Challenges to Economic Cooperation
Chapter 14: A Conversation with LEE TSAO YUAN
Page 139 14 A Conversation with LEE TSAO YUAN Q. People describe APEC in many different words and everybody is anxious to say it is different from the European Union, the North American Free Trade Area and the ASEAN Free Trade Area. How would you define APEC? A. APEC is, of course, an acronym for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and I think that very aptly describes what has been happening in the last six years of APEC. To borrow an analogy by Gareth Evans, “APEC is like a threetiered wedding cake, the first level being that of useful dialogue, the second being that of trade facilitation, where you begin to discuss the terms of harmonization of standards, customs, implementation of tariff data bases, and so on, and the third tier would be one in which I think APEC has just made a political commitment to the whole area of trade liberalization”. So APEC to me is a process, it is a process of economic cooperation. I think that the countries of AsiaPacific are at this point in time in many ways still groping towards finding out what form this economic cooperation will take. I do think that the APEC Summit in Bogor in November 1994 had actually given APEC a much greater substance in terms of form than ever before. At this summit, the economic leaders of 18 APEC membernations signed the Declaration and made the political commitment to establish free and open trade and investment by...
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