Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement

The most recent strategy, led by the evangelical neoliberal governments of the region, was to work less visibly from the bottom up. This has helped to create a new dynamic against which it is much more difficult to mobilize. But just concentrate this dynamic, hides fundamental problems. These agreements reflect different models for regional capitalism and competing power politics and the hegemonic aspirations of the region`s great powers. Their coverage and conditions are uneven, making it almost impossible to integrate the multiplicity of agreements. Moreover, if governments attempt to implement all current and proposed agreements, they will cause major social, economic and political conflicts. These contradictions are reflected and should increase the instability and vulnerability of the multilateral “trade agenda.” “APEC has always been prescient. APEC leaders have already alluded in 2004 (in Chile) to a vision of a free trade area in Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). This was a response to the APEC proposals, the APEC Business Advisory Council, which provided for the benefits of such an important free trade agreement. In 2010 (Japan), APEC leaders realized the vision by sketching out “paths to FTAAP.” Already at that time, they imagined that the PAF should be a comprehensive and quality agreement, developed and based on ongoing regional enterprises, which addresses the trade and investment issues of the next generation. […] We must ensure that our current agreements are of the highest quality. Regional architectures such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the Pacific Alliance, the RCEP and the TPP are reciprocal reinforcement routes to FTAAP.

These paths must be of high quality to achieve a credible and sensible free trade agreement. However, it sets rules for trade that facilitate investment and other business in the region, said Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth USAsia Center. The pact reduces tariffs, opens up the services sector and establishes common rules on trade within the bloc. The agreement covers trade, services, investment, e-commerce, telecommunications and copyright. The USTR represents the United States in critical trade and investment initiatives at APEC, with the goal of promoting free, fair and reciprocal trade in the region for the United States of America.