Challenges to Economic Cooperation
Chapter 10: A Conversation with C. FRED BERGSTEN
Page 110 10 A Conversation with C. FRED BERGSTEN Q. You have said that APEC is neither European Union, nor NAFTA. We know what it is not. How would you give a positive definition of APEC? A. It is too early to say how APEC will really evolve. However, based on the blue print or the vision of the Eminent Persons’ Group , I say that APEC is a regional institution for trade and investment liberalization; as it will be reducing variance within the region, APEC will concurrently be promoting reductions of barriers outside the region. The concept of open regionalism is to be appreciated. In the EPG Report, a very specific fourpart definition of it has been outlined. It is a concept that we think has never really been operationalized or defined carefully before. The strategy would be to ensure that APEC, far from causing new problems for the world system, will be a building block for further liberalization for the global system. To our knowledge, no previous regional arrangement has ever done that. We would see APEC, for example, offering to extend its own liberalization benefits to any outside countries who agree to liberalize with APEC on a reciprocal basis. The European Union certainly never did that. NAFTA has certainly never done that. It has never been done before. There are specific cases where the EU did an arrangement for a free trade area with the ASEAN Free Trade Area [AFTA]. NAFTA may take on specific members, but...
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