A Multi-National Approach
The Institution APEC was established in 1989 and now comprises 21 economies in the AsiaPacific region. It is an intergovernment forum fostering 'open regionalism' through consensusdriven economic cooperation. The Bogor Declaration, signed by APEC's Economic Leaders in 1994, gave formal expression to a goal of 'free and open trade and investment' by 2010 and 2020 for developed and developing economies respectively. Economic cooperation within APEC is voluntary; therefore, progress towards agreed goals relies on the peer pressure of governments and on the habit of extensive consultation, information exchange and consensusbuilding. Much will also depend on the extent to which producers and consumers support and actively encourage the process. The essence and distinguishing feature of APEC is found in its concept of concerted unilateralism which embodies the collective commitment to trade and investment liberalization within specified timeframes, while allowing for flexibility of response by member economies depending on their stage of development and national priorities. Concerted unilateralism provides opportunities for leadership; and it is a powerful point that unilateral marketopening actions by governments give less scope for others to run protectionist arguments. Whatever APEC achieves in the long term, it will not be as a result of binding rules and negotiated concessions; nor is APEC dependent on the US President securing fasttrack negotiating authority from Congress. Rather, APEC's achievements will depend upon a perceived mutuality of interest in cooperating towards transparent, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory strategies for enlarging markets in a contestable way. Such...
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