APEC's new trade initiative
countries representing 60 per cent of the world's gross domestic product re-iterated their commitment to free trade and agreed on a set of "best practices" for bilateral trade agreements at the 12th Annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (apec). The meeting , held in Santiago, Chile, from November 17-21, 2004, witnessed stiff opposition from over a hundred civil society organisations. The Chilean Social Forum led a force of more than 25,000 to protest apec's policies. It also held its annual meeting to discuss the impacts of globalisation, of which apec is a major symbol. But apec members were not moved by the criticisms.
apec focuses on trade between 21 Asia-Pacific countries. The latest apec commitment, dubbed the "Santiago Initiative for Free Trade", is in line with its 1994 pledge to achieve a free trade area between its industrialised members by 2010, and with all its members by 2020. However, the apec Business Advisory Council, a group of business leaders, said the growing number of free and regional trading agreements might lead to a "spaghetti bowl of overlapping preferential trade agreements with inconsistent provisions" that might negatively affect trade.
apec leaders also agreed to " apec Best Practices for Regional and Free Trade Agreements". These comprise guidelines like rules of origin to determine if a particular product can be covered by such agreements and provisions for the expansion of the free trade area.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.