The APEC Ministerial and Leaders Meetings in Brunei, 12-16 November, 2000


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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group - The APEC Ministerial and Leaders Meetings in Brunei, 12-16 November, 2000

Contents

Introduction

APEC as an organisation

Member Economies of APEC (with date of joining)

Evolution of APEC

November 2000 Meetings in Brunei

Further material

Introduction

This brief provides an introduction to APEC's meetings in Brunei in November 2000 along with links to documents and sites on the Internet about APEC.

APEC as an organisation

APEC is the acronym for the regional grouping Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (which Gareth Evans famously called "four adjectives in search of a noun"). The organisation has a small headquarters in Singapore, which operates the official APEC website). The 21 member economies (this is the official term for members, rather than the more political term, given the inclusion of Taiwan and Hong Kong, SAR) are located around the Pacific, and span an enormous diversity in terms of size, level of development, political structure and cultural background. What they do share is, apart from a form of geographic proximity, is an interest in enhancing, by various means, the growing interdependence of the region (see APEC's website for more details of its objectives).

The principal emphasis for this enhancement has been in the area of trade, although this is not the only area of APEC's interest. However it must be acknowledged that trade had much to do with the establishment of APEC. For example during the lengthy Uruguay Round trade negotiations (1986 - 1994), a number of member economies saw the establishment of APEC as a useful device to further progress in the global trade discussions (for a discussion of some of the reasons for this see IRS Current Issues Brief by Bruce Donald, The WTO Seattle Ministerial Conference, December 1999).

 

Member Economies of APEC (with date of joining)

  • Brunei Darussalam (1989)
  • Indonesia (1989)
  • Thailand (1989)
  • Mexico (1993)
  • Papua New Guinea (1993)
  • Peru (1998)
  • Russian Federation (1998)
  • Vietnam (1998)

 

Evolution of APEC

Major milestones in APEC's evolution have included:

  • Established in November 1989, at a meeting in Canberra
  • Purpose is to promote multilateral economic cooperation on issues of trade and investment
  • Ministerial meetings are held annually (for a variety, and increasing number, of ministers).
  • 1991 Seoul Declaration (setting out objectives)
  • Meetings of Economic Leaders (ie National Leaders) have been held annually since 1993, at Seattle 1993, Bogor, Indonesia 1994, Osaka 1995, Subic Bay, Philippines 1996, Vancouver, 1997, Kuala Lumpur 1998, Auckland, 1999.
  • 1994 Bogor Meeting and Declaration of Common Resolve committed member economies to free and open trade and investment, with the industrialized economies achieving the goal of free and open trade and investment no later than the year 2010 and developing economies no later than the year 2020.
  • 1995 Osaka Action Agenda - a blueprint for translating vision into reality
  • 1996 Manila Action Plan including Individual Action Plans (IAPs) adopted. IAPs list specific steps taken by the Member Economy to reach the goals of the Bogor Declaration. IAPs for each Member Economy are made public at the APEC website. For more details of the implications of the Subic Bay Meeting see IRS Current Issues Brief by Tas Luttrell, APEC After Subic Bay-the Road to Free Trade.
  • 1997 Vancouver Leader's Meeting Statement on Infrastructure Development. The Leaders Meeting in Vancouver APEC agreed to admit Russia, Vietnam and Peru as members, as well as adopting a moratorium on new members for ten years.
  • 1998 Kuala Lumpur Meeting discussed the implications of the Asian financial crisis. For more details see IRS Current Issues Brief by Frank Frost, APEC's Kuala Lumpur Meetings, 1998.

 

November 2000 Meetings in Brunei

The November series of meetings of APEC: ministers, leaders, officials, business leaders etc are being held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darrusalam. There is some pressure on the leaders to achieve important results given a widespread perception that APEC is past its peak, although there seems to be little consensus on what strategies should be used to do this.

The first important precursor to these meetings was the meeting of the Ministers responsible for Trade, held in Darwin in June 2000. The Australian Trade Minister, Mr Vaile, hosted the meeting, and official announcements on the progress made there are available at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. The meeting was also attended by the Director-General of the WTO, Mike Moore, which can be regarded as an indication of the continuing importance of the institution to global trade negotiations.

The Finance Ministers held their most recent meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan in September 2000, and urged the implementation of the Voluntary Action Plan for Promoting Freer and More Stable Capital Flows. This contains a number of measures designed to reduce some of the systemic problems highlighted by the Asian financial crisis.

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC, a permanent private sector body established to advise Leaders on issues of importance to business in the region) will also meet (for the 4th time in 2000) in Bandar Seri Begawan from 12-16 November. ABAC has recently released a report urging greater attention to reform of the financial sector and to the growth of non-tariff trade restrictions (see "APEC urged to reform financial sector", Australian Financial Review, 27/10/00, p. 28).

The Economic Leaders meeting (ie heads of Government) will be held in Bandar Seri Begawan on 12-13 November. The theme of the meeting is to be Delivering to the Community, which is to show the continuing relevance of the APEC process to the people of the Asia-Pacific region.

It is expected that President Clinton will attend this year's Leaders Meeting, (see related Press Briefing). Secretary of State Albright will also attend the Brunei meetings, although she will miss the Ministerial Meeting due to commitments related to the Middle East peace process.

 

Further material

For further information on APEC see the following sites:

http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/trade/canada-apec/history-e.asp

Introduction to APEC from a Canadian Government perspective

http://ajrcnet.anu.edu.au

The ANU's Australia-Japan Research Centre that coordinates many projects related to APEC

http://www.auckland.ac.nz/apec/papers/curtis.html

A paper titled "APEC after 10 Years: Performance and Prospects"

http://www.auckland.ac.nz/apec/papers/woo.html

A paper titled "APEC After 10 Years: What’s Left of 'Open Regionalism'?"

http://ncds.anu.edu.au/online/conference/cf97-3.htm

A paper on the APEC approach to trade liberalisation commitments

http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/ausapec/isspaps.htm

Papers about APEC from the Australian APEC Study Centre, Monash University

http://www.toda.org/conferences/hugg_hon/hugg_hon_papers/w_qian.html

An analysis of APEC and the APEC approach, from a Chinese perspective

 

This page was written by Bruce Donald and Maria Lalic. Last reviewed 10 November 2000.
Any comments to: Bruce.Donald@aph.gov.au

 

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