APEC as an Institution

Vinod K. Aggarwal and Kun-Chin Lin

Assessing APEC’s Progress: Trade, Ecotech, and Institutions, 2001

Over the past decade, APEC’s momentum has waxed and waned with its impact on policymaking and trade liberalisation. An important high-point was the 1993 meeting in Seattle, attended by leaders of the APEC economies, elevating APEC from a sleepy forum for foreign and trade ministers to a much more visible summit-level activity. Some viewed this development as a sign of APEC’s coming of age as well as an effective means of putting pressure on the Europeans to come to an agreement in the Uruguay Round. The 1994 meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, led to a call for free trade and investment in the area by 2010 for the developed APEC member economies, and 2020 for the entire group. A framework of guiding principles was agreed to the following year in Osaka and in 1996 the APEC adopted an Action Plan involving unilateral concerted liberalisation as well as collective actions. The group also agreed to push for a WTO breakthrough on information technology. Its political success in pushing the Information Technology Agreement (for which much of the work had already been done in other contexts) encouraged APEC to move ahead with other “early voluntary sectoral liberalisation” (EVSL) schema. The 1997 Vancouver meeting agreed to push ESVL in nine sectors, thus holding out hope for major role for APEC as a key adjunct to the WTO for promoting trade liberalisation.

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