Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Trade and Investment Liberalization and Facilitation

Academic journal article Southeast Asian Affairs

Trade and Investment Liberalization and Facilitation

Article excerpt

This has been central to APEC's programme in its first years, and for many in the wider community it is the real reason for APEC's existence. Yet it is clear that efforts in this area have been flagging in recent years. In part, this reflects broader resistance to further trade reform, especially in the light of high-profile demonstrations in cities around the world against the negative impacts of globalization. The impact of the Asian crisis also created political resistance to further trade liberalization. However, the recent review of APEC referred to earlier8 identified a number of important obstacles to further progress on trade and investment within APEC itself:

Slow adaptation of the APEC agenda. The response to new developments has been too slow in some areas, for example, competition policy and non-tariff barriers. This suggests that the Osaka Action Agenda needs to be updated.

Absence of priorities. It may be that the effort in trade reform within APEC has been diffused across too many areas, and there is need for more focus.

Shortfalls in member commitments. Many APEC members, in their responses o APEC initiatives, have gone no further than their existing pledges under the WTO Uruguay Round.

Weak evaluation procedures. There is a lack of outside scrutiny of individual members' progress in implementing reform. …

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