SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — The global spotlight will be on San Francisco next week when some of the world’s most powerful people — including United States President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping — descend on the city for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
The summit runs from Nov. 11-17 and will include world leaders representing 21 member economies adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. The conference is the biggest international event in San Francisco since the founding of the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference in 1945.
APEC member economies are convening under the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All.” Specifically, the 2023 host year will focus on three overarching policy priorities: “interconnected, innovative, and inclusive.”
APEC economies account for about 3 billion people worldwide. Businesses from APEC economies employ more than 2 million American workers and have invested over $1.5 trillion in the United States.
In addition to the gathering of global leaders, APEC will also host a CEO summit with 1,200 CEOs from the Pacific Rim participating. The CEO Summit will bring CEOs, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders together with senior political leaders from the Asia-Pacific region for two days of business dialogue about the opportunities and challenges that are shaping the economic, environmental and societal trends in the Asia-Pacific region.
Most events will take place in the Moscone Center, with others taking place in Nob Hill. The inaugural APEC Multistakeholder Forum will be held at the Commonwealth Club of California in the Embarcadero from Nov. 11-13. The forum will bring stakeholder groups from APEC economies together to confer about working through a just transition amidst a global shift to net-zero carbon policies.
President Biden will chair the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Friday, Nov. 17, and he is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping sometime during the week.
Biden’s meeting with Xi comes on the heels of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s well-publicized trip to China, where he toured Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities, as well as visiting a Tesla factory and tourist attractions like the Great Wall of China and Forbidden City.
Newsom said his trip was focused on thawing the tension between the United States and China, which have butted heads over issues like the war in Ukraine, tariffs, human rights and trade policy. China has criticized the United States for intervening with its sovereignty over Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Newsom and Chinese officials signed formal agreements for California and China to work together to fight global warming during Newsom’s visit.
APEC will invite controversy into the streets of San Francisco, as well.
The event is the first in California history to be designated a National Special Security Event by the Department of Homeland Security, a security level equivalent to a presidential inauguration. Over 30,000 visitors are expected to flood the city during the week.
Areas near the Moscone Center will be patrolled by officers, including the U.S. Secret Service. Some streets will be closed, and visitors to the area are advised to research their routes to avoid disruptions. BART trains will not be affected and will offer full service to its downtown stations, the agency announced.
As with previous APEC summits, protests are expected and will be permitted as long as protestors remain in non-restricted areas.
Climate change groups, international workers’ rights activists, Palestinian liberation activists and more are expected to protest outside of the conference.
The summit comes at a critical time for San Francisco — city leaders have touted the conference as a way to show off San Francisco to the world and inject money into downtown hotels and businesses, which have struggled during the years since the pandemic.
City leaders are eager to dispel the notion that San Francisco is a failing city caught in a “doom loop.”
“APEC will be a major moment that will live in our city’s rich history. We will show the world San Francisco’s unique ability to create a world-class experience where people continue to want to live, work and visit,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement. “This is also a major moment for our small businesses, restaurants and hotels, who are ready to welcome thousands of attendees and global leaders from around the world.”
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