APEC

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Overview

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (styled 'member economies') to cooperate on regional trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation. APEC's objective is to enhance economic growth and prosperity in the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community. Members account for approximately 40% of the world's population, approximately 54% of world GDP and about 44% of world trade.[1]

An annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, attended by the heads of government of all APEC members (with the exception of the Republic of China (ROC) which is represented under the name Chinese Taipei by a ministerial-level official at the behest of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, and a famous tradition involves the attending Leaders dressing in a national costume of the host member.

US to engage in Trans-Pacific Partnership

In this video the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announces that the US will join negotiations for a regional free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific partnership.

History

In January 1989, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke called for more effective economic cooperation across the Pacific Rim region. This led to the first meeting of APEC in the Australian capital Canberra in November, chaired by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. Attended by political ministers from twelve countries, the meeting concluded with commitments for future annual meetings in Singapore and South Korea.

The initial proposal was opposed by countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which instead proposed the East Asia Economic Caucus which would exclude non-Asian countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The plan was opposed and strongly criticised by Japan and the United States.

The first APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting occurred in 1993 when US president Bill Clinton, after discussions with Australian prime minister Paul Keating, invited the heads of government from member economies to a summit on Blake Island. He believed it would help bring the stalled Uruguay Round of trade talks on track. At the meeting, some leaders called for continued reduction of barriers to trade and investment, envisioning a community in the Asia-Pacific region that might promote prosperity through cooperation. The APEC Secretariat, based in Singapore, was established to coordinate the activities of the organisation.

During the meeting in 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC Leaders adopted the Bogor Goals that aim for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialised economies and by 2020 for developing economies. In 1995, APEC established a business advisory body named the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), composed of three business executives from each member economy.

Key APEC Milestones

2008 - Lima, Peru APEC focused on the social dimensions of trade and on reducing the gap between developing and developed members, in accordance with the 2008 theme, "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development". Leaders also addressed the global financial crisis in the Lima APEC Leaders' Statement on the Global Economy. They committed to take all necessary economic and financial measures to restore stability and growth, to reject protectionism and to intensify efforts to advance WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations.

2007 - Sydney, Australia

For the first time, APEC Member Economies issue a Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development outlining future action in support of a new international climate change arrangement and announcing a forward program of practical, cooperative actions and initiatives. Leaders also adopted a major report on closer Regional Economic Integration, including structural reform initiatives, and welcomed the new APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan which will reduce trade transaction costs by a further five per cent by 2010.

2006 - Ha Noi, Viet Nam

APEC Economic Leaders endorsed the Ha Noi Action Plan which identifies specific actions and milestones to implement the Bogor Goals and support capacity-building measures to help APEC economies. They also issued a statement on the WTO Doha Development Agenda calling for ambitious and balanced outcomes. To prioritize its agenda, APEC takes a strategic approach to reform working groups and strengthen the Secretariat.

2005 - Busan, Korea

APEC adopts the Busan Roadmap, completes the Mid-Term Stocktake which has found that APEC is well on its way to meeting the Bogor Goals, and the APEC Privacy Framework. Leaders issue a stand-alone statement in support of a successful conclusion to the WTO's 6th Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, China and agree to confront pandemic health threats and continue to fight against terrorism which could cause deep economic insecurity for the region.

2004 - Santiago, Chile

APEC issues a strong statement of support for progress in the WTO Doha Development Agenda and sets a target date for achieving a breakthrough in negotiations: December 2005, the convening of the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference. APEC adopts Best Practices for RTAs and FTAs, the Santiago Initiative for Expanded Trade and a Data Privacy Framework. APEC reiterates its "unmistakable resolve" to confront the threat of terrorism, and takes further action in this regard by identifying key elements of effective export control systems; establishing guidelines on the control of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), and continuing to implement the STAR initiative. APEC makes a political commitment to fight corruption and ensure transparency, and endorses a specific Course of Action towards this end.

2003 - Bangkok, Thailand

APEC agrees to re-energize the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations and stresses the complementary aims of bilateral and regional trade agreements, the Bogor Goals and the multilateral trading system under the WTO. APEC dedicates itself not only to promoting the prosperity of member economies, but also to improving the security of the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region. APEC pledges to take specific actions to dismantle terrorist groups, eliminate the danger of weapons of mass destruction and confront other security threats. Members sign up to the APEC Action Plan on SARS and the Health Security Initiative to further protect personal security. APEC also strengthens its efforts to build knowledge-based economies, promote sound and efficient financial systems and accelerate regional structural reform.

2002 - Los Cabos, Mexico

APEC adopts a Trade Facilitation Action Plan, Policies on Trade and the Digital Economy and Transparency Standards. APEC's second Counter-Terrorism Statement is delivered, along with the adoption of the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative.

2001 - Shanghai, People's Republic of China

APEC adopts the Shanghai Accord, which focuses on Broadening the APEC Vision, Clarifying the Roadmap to Bogor and Strengthening the Implementation Mechanism. The e-APEC Strategy is adopted, which sets out an agenda to strengthen market structures and institutions, facilitate infrastructure investment and technology for on-line transactions and promote entrepreneurship and human capacity building. APEC's first Counter-Terrorism Statement is issued.

2000 - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

APEC establishes an electronic Individual Action Plan (e-IAP) system, providing IAPs online and commits to the Action Plan for the New Economy, which, amongst other objectives, aims to triple Internet access throughout APEC region by 2005.

1999 - Auckland, New Zealand

APEC commits to paperless trading by 2005 in developed economies and 2010 in developing economies. APEC Business Travel Card scheme is approved and a Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Electrical Equipment and a Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC is endorsed.

1998 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

APEC agrees on the first nine sectors for EVSL and seeks an EVSL agreement with non-APEC members at the World Trade Organization.

1997 - Vancouver, Canada

APEC endorses a proposal for Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) in 15 sectors and decides that Individual Action Plans should be updated annually.

1996 - Manila, The Philippines

The Manila Action Plan for APEC (MAPA) is adopted, outlining the trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation measures to reach the Bogor Goals and the first Collective and Individual Action Plans are compiled, outlining how economies will achieve the free trade goals.

1995 - Osaka, Japan

APEC adopts the Osaka Action Agenda (OAA) which provides a framework for meeting the Bogor Goals through trade and investment liberalisation, business facilitation and sectoral activities, underpinned by policy dialogues, economic and technical cooperation.

1994 - Bogor, Indonesia

APEC sets the Bogor Goals of, "free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies."

1993 - Blake Island, United States

APEC Economic Leaders meet for the first time and outline APEC's vision, "stability, security and prosperity for our peoples."

1989 - Canberra, Australia

APEC begins as an informal Ministerial-level dialogue group with 12 members.

References

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