Senior officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are now shifting their focus to the challenges and opportunities arising from the emergence of plurilateral and “mega-regional” trade agreements.
They came to this decision at the APEC Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting in Beijing, China, following the adoption recently by the World Trade Organization of the Bali package promoting trade facilitation and providing “momentum to multilateral trading system,” an APEC official statement said.
The leaders met in Beijing on December 9 and 10 to determine the priorities for APEC China 2014, including looking at the rise of plurilateral agreements.
“Officials of APEC are studying new opportunities and challenges, including new areas of growth and economic reform for the region,” the release said. “Importantly, they will look at the role APEC will play within the context of the newly agreed Bali Package and noodle bowl of regional trade agreements.”
Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, explained last week on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia: “So, now we’re looking at not just bilaterals, not just regionals, but mega-regionals and how well designed they are. We will be spending a good amount of time next year thinking about how these things might come together rather than how they might diverge.”
“Based on the developments last week in Bali, a new kind of approach may be required to enhance the ultimate chances of success,” he added.
Photo: Francisco Anzola