State leaders, senior bureaucrats and businessmen gathering in Peru for the APEC annual meeting with one agenda on the mind: the global financial crisis.
APEC countries make up 60% of the world’s economy and allows smaller countries (especially those not in the G20) like Singapore or Brunei to make their voices heard through the institutionalized structure of meetings, committees and action groups.
Moves towards an APEC Free Trade Area (FTA) were first catalyzed in Bogor Indonesia in 1994 and an APEC committee is now studying this possibility by examining what should be considered as elements of a high quality FTA, including whether APEC will meet the Bogor Goals for free and open trade amongst industrialized APEC economics by 2010 and developing economies by 2020. High quality in terms of FTA is benchmarked by the gold standards of the US-Singapore FTA.
A Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement now links the Pacific Rim countries of Chile, Singapore Brunei and New Zealand, all small players with big ambitions of tearing down tariffs. This P-4 groups has great potential for expansion with bigger boys coming in, including the US, Australia, Vietnam, Peru.
Au Yong, Jeremy, “’Heavy’ mood weighs on APEC summit” dated 20 November 2008 in the Straits Times (Singapore, Straits Times), 2008, p. A16.
Henson, Bertha, “Small but worthwhile steps to freer trade” dated 20 November 2008 in the Straits Times (Singapore: Straits Times), 2008, p. A2.