APEC Overview and Background
(APEC seeks to promote economic cooperation in region)
is the text of a State Department fact sheet that provides an overview
of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum:
SHEET: APEC OVERVIEW AND BACKGROUND
forum was established in 1989 to promote economic cooperation and integration
in the Pacific region. The United States was a driving force behind
APEC's creation, as a means of anchoring the United States more firmly
in the region in the post-Cold War era. APEC subsequently grew to 21
members, called "economies" because Taiwan (called Chinese
Taipei in APEC), Hong Kong, and China are equal members of APEC.
members of APEC are 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; Republic of the
Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; USA; Vietnam
of APEC as a ministerial-level organization changed dramatically in
1993 when the United States invited member economies' leaders to Blake
Island, instituting the annual Leaders Meetings. Leaders called for
continued reduction of trade and investment barriers, envisioning an
Asia-Pacific that promotes prosperity through cooperation.
APEC was devoted to formalizing the Leaders' vision for free and open
trade. Leaders at Bogor, Indonesia set the goals of reaching free trade
and investment by 2010 (for developed economies) and 2020 (for developing
economies). The next year they adopted the Osaka Action Agenda (OAA),
a blueprint for implementing the Bogor Goals through the three pillars
of trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic
and technical cooperation. In Manila (1996), Leaders adopted the mechanisms
of Individual and Collective Action Plans to achieve the Bogor Goals.
APEC's focus has been on OAA implementation, but with mixed results.
The 1997 targeted-sector approach to reducing trade barriers (Early
Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization, or EVSL) has produced some gains
but has remained controversial. In 1998-99, APEC helped Asian economies
"stay the course" of reform during and just after the Asian
Financial Crisis, by promoting financial stability and reducing vulnerabilities
to crisis through structural reforms and sound economic policies. However,
not all viewed APEC's response as timely or effective. In 1999, APEC
made efforts at Auckland to reinvigorate its role in multilateral trade
liberalization by issuing a strong statement on the WTO. The subsequent
failure to launch a new WTO Round at Seattle, however, has led to questions
about APEC's ability to move forward on trade and investment liberalization.
In 2000 under the Brunei chair, APEC focused on information technology
and called for a tripling of Internet access by 2005. In its "Action
Agenda for the New Economy," Leaders pledged a mix of market-based
policies and capacity building actions to help transform the region
through greater development and use of information technology.
economies believe that liberalization has been over-emphasized in the
APEC agenda. While still committed to the Bogor Goals, developing members
want economic and technical cooperation, including human resource development
and capacity building, reinforced as an equal pillar in the APEC agenda.
Organizationally, APEC has approximately 16 special committees and working
groups, whose work is overseen by Senior Officials. In 1995, APEC established
a business advisory body, called the APEC Business Advisory Council
(ABAC), which consists of three business executives from each member
economy. The U.S. ABAC representatives are Paul Song, Chairman of Aris
Corporation; Ernest Micek, former Chairman of Cargill; and Sy Sternberg,
Chairman of New York Life Insurance Company. With Mexico, Thailand,
Chile and Korea lined up to chair APEC through 2005, the U.S. and like-minded
economies will face a continuing challenge of keeping APEC's liberalization
agenda on track while addressing technical cooperation needs.
SHEET: WHY APEC MATTERS TO AMERICANS
Why APEC Matters to Americans
(APEC promotes economic reform, rule of law in Asia-Pacific)
is the text of a State Department fact sheet on the importance of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to Americans:
when former President George Bush was President of the United States
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established to
promote economic integration around the Pacific Rim and to sustain economic
growth. APEC currently has 21 members: 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; Republic of the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei;
Thailand; USA; Vietnam.
States, recognizing the value of top-level meetings to advance the work
of creating a Pacific community, invited member economies' leaders to
Blake Island, Washington, to meet informally to discuss major issues
in the APEC region. This gathering of economic leaders has become the
single most important institution in the Asia Pacific region. It brings
top level attention to APEC's vision of free trade and investment as
well as providing a forum for Leaders to meet on a regular basis both
as a group and bilaterally to discuss current issues and resolve disputes.
health of the APEC region is vitally important to America's continued
prosperity. Economic growth across the APEC region waned this year,
largely in response to the slowing US economy and the weakening global
demand for many of the Asian members' exports (particularly electronics).
Many members have lowered their 2001 growth projections in light of
poor performance during the first half of the year, although most will
still post positive results.
home to our biggest customers in the world, with a total of $500 billion
in exports in 2000. APEC remained a powerful trading group accounting
for about half of the world exports and imports. We in turn have played
a critical role in Asian recovery, providing a market that bought nearly
$700 billion worth of goods and services from other APEC economies last
played an important role in promoting trade and investment liberalization
in the region. As a result of these efforts, APEC markets are considerably
more open today than they were ten years ago, creating new opportunities
for American business and creating new employment for American workers.
posed by the higher profile APEC launched at Blake Island was also widely
seen as galvanizing a successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round Table
negotiation by demonstrating an alternative path to liberalizing trade
talks if global talks were to fail.
also played a complementary role to the International Monetary Fund
and other international financial institutions in fostering a rapid
Asian economic recovery. APEC encourages its members to pursue appropriate
macroeconomic policies that stimulate domestic demand, and microeconomic
polices to promote financial and corporate restructuring and attract
investment. APEC is promoting increased transparency, openness and predictability
based on the rule of law. APEC seeks to eliminate impediments to trade
and investment by encouraging member economies to reduce barriers, adopt
transparent, market-oriented policies and address such issues as unequal
labor productivity, restricted mobility of business persons and outdated
telecommunications regulatory practices.
serve a crucial role in advancing long-term projects and initiatives
that will assist its members to reform their economies and implement
the policy changes that will sustain the economic recovery. It also
can help foster development of the physical and human capital necessary
to sustain growth in the 21st century.
promotes discussion among Leaders and undertakes programs to assure
that the social infrastructure exists to allow APEC economies to take
advantage of trade and investment opportunities and that economic growth
translates into real social progress. For example, APEC works to advance
environmental and labor standards, improve basic education, fight disease,
promote the growth and development of small business, and integrate
women into economic life. APEC works directly with the private sector
to produce results with broad benefits. Public-private collaboration
on customs projects is becoming a model for the benefits that the public
sector can derive from partnership with business constituents. Other
public-private partnerships this year in APEC focuses on developing
e-commerce and region-wide information technology training programs.
Asia-Pacific region means more exports from and investments by U.S.
companies, more jobs for Americans and more U.S. economic growth. APEC's
motto could be "prosper thy neighbor." The United States is
committed to ensuring APEC plays that constructive role.
by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department
of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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