AEM Discusses MAC Protocol at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit

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8/31/2023

APECFrom July 29 to Aug. 21, more than 2,000 delegate from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies convened in Seattle, Washington for the Third APEC Senior Officials’ and Ministerial Meetings.  

As part of AEM’s ongoing efforts to secure the ratification of the MAC Protocol and working closely with the U.S. government, we secured the addition of a 90-minute policy dialogue to the agenda. The Policy Dialogue was entitled Improving access to credit in the Asia Pacific through asset-based finance- the Cape Town Convention and its Mining, Agricultural Construction (MAC) Protocol, and provided senior government officials with an extensive in-depth overview of the MAC Protocol. Guest speakers included academics, economists, legal scholars and industry representatives. 

Moderating the dialogue was Alex Hunt, branch chief at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with introductory remarks delivered by Dr. James Ding, chair ar he APEC Economic Committee. The first panel of experts featured Michel Deschamps, counsel with McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and Professor Megumi Hara of Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. They provided officials with a legal overview of the MAC Protocol and a history of the protocol’s formation. A key focus of the panel was to explain how the MAC Protocol is consistent with previous protocols of the underlying Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment or Cape Town Treaty and the legal aspects and protections provided by establishing a “international interest.”  

William Brydie-Watson, senior legal advisor at UNIDROIT and Marek Dubovec, Director Law Reform Programs at the International Law Institute, discussed the economic analysis conducted on the MAC Protocol and how domestic laws are typically not conducive for cross-border financing. Constituting and perfecting a security on a moveable asset in case of customer default creates complexities in enforcement which the protocol will help solve. Furthermore, the MAC Protocol establishes strong enforcement remedies on debtor default or insolvency, simplified creation of international interests in MAC equipment, priority through registration in the international MAC Registry and international application if the debtor is in a contracting state of the protocol. 

AEM Senior Advisor, Global Public Policy, Alex Russ, kicked off the industry panel by discussing and highlighting the challenges the MAC Protocol seeks to solve. “Too often, farmers and workers across the globe are economically disadvantaged not by the quality or dedication of their work, but by the legal and banking systems in their home economies,” said Russ. “This financial barrier prevents adoption and utilization of modern equipment that is more sustainable, efficient and productive in some of the world’s most rapidly expanding and underinvested markets,” he added. Better access to credit and our industry’s sustainability practices are directly correlated as lower engine emissions, increased fuel efficiency, and technologies enabling precision agricultural practices are made available through the acquisition of modern equipment.   

Daryl Bouwkamp, senior director international business development and global affairs at Vermeer Corporation, provided examples of the financial barriers the company faces when selling equipment into certain markets, and how the MAC Protocol will diminish these barriers once ratified and adopted. “For us, a lack of financing options is a very, very, significant hindrance for us, our dealers, and our customers around the world,” said Bouwkamp. “Number one, methods for registration, holding title and perfecting leans are inconsistent between markets. And no one appreciates inconsistency, certainly not the financial market. Number two, rules and remedies in the event of nonpayment or bankruptcy are different, from market to market. In some cases, lenders, even us at times, we need to physically serve notice to the owner of record to preserve, or to pursue, any legal action, and it occurs too often where the owner becomes impossible to find so the letter can’t be delivered, and this significantly discourages lenders. A third reason is our machines travel across borders and that causes collateral uncertainty. A fourth reason is we make specialized equipment that is unknown to bankers. It is not a car, it is not a computer banks are not experts in our equipment nor any of the mining, agriculture and construction equipment. Fifthly, there is considerable due diligence required for each transaction and banks shy away from certain transactions.” The MAC Protocol will reduce these types of common obstacles manufacturers, financers and customers encounter. 

To highlight how the MAC Protocol will increase safety and productivity in Asia-Pacific economies, Josh Gross, vice president, global strategy and P=product management at Terex Corporation, provided an overview of aerial work platforms and how better access to financing will allow their adoption and utilization at work sites while boosting productivity. "What I want to talk about today…are some real-life examples of how [material processing] equipment with the proper financing for certain economies will enable increased safety and productivity," said Gross. The overview also provided government officials a real-world example of the types of equipment that can more easily be acquired as a result of the ratification of the MAC Protocol.   

IfeanyiChukwu Egbuniwe, senior counsel at U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States, did an excellent job discussing how an export credit agency, such as the U.S. Export-Import Bank, benefits with the MAC Protocol. “One of the primary obstacles for any financer is what happens when things don’t go as they are supposed to,” said Egbuniwe. “The MAC Protocol, as you have heard today, adds a level of security that we can rely on that gives us a method of making ourselves whole either through repayment or repossession.” The legal protections provided by the MAC Protocol will allow the world’s export credit agencies to offer better terms on credit and risk insurance in the future if the protocol is successfully ratified and adopted by a majority of contracting states.   

Rounding out the Policy Dialogue with a discussion of a proposal for future APEC work on the ratification and implementation of the MAC Protocol were Egbuniwe and Padriac Sweeney, supervisor, machinery team, Office of Transportation and Machinery, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. Both discussed possible next steps for APEC to make the ratification of the MAC Protocol a policy priority.  

Government officials from several economies, including Japan, Chile, Malaysia, and Vietnam, expressed their interest in APEC taking further steps to review and explore the MAC Protocol. AEM will continue to engage with APEC and the organization’s 21 member economies to build support for the MAC Protocol. 

To learn more about the MAC Protocol or how you can assist AEM’s ratification efforts, contact AEM’s Alex Russ at aruss@aem.org

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