Challenges to Economic Cooperation
Chapter 12: A Conversation with ZHAO GONG-DA
Page 130 12 A Conversation with ZHAO GONGDA Q. The AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation is different from the European Union, and also from the North American Free Trade Area. Will you please describe in your words what APEC is? A. In my view, APEC is a consultative forum for its membercountries. The Eminent Persons’ Group works to prepare an agenda for its summit meetings. The EPG submitted two reports. The first report was issued in November 1993 for the APEC Summit in Seattle. Following the mandate by the APEC ministerial meeting in Seattle, EPG drafted the second report for consideration at the APEC Summit in Bogor, Indonesia, November 1994. The report for the 1994 Summit has substantive proposals for cooperation among APEC membercountries, mainly for free trade and traderelated issues. Trade liberalization is the key issue and it sets up a timetable to that end. The Indonesian ministerial meeting will determine the beginning year and the year of completion for trade liberalization in the APEC region. For China, we have argued against any uniform set of dates for all countries. We favor that the timetable should be quite flexible. In view of the fact that the APEC membercountries have achieved different stages of economic development, flexibility will facilitate the process of adjustment. To initiate the process for trade liberalization in the year 2000, and complete it by 2020, will provide necessary flexibility. Based on the level of industrialization of their respective economies, APEC membercountries...
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