APEC Keen to Re-Assert Relevance Ahead of Any TPP PDF Print E-mail

int-apec9 APRIL 2010 - The newly apponted executive-director of APEC has an intention to work towards making the organisation "a more dynamic component of the regional economic architecture". His appointment comes at a time when APEC's milestone objectives in trade reform and liberalisation among its 21 member states has been overtaken by a number of bilateral free trade agreements in the area, as well as the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. John Armstrong profiles Muhamad Noor and APEC's direction in the NZ Herald:


""...There are signs, however, that what was starting to become a serious drift in Apec's direction is being arrested.

Noor's appointment comes in the wake of last year's Singapore leaders' meeting which was notable for two developments: a recognition by Asian economies that the global economic crisis had seen a shift of economic power in their direction away from America, and a corresponding determination by the United States to engage more pro-actively with Asia.

The global meltdown spurred leaders at the Singapore summit to call for a "new growth paradigm" in the region - one based on balanced growth and sustainability, but one which also broadens Apec's agenda from trade and investment liberalisation towards greater co-ordination of economic policy overall.

The second development had Barack Obama floating a Pacific-wide free-trade area, a concept kick-started by the Americans opening free trade negotiations with the four-nation Trans Pacific Partnership."

The US is hosting the summit next year, flagging a strong intent to make APEC the 'driving force' for continued prosperity in the region. In turn, Noor has described a shift away from a focus on trade and investment liberalisation to fleshing out the details of a "new growth paradigm". The article goes on to suggest this may involve APEC undertaking groundwork studies of how the existing spaghetti bowl of Asia-Pacific bilateral agreements would tie into a TPP.

"...meanwhile, Apec is conducting its own study on the degree to which the so-called "noodle bowl" of 43 intertwining bilateral free trade and regional free trade agreements between member economies can act as building blocks towards Obama's Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific."

(from the NZ Herald)


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