent a range of business sectors, including small and medium enterprises.   

Image of Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis at APEC conference

Later in the day, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis joined ABAC again for a Welcome Reception co-hosted by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and ABAC Chair Dominic Ng. Attendees included ABAC delegation representatives, business executives from California and across APEC countries, and host committee sponsors.


“Over one year ago, when we learned that the United States would host APEC 2023, we made it known to the White House that the only place they needed to consider for the Leaders’ Summit was San Francisco.” 

Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis