APEC as an International Institution

Vinod K. Aggarwal and Charles Morrison

APEC: Its Challenges and Tasks in the 21st Century, 2000

The creation of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in 1989 was greeted with a combination of hope and skepticism. Unlike many regions of the world, regional institutions in Asia, and particularly the Asia-Pacific, have been scarce. With East Asian economic success, the end of the Cold War, and shifts in power among Asian states, many saw APEC as a much-needed institution that would both facilitate economic cooperation in
the region and provide for a continuing special post-Cold War association between East Asia and North America. From the beginning there were competing visions of what APEC should become, from the minimalist vision of a consultative forum to a maximalist position of an eventual trade bloc, perhaps even undertaking security functions. For some, APEC would be the mechanism to increase economic liberalization in the region and bolster the stalled
Uruguay Round negotiations in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a vision that was later pushed by an Eminent Persons Group and adopted by the leaders of the APEC economies.

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