APEC: Challenges and Prospects in the Asia Pacific Free Trade Area

APEC: Challenges and Prospects in the Asia Pacific Free Trade Area

The 2014 APEC Leaders' Informal Meeting will focus on how to promote the construction of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area so as to build a unified large market in the Asia Pacific region and create new vitality for regional economic growth.

The idea of ​​the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone was proposed by the representatives of the industrial and commercial sector as early as 2004. After many discussions at the leaders' summit, great progress was made in 2010. The annex to the leaders’ declaration clearly put forward three major mechanisms to promote the construction of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area. The effective path. Despite a decade of brewing, the construction of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Zone has so far been in the process of transition from "virtual" to "real."

To reach consensus on the free trade zone in the largest region in the world, the difficulty can be imagined. First of all, there is a huge gap between the economic development level of the members, which makes the construction of this free trade zone difficult. At present, according to the level of per capita GDP income, there is a difference of about 20 times in the members of the Asia-Pacific region. Under such a big difference, different members have different interest demands for regional economic integration, which brings considerable difficulties to APEC in its integration work.

Secondly, there are also large differences in the non-economic sectors between APEC members, including social systems, management levels, and different sectors in the country, as well as different groups of people's efforts to withstand the open level, so that the members faced with the integration of domestic The difficulty of policy adjustment is also quite different.

Once again, the struggle between regional powers and the great powers in the region has also added to the difficulty of integration. In general, negotiations in free trade areas often require the lead of leading countries. In the case of coexistence of multiple leading countries, it is particularly important that the leading countries cooperate. At present, the major countries in the Asia-Pacific region cover almost all the major powers in the world. There are both cooperations and competitions among major countries including the United States, Russia, China, and Japan. There are also different strategic arrangements for promoting the integration process. How to coordinate the relations of interest among big powers is particularly important for promoting the integration process.

Despite these multiple difficulties, the prospects for the Asia-Pacific free trade zone can still be expected. This is because Asia-Pacific economic integration is the purpose of APEC and reflects the common voice of members in the Asia-Pacific region. Although APEC did not make much progress in advancing substantive negotiations in the Asia-Pacific free trade zone, it did so around the establishment of the free trade zone. A lot of basic work, such as the facilitation of trade and investment, and the ability to open up member markets through cooperation, there are already many bilateral or multilateral free trade zone arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region that have created a free-trade zone negotiation between different types of members. The premise; more importantly, the ability of developing members to participate in regional integration along with the enhancement of economic strength is also increasing.

The last APEC Senior Officials Meeting in 2014 has completed relevant work on the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area Roadmap, and China and the United States and other major countries are also negotiating on the Asia Pacific Free Trade Zone. The Beijing APEC Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting has listed the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area as one of the three major topics of the meeting, and it is possible to reach a consensus on the initiation of the Asia Pacific Free Trade Zone negotiations. It can be expected that the Asia Pacific Free Trade Zone will set sail in the joint efforts and sincere cooperation of APEC members.

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