The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 Pacific Rim member countries that promotes free trade in the region. They are linked by their boundary with the Pacific Ocean. As such, India which has asked to join has not been allowed to do so.
Established in 1989, its aim is to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific economies. The member countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, United States, and Vietnam. The total GDP of all the APEC countries is $44 trillion as of 2014. US and China account for over 60% of the total, more than all the other members combined.
APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region. APEC operates as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. Member economies participate on the basis of open dialogue and respect for views of all participants.
The theme of this year’s APEC Summit held in the Philippines is “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.”
Some of the highlights from the summit include the following commitments:
- To support comprehensive and ambitious structural reforms; achieve positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes; and promote good governance. We recognize that corruption impedes economic sustainability and development and agree to combat the harmful effects of the illegal economy and to promote cultures of integrity across borders, markets, and supply chains.
- To foster an enabling trading environment that is responsive to new ways in which goods and services are produced and delivered and that promotes inclusiveness, especially for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. We need to develop policies that take full advantage of global value chains (GVC) and encourage greater participation and added value. We will promote competition, entrepreneurship, and innovation through effective and comprehensive measures, including balanced intellectual property (IP) systems and capacity-building.
- To build sustainable and disaster-resilient economies. We welcome and adopt the APEC Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Framework to facilitate collective work in building adaptive and disaster-resilient economies supporting inclusive and sustainable development in the face of the “new normal.”
- To make urbanization work for growth. We remain committed to a new type of urbanization featuring green, energy-efficient, low-carbon, and people-oriented development.
- To redouble our efforts to empower our people with the tools to benefit from and participate in economic growth. In the current environment characterized by the rapid and ubiquitous use of technology, our people, in particular women and youth, need to be equipped not only with technical skills in science, technology, and innovation but must also be adaptable and resilient.
Occurring shortly after the Paris attacks, the summit also made a statement about terrorism and its impact to the global economy.
“We will not allow terrorism to threaten the fundamental values that underpin our free and open economies. Economic growth, prosperity, and opportunity are among the most powerful tools to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization. We stress the urgent need for increased international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism. “
Read the full 2015 APEC declaration here: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/132206/full-text-2015-apec-economic-leaders-declaration-in-manila