There’s An Unprecedented Amount of Security Locking Down SF This Week. Here’s Why.

All week, San Francisco is hosting APEC, the most significant gathering of world leaders in the city’s history. The Four Seasons Hotel, along with all major luxury hotels close by, are hosting several high profile delegations, resulting in heightened security measures. My colleague, who works for the fire department, says San Francisco has never seen an event like this in its 247-year history.

What is APEC? 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation was established in 1989 to leverage the U.S. to advance economic policies in the Asia-Pacific region and promote free, fair, and open trade and investment and advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth.  There are 21 countries participating, including Australia, China-Hong Kong, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Russia, Thailand, Mexico and several others. 

APEC meetings throughout this year have focused on economic issues, including sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, trade facilitation, energy security, food security, and health. The 21 APEC Member Economies account for nearly 40 percent of the global population, nearly 50 percent of global trade, and more than 60 percent of U.S. goods exports. Additionally, these economies have made impressive direct investments in the United States estimated at 1.7 trillion dollars and employing 2.3 million American workers as of 2020.

Why San Francisco?

The iconic city embodies a story of resilience, innovation, and inclusivity, and as it happens, those are the very themes of APEC 2023. 

  • With a GDP of 501 billion dollars, the San Francisco metropolitan area is the fourth largest economic region in the U.S. and an important hub in the global economy.
  • The SF Customs District logs 100 billion dollars from two-way shipping with APEC members annually.
  • Northern California firms sell up to 60 billion dollars of goods and services to APEC buyers each year.
  • The region is a source and destination for massive investment flows.
  • We are a global city with many diverse and deep connections with APEC economies.
  • Asian Americans represent 33 percent of San Francisco’s total population.
  • San Francisco is a sister city with Osaka, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Sydney, and Shanghai.
  • San Francisco’s Chinatown is the first and oldest in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia.
  • San Francisco currently hosts over 70 consulates, representing the government interests of virtually all major countries around the world, including 15 consulates of the 21 APEC Member Economies.
  • Many trade commissions have established offices in and around the City.
  • The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies in the world (Tesla, Uber, Salesforce, Pixar, Netflix, Lucasfilm, Levi Strauss, and some of the most innovative and forward-thinking industries (AI, biotech, software, clean tech, social media).
  • SF is uniquely positioned on the edge of the Pacific and at the entrance to Silicon Valley. And, California has long been an economic and cultural bridge between the United States and Asia.
  • San Francisco has spent generations building face-to-face, personal, unwavering business connections with the people of the APEC region. Those bonds, those roots, are strong and run deep.

San Francisco has a number of commercial service partners supporting export to and investment from the Asia-Pacific region including:

  • The Bay Area Council, a valued forum for stakeholder engagement and a respected source of information and fact-based analysis, the Institute is a trusted partner and adviser to both business leaders and government officials.
  • The Asia Foundation, founded and headquartered in SF, is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives and expanding opportunities across Asia and the Pacific.
  • The Asian Business League, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian Pacific American leadership in business. The League also provides opportunities to address issues Asian American professionals and Asian American-owned businesses face.

The event (and the security along with it) runs November 11-17, so enjoy the global attention and zen out on those traffic snarls.  The Paris of West hasn’t had this much of a good world spotlight since the World Fair. 

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