When the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, its goal was to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community. When the cooperation was established, there were 12 founding member economies, namely Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Since then there has been more countries/economies joining APEC.
APEC has come a long way since 1989. It has built steadily on the efforts of the past and looks forward to further positive progress. The initial years of APEC were focused largely on exchange of views and project based initiatives. As needs of the member economies has evolved into a forum of higher purpose: to build the Asia-Pacific community through achieving economic growth and development through trade and economic cooperation.
In the Osaka meeting in 1994, APEC leaders adopted the Osaka Action Agenda, which firmly established three pillars of APEC activities: Trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and economic-technical cooperation. Its main objective is to develop a region-wide, free trade and investment regime by the year 2000. APEC operates by consensus. In 1991, members committed themselves to conducting their activities and work programs on the basis of open dialogue with equal respect for the views of all participants. The APEC chair, which rotates annually among members, is responsible for hosting the annual ministerial meeting of foreign and economic ministers.
At the 1989 Canberra Ministerial Meeting, it was agreed that it would be appropriate that every alternative ministerial meeting be held in an ASEAN economy/country. Senior Official Meeting (SOM) are held regularly prior to every ministerial meeting. APEC senior officials make recommendations to the ministers and carry out their decisions. They oversee and coordinate, with approval from Ministers, the budgets and work programs of the APEC for a. Mr. Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, said Australias IAP (Individual Action Plan) would address the main trade liberalization issues of tariffs, non- tariffs, investment and services, although the 1996 IAP would not pre-judge the outcomes of the existing and previously announced reviews into the passenger motor vehicle, textile clothing and footwear and sugar sectors.
Other elements of the IAP deal wit the important trade facilitation issues such as standards and customs procedures, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and mobility of business people and deregulation. Australias plan is fully consistent with the general principals of the Osaka Action Agenda agreed by that leaders in November 1995, including comprehensives, Mr. Fischer said. Australias done a great deal to liberalize our market consistent with APEC goals, and we expect others to match our record. The government will pursue vigorously Australian trade and investment priorities within APEC, Mr. Fischer stated. Australias IAP address the objectives and guidelines of the Osaka Action Plan in a comprehensive manner: Tariffs Australias IAP includes reduction in applied tariffs to the year 2000. Elimination of unjustified non-tariff barriers. Economic and technical cooperation Gems and jewelry Elimination of trade-restrictive measures on these products (phased out by 2005), which include pearls, diamonds, silver, gold, platinum, jewelry, goldsmiths and silversmiths wares. Environmental Goods and Services Elimination of tariffs by 2003 on environmental goods and liberalization of environmental services. Work on non-tariffs barriers. Economic and technical cooperation. Food Further impetus to trade facilitation work on food.
Studies on market prospects on sugar, processed food. Tariff liberalization by 2004 for fruit and vegetables, processed food and beverages. Energy Removal of tariffs on coal, gas, electricity, and energy related equipment by 2004. Work on non-tariff measures, services, government procurement, and facilitation. Fish/fish products Elimination of tariffs by the end of 2005.
Elimination of non-tariff measures. Work on subsides, sanity and phytosantitary measures. Forest products Elimination of tariffs on paper and wood products by 2000 and 2002 respectively. Work on non-tariff measures. Detailed provisions applying to building codes. Oilseeds/oilseed Products Elimination of all tariffs, non-tariff barriers, exports subsidies, quotas and other trade-distorting measures by 2002.
Chemicals Tariff harmonization by 2001/2004 inline with the Chemicals Tariff Harmonization Agreement and eventual elimination of tariffs. Telecommunications Development of Mutual Arrangement. Aims to allow parties to test and certify equipment to an importing economys mandatory technical requirements. Rubber Reduction/elimination of tariff and phasing out of unjustifiable non-tariff measures. Fertilizers Elimination of tariffs by 2002/2004. Work on non-tariff measures.
Private-public sector automotive dialogue. Harmonization of standards. Work on customs issues. Identify barriers to trade and investment. Medical Equipment Tariffs on medical equipment and instruments to be eliminated by 2001. Work on non-tariff measures.
Elimination on tariffs on civil aircraft and related equipment by 200 and 2002 respectively. Trade facilitation. Source: http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/cib/1998-99/99c ib05.htm
Non-Tariff Measures Australia will abolish export controls and certain mineral products (coal, mineral sand liquefied natural gas, bauxite and aluminum). Services Australia is committed to further liberalize the business services, communication, transport, financial services and energy sectors including to: Telecommunications: Introduce full and open competition from 1 July and privatize 1/3 of Telstra with 35% of the float available to foreign investors.
Transport: Windback maratime cabotage protection by year 2000 and discontinue schemes which provide financial incentives for certain Australian vessels. In aviation, Australia will progressively liberalize access to the market for freight and passengers and ensure airlines are free to set fares in response to market conditions. There are many other IAPs in Australias list, however these were some of the main IAPs. Why is APEC important? APEC is taking on strategic significance internationally for a number of reasons: ? It acts as a forum between Asia and the Americans.
The 18 countries of PAEC represent 56% of the worlds gross national product and 46% of all trade. Historically, contention between Japan and the United States over Asia cumulated in the outbreak of the Second World War in the pacific. ? APEC is gaining momentum as one of the worlds centers for trade and liberalization discussions. ? All three Chinas (Taiwan, Hong Kong and the peoples republic) are participants in APEC. The reversion of Hong Kong to China in 1997 is a historic change, which brought regional stability within APEC. ? Asian immigration to Canada has been increasing in recent years.
The growing population of Asian descent in Canada, particularly in Vancouver, means heightened awareness and interest in Asian-Pacific affairs. The international called APEC is a great force in todays business. It is a thriving force, which will be around for many years to come. The effectiveness of this organization is extremely great, as it will benefit many people throughout the world, in all areas of business.