Is Apec a Free Trade Agreement
After the 2006 summit, economist C. Fred Bergsten advocated for a free trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific region, including the United States among the proposed parties to an agreement at the time.  His ideas convinced the APEC Business Advisory Council to support this concept. In this context, ASEAN and existing free trade agreement (FTA) partners are negotiating as a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), without formally involving Russia.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the participation of China or Russia has become the US-sponsored trade negotiations in the region. At the APEC summit in Beijing in 2014, all three plans were under discussion.  President Obama hosted a TPP meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing prior to the APEC meeting.  APEC decisions are taken by consensus and commitments are made on a voluntary basis.
APEC has helped reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade in the region over time, resulting in an expansion of economic growth and international trade. APEC is examining the prospects and options for an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (FTAAP) that would include all APEC member countries. Since 2006, the APEC Business Advisory Council, which theorizes that a free trade area has the best chance of bringing member states closer together and ensuring stable economic growth within the framework of free trade, has advocated the creation of a high-level working group to review and develop a plan for a free trade area. The proposal for a PEAC arose because of the lack of progress in the World Trade Organization`s Doha Round negotiations and as a means of overcoming the “spaghetti bowl” effect caused by the overlap and contradictory elements of the countless free trade agreements. There are about 60 free trade agreements, including 117 in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (formerly member economies) that aims to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the emergence of regional economic blocs (such as the European Union) in other parts of the world, APEC strives to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to promote a sense of community and appreciation of common interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Since its inception in 1989, the total value of trade between APEC economies has nearly quadrupled from $3.1 trillion in 1989 to $24 trillion in 2018, representing an average growth rate of 7.1 percent per year. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a forum comprised of the United States and 20 other Pacific economies, facilitates trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Negotiating free-trade agreements: a guide”, Canberra: APEC Branch/DFAT 2005 The proposal for an FTAAP arose due to the lack of progress in the World Trade Organization`s Doha Round negotiations and as a means of overcoming the “Noodle Bowl” effect caused by the overlap and contradictory elements of the broad free trade agreements – in 2007, there were about 60 free trade agreements.
with 117 others in the negotiation process in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.  In 2012, ASEAN+6 countries alone had 339 free trade agreements, many of which were bilateral. [b] www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/fta-ale.aspx?lang=eng This is often justified by the reference to “voluntary and non-binding” principles, guidelines and policies, “best practices” that have been developed over many years by secret and undemocratic APEC committees. They cover investment, competition, public procurement, structural adjustment, privatization, austerity, monetary regimes and more. Most of them were created by a combination of business leaders from evangelical governments, as well as the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (made up of the private sector, academics and officials who “act in their personal capacity”) and consultants from APEC study centers. They also often involve cooperation with the Asian Development Bank. World Bank, IMF and OECD. These examples of “good practice” are increasingly cited in agreements to justify texts or as a basis for future negotiations.