GS-2, International Relations, Uncategorized

APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)

What is being demanded?

  • An agreement to reduce industrial tariffs to very low levels or eliminate them over a specified time period.
  • An early deal on a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the U.S.
  • Participation in negotiations for a proposed Investment Facilitation Agreement at the World Trade Organisation-level.

Background:

India has applied for APEC membership in 1991 on the basis of its geographic location, potential size of the economy and degree of trade interaction with the Asia-Pacific. However, at the fifth APEC Leaders’ meeting in Vancouver in 1997, a decision was taken to place a ten-year moratorium on expanding membership, which continues informally till date.

Way ahead:

India is engaging with APEC member countries to develop a consensus on lifting the informal moratorium on accepting new members and to actively push for India’s candidature for membership of APEC.

Benefits for India:

  • Membership in APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) would provide India a constructive forum to glean insight from other Asian countries that have already taken significant steps to advance their economies.
  • India is also striving for major economic reforms to open India’s markets, improve trade volume, and facilitate its growing population’s need for continued job growth. Hence, APEC can be the right platform.

APEC:

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. It aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

Functions:

  • APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy.
  • APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.
  • Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
  • The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

Members:

  • APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.
  • APEC Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, approximately 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and about 44% of world trade.

In APEC, all economies have an equal say and decision-making is reached by consensus. There are no binding commitments or treaty obligations. Commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis and capacity building projects help members implement APEC initiatives. The APEC process is supported by a permanent secretariat based in Singapore.

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