A Case Analysis of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in International Trade Practices .

The Asia-Pacific region has consistently been the most economically dynamic region in the world. Since APEC's inception in 1989, APEC's total trade has grown 395%, significantly outpacing the rest of the world. In the same period, GDP (in purchasing power parity terms) in the APEC region has tripled, while GDP in the rest of the world has less than doubled. APEC initiatives that help facilitate trade include: The introduction of electronic/paperless systems by all member economies, covering the payment of duties, and customs and trade-related document processing. The Single Window Strategic Plan, adopted in 2007, provides a framework for the development of Single Window systems which will allow importers and exporters to submit information to government once, instead of to multiple government agencies, through a single entry point. ndards of living for the citizens of the region.

Economic and Technical Cooperation

APEC's Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) activities are designed to build capacity and skills in APEC Member Economies at both the individual and institutional level, to enable them to participate more fully in the regional economy and the liberalisation process. Since APEC first began to undertake capacity building work in 1993, more than 1200 projects have been initiated; and in 2008, APEC was implementing a total of 212 capacity building projects with a total value of US$13.5m. A particular focus has been reducing the digital divide between developed and developing economies:

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In 2000, APEC set a goal of tripling internet usage in the region and that goal has now been achieved, as recognised by the 2008 APEC Ministerial Meeting on the Telecommunications and Information Industry. APEC's new goal is to achieve universal access to broadband by 2015. A network of 41 APEC Digital Opportunity Centers (ADOC) now operate in seven Member Economies. ADOC's objective is to transform the digital divide into digital opportunities and the centres act as local information and communication technology (ICT) resource centres, providing citizens and businesses of the region with access to ICT technologies, education and training. APEC is also developing a Digital Prosperity Checklist that outlines specific steps economies can take to enable them to utilise ICT as catalysts for growth and development

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Trade and Investment Liberalisation

APEC is the premier forum for trade and investment liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific and has set targets dates for "free and open trade": no later than the year 2010 for industrialised economies, and 2020 for developing economies (the Bogor Goals). When APEC was established in 1989 average trade barriers in the region stood at 16.9%; by 2004 barriers had been reduced by approximately 70% to 5.5%.3 As a consequence, intra-APEC merchandise trade (exports and imports) has grown from US$1.7 trillion in 1989 to US$8.44 trillion in 2007 - an average increase of 8.5% per year; and merchandise trade within the region accounted for 67% of APEC's total merchandise trade in 2007.4 Similarly, trade with the rest of the world has increased from US$3 trillion in 1989 to US$15 trillion in 2007, an average increase of 8.3% per year. Trade in the rest of the world has increased at 7.6% over the same period. Over 30 bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have been concluded between APEC Member Economies.

Business Facilitation APEC's work under its three main pillars of activity, Trade and Investment Liberalisation, Business Facilitation and Economic and

Technical Cooperation, has helped drive this economic growth and improve employment opportunities and sta As a result of the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP I) the cost of business transactions across the region was reduced by 5% between 2002 and 2006. A second trade facilitation action plan (TFAP II), aims to reduce transaction costs by a further 5% between 2007 and 2010.

Providing business with a concise one-stop repository of customs and trade facilitation related information for all APEC economies through the APEC Customs and Trade Facilitation Handbook The APEC Tariff Database provides users with easy access to APEC member economies' tariff schedules, concessions, prohibitions and other information. In 2008, a groundbreaking Investment Facilitation Action Plan was endorsed; it aims to improve the investment environment in Member Economies. The APEC Privacy Framework provides guidance and direction to both APEC Member Economies and businesses on implementing information privacy protection policies and procedures. By facilitating information flows it will facilitate trade and ecommerce. The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) provides substantial time and cost savings to business people and facilitates their travel in the region, by allowing visa free travel and express lane transit at airports in participating economies. APEC is also removing behind-the-border barriers to trade through its Structural Reform agenda, which focuses on reforming domestic policies and institutions that adversely affect the operation of markets, and the capacity of businesses to access markets and to operate efficiently.

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Member Economies
APEC has 21 members. The word 'economies' is used to describe APEC members because the APEC cooperative process is predominantly concerned with trade and economic issues, with members engaging with one another as economic entities. Individual economy reports, key economic statistics and economy websites can be accessed in this section.

APEC Members Australia Brunei Darussalam Canada Chile People's Republic of China Hong Kong, China

Date of Joining 6-7 Nov 1989 6-7 Nov 1989 6-7 Nov 1989 11-12 Nov 1994 12-14 Nov 1991 12-14 Nov 1991 6-7 Nov 1989

Indonesia 6-7 Nov 1989 Japan 6-7 Nov 1989 Republic of Korea 6-7 Nov 1989 Malaysia 17-19 Nov 1993 Mexico 6-7 Nov 1989 New Zealand 17-19 Nov 1993 Papua New Guinea 14-15 Nov 1998 Peru 6-7 Nov 1989 The Philippines 14-15 Nov 1998 Russia 6-7 Nov 1989 Singapore 12-14 Nov 1991 Chinese Taipei 6-7 Nov 1989 Thailand 6-7 Nov 1989 The United States 14-15 Nov 1998 Viet Nam

Projects
Projects are a vital part of the APEC process. They help turn APEC Ministers' and Economic Leaders' policy directions into actions and create real benefits for people living in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC contributes funding to over 100 projects each year, to a total value of around US$8 million. The majority of projects are focused on transferring knowledge and skills between members and building capacity so that each economy can move closer towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment. Projects cover a wide range of important sectors. In addition to cooperation for trade liberalisation, APEC also supports projects that seek to make trade and doing business easier and more efficient such as: agreeing to common standards for product testing and labelling; developing safer and more efficient transportation routes; and providing information on each member's regulatory and legislative requirements for imports and exports. APEC also works to maximise the benefits of globalisation. In particular, APEC supports projects that: promote public health; improve the skills of workers; reduce the risks of and improve responses to natural disasters and emergencies; and that help small, medium and micro-sized enterprises to grow and access markets. Information about individual projects can be found through the APEC Project Database: http://member.aimp.apec.org/pdb_sites/default.aspx Please note that you will need an APEC Information Management Portal (AIMP) login to access this site. How are APEC projects funded? APEC projects are funded through contributions by member economies. There are three main sources of APEC project funding: Operational Account The Operational Account is comprised of members' annual contributions. Projects in support of APEC's Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) agenda are funded by the Operational

Account. Trade and Investment Liberalisation and Facilitation Special Account (TILF) Cooperative projects that assist APEC member economies to meet the free trade and investment goals in the Osaka Action Agenda are funded by the TILF Special Account. The TILF was established during the 1995 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting when Japan announced its intention to contribute up to 10 billion yen to fund projects which encourage trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation. Since then, other member economies have also made contributions to the TILF, and around 600 projects have been funded. APEC Support Fund (ASF) The ASF supports projects that address the capacity building needs of APEC's developing members, especially in the high priority areas of economic and technical cooperation. The ASF was established in 2005 with an initial contribution of AUD1 million from Australia. Since then, donations have been received from other economies for both general and specific capacity building projects. Currently, funds are available in the specific areas of human security, avian influenza and pandemics, technology, energy efficiency and for the implementation of APEC's Second Trade Facilitation Action Plan. How are APEC projects implemented? APEC projects are managed and implemented across all 21 member economies in accordance with the Guidebook on APEC Projects. The Guidebook is constantly under revision to improve how projects are carried out. APEC encourages the involvement of the private sector, universities and governments in the region in its projects. Typically, requests for proposals/tenders to implement projects are advertised on the APEC website. Current requests for proposals/tenders, if any, are listed here. For further information on specific projects and the process for uploading proposals, please review the Guidebook on APEC Projects or contact the relevant APEC Secretariat Program Directors.

Industry Dialogues
Close consultations with the business community through Industry Dialogues are an effective method of pursuing liberalisation initiatives as part of APEC. These dialogues improve mutual understanding of key imperatives for future policies and enhance the competitiveness of the industries. Currently, Industry Dialogues serve to advance the development of liberalisation initiatives in two of the 15 areas identified by APEC for early voluntary sectoral liberalisation: the automotive and chemical industries. Government officials involved in trade and regulatory policy within APEC Member Economies join industry representatives to discuss issues relevant to enhancing competitiveness for the specific industry. The APEC Automotive Dialogue was established in 1999 to serve as a forum for government officials and senior industry representatives to work together on strategies for increasing integration and development of the automotive sector in the region. The APEC Chemical Dialogue began in 2002. This dialogue has focused on trade and trade-related regulatory issues affecting the competitiveness and sustainable development of the industry. The dialogue will likely lead to a work programme that will focus on nontariff measures, trade facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation related to the industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The Life Sciences Innovation Forum was first held in 2003 to address the challenges of risk detection and prevention, treatment and cures of the communicable and lifestyle diseases which afflict our people. Guiding principles moving forward must include transparency, meaningful dialogue with stakeholders and recognition of due process. Capacity building is critical to successful implementation. Recommendations made as part of the Industry Dialogues are reported to the Committee on Trade and Investment, who pass appropriate information to APEC Senior Officials, Ministers and Leaders. APEC Member Economies consider implementation of these recommendations in line with APEC's flexible, voluntary and consensus oriented approach to trade facilitation and economic and technical cooperation

APEC Business Advisory Council
Commerce is the lifeblood of the region and business is the engine of economic growth. Recognising the integral role of business and the value of representative business advice on key issues, APEC Leaders established the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in 1995. This private sector body presents recommendations to APEC Leaders in an annual dialogue and advises APEC officials on business sector priorities and concerns. ABAC meets four times per year, and ABAC representatives also attend Senior Officials' Meetings, the Annual Ministerial Meeting and the sectoral Ministerial Meetings. ABAC comprises up to three senior business people from each APEC economy and the appointments are made by the Leader of the member economy concerned. The Chair of ABAC comes from the economy that is hosting APEC and therefore changes annually. ABAC represents a diverse range of sectors and includes small and large enterprises. Achievements ABAC's annual reports to APEC Economic Leaders outline business views about priority regional issues and contain recommendations to improve the business and investment environment in the APEC region. Many of ABAC's recommendations, for example the idea of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, have become core APEC activities. Building on the progress made in the previous year, ABAC has decided to adopt - "Working towards Sustainable Growth for All" - as the central theme for 2010. ABAC will be focusing on strengthening economic structure for balanced growth, advancing regional economic integration, and enhancing economic growth in harmony with the environment. Five working groups have been established to carry out the 2010 work program. These include: Liberalisation Working Group, Facilitation Working Group, Sustainable Development Working Group, Finance and Economics Working Group, and Capacity Building Action Plan Working Group.

The first ABAC meeting in 2010 will take place from 9 - 12 February 2010, in Melbourne, Australia. As part of continuing efforts to enhance APEC-ABAC cooperation, ABAC members will also have a dialogue with APEC Senior Officials. On 9 February 2010, a Forum on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) will be organised to promote and to further work within APEC community on PPPs.

Budget and Management Committee
The Budget and Management Committee (BMC) advises the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) on budgetary, administrative and managerial issues. Its key responsibility is to prepare the budget for APEC and approve and recommend APEC funding for projects. The BMC also monitors and evaluates APEC's project management systems. It takes decisions and makes recommendations to Senior Officials' Meetings (SOM) to improve project efficiency and effectiveness. It also works closely with other Committees to ensure projects remain relevant to APEC's core goals and objectives. To find out more about APEC projects, please visit: http://www.apec.org/apec/projects.html

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