Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group - The
APEC Ministerial and Leaders Meetings in Brunei, 12-16 November,
APEC as an
Economies of APEC (with date of joining)
Evolution of APEC
2000 Meetings in Brunei
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.
as an organisation
APEC is the acronym for the regional grouping
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (which Gareth Evans famously
"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).
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
meetings are held annually (for a variety, and increasing
number, of ministers).
- 1991 Seoul Declaration (setting out objectives)
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.
Osaka Action Agenda - a blueprint for translating vision into
- 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.
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.
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.
For further information on APEC see the following sites:
Introduction to APEC from a Canadian Government perspective
The ANU's Australia-Japan Research Centre that coordinates many
projects related to APEC
A paper titled "APEC after 10 Years: Performance and
A paper titled "APEC After 10 Years: What’s Left of 'Open
A paper on the APEC approach to trade liberalisation
Papers about APEC from the Australian APEC Study Centre, Monash
An analysis of APEC and the APEC approach, from a Chinese
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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