Essay, Research Paper: Australia And APEC


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When the ‘Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation” (APEC) was established in 1989
in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, its
goal was to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community. When
the cooperation was established, there were 12 founding member economies, namely
Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea,
Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the
United States. Since then there has been more countries/economies joining APEC.
APEC has come a long way since 1989. It has built steadily on the efforts of the
past and looks forward to further positive progress. The initial years of APEC
were focused largely on exchange of views and project based initiatives. As
needs of the member economies has evolved into a forum of higher purpose: to
build the Asia-Pacific community through achieving economic growth and
development through trade and economic cooperation. In the Osaka meeting in
1994, APEC leaders adopted the Osaka Action Agenda, which firmly established
three pillars of APEC activities: Trade and investment liberalization, business
facilitation and economic-technical cooperation. Its main objective is to
develop a region-wide, free trade and investment regime by the year 2000. APEC
operates by consensus. In 1991, members committed themselves to conducting their
activities and work programs on the basis of open dialogue with equal respect
for the views of all participants. The APEC chair, which rotates annually among
members, is responsible for hosting the annual ministerial meeting of foreign
and economic ministers. At the 1989 Canberra Ministerial Meeting, it was agreed
that it would be appropriate that every alternative ministerial meeting be held
in an ASEAN economy/country. Senior Official Meeting (SOM) are held regularly
prior to every ministerial meeting. APEC senior officials make recommendations
to the ministers and carry out their decisions. They oversee and coordinate,
with approval from Ministers, the budgets and work programs of the APEC for a.
Mr. Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, said Australia’s
IAP (Individual Action Plan) would address the main trade liberalization issues
of tariffs, non- tariffs, investment and services, although the 1996 IAP would
not pre-judge the outcomes of the existing and previously announced reviews into
the passenger motor vehicle, textile clothing and footwear and sugar sectors.
Other elements of the IAP deal wit the important trade facilitation issues such
as standards and customs procedures, intellectual property rights, competition
policy, and mobility of business people and deregulation. “Australia’s plan
is fully consistent with the general principals of the Osaka Action Agenda
agreed by that leaders in November 1995, including comprehensives,” Mr.
Fischer said. “Australia’s done a great deal to liberalize our market
consistent with APEC goals, and we expect others to match our record. The
government will pursue vigorously Australian trade and investment priorities
within APEC,” Mr. Fischer stated. Australia’s IAP address the objectives and
guidelines of the Osaka Action Plan in a comprehensive manner: Tariffs
Australia’s IAP includes reduction in applied tariffs to the year 2000. Table:
Tariff Reductions in the APEC region Simple Average Applied Tariff 1988 1993
1997 Australia * 15.6 7.0 5.3 Brunei 3.9 3.9 2.0 Canada (*) 3.7 2.4 1.3^ Chile
19.9 11 11 China 39.5 37.5 17 Hong Kong 0 0 0 Indonesia 18.1 17 11.7 Japan * 4.3
3.4 4.6 Korea 19.2 11.6 7.9^ Malaysia 13.6 12.8 7.8^ Mexico * 10.5 12.6 9.8^ New
Zealand 14.9 8.5 5.2 PNG NA NA 23^ Philippines 27.9 23.5 12.1 Singapore 0.3 0.4
0 Chinese Taipei 12.6 8.9 8.6 Thailand 31.2 37.8 17 United States (*) 4.2 4.2
3.4^ Note: Does not include calculation of non-ad valorum tariffs 
Indicates trade-weighted advantage  ^1996 data Source:
Australia’s applied simple tariff has fallen from 15.6% in 1998 to 6.1% in
1996 and will reduce further to 4.5% by the year 2000. Australia is also hoping
to have tariffs reduced to zero in numerous sectors of our economy by the year
2000. Sectors Selected for Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalism Sector EVSL
Proposal Toys Progressive reduction to zero of tariffs on toys, preferably by
2000. Elimination of unjustified non-tariff barriers. Economic and technical
cooperation Gems and jewelry Elimination of trade-restrictive measures on these
products (phased out by 2005), which include pearls, diamonds, silver, gold,
platinum, jewelry, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares. Environmental Goods
and Services Elimination of tariffs by 2003 on environmental goods and
liberalization of environmental services. Work on non-tariffs barriers. Economic
and technical cooperation. Food Further impetus to trade facilitation work on
food. Studies on market prospects on sugar, processed food. Tariff
liberalization by 2004 for fruit and vegetables, processed food and beverages.
Energy Removal of tariffs on coal, gas, electricity, and energy related
equipment by 2004. Work on non-tariff measures, services, government
procurement, and facilitation. Fish/fish products Elimination of tariffs by the
end of 2005. Elimination of non-tariff measures. Work on subsides, sanity and
phytosantitary measures. Forest products Elimination of tariffs on paper and
wood products by 2000 and 2002 respectively. Work on non-tariff measures.
Detailed provisions applying to building codes. Oilseeds/oilseed Products
Elimination of all tariffs, non-tariff barriers, exports subsidies, quotas and
other trade-distorting measures by 2002. Chemicals Tariff harmonization by
2001/2004 inline with the Chemicals Tariff Harmonization Agreement and eventual
elimination of tariffs. Telecommunications Development of Mutual Arrangement.
Aims to allow parties to test and certify equipment to an importing economy’s
mandatory technical requirements. Rubber Reduction/elimination of tariff and
phasing out of unjustifiable non-tariff measures. Fertilizers Elimination of
tariffs by 2002/2004. Work on non-tariff measures. Automotive Products
Private-public sector automotive dialogue. Harmonization of standards. Work on
customs issues. Identify barriers to trade and investment. Medical Equipment
Tariffs on medical equipment and instruments to be eliminated by 2001. Work on
non-tariff measures. Civil Aircraft Elimination on tariffs on civil aircraft and
related equipment by 200 and 2002 respectively. Trade facilitation. Source: Non-Tariff Measures
Australia will abolish export controls and certain mineral products (coal,
mineral sand liquefied natural gas, bauxite and aluminum). Services Australia is
committed to further liberalize the business services, communication, transport,
financial services and energy sectors including to: Telecommunications:
Introduce full and open competition from 1 July and privatize 1/3 of Telstra
with 35% of the float available to foreign investors. Transport: Windback
maratime cabotage protection by year 2000 and discontinue schemes which provide
financial incentives for certain Australian vessels. In aviation, Australia will
progressively liberalize access to the market for freight and passengers and
ensure airlines are free to set fares in response to market conditions. There
are many other IAP’s in Australia’s list, however these were some of the
main IAP’s. Why is APEC important? APEC is taking on strategic significance
internationally for a number of reasons:  It acts as a forum between
Asia and the Americans. The 18 countries of PAEC represent 56% of the world’s
gross national product and 46% of all trade. Historically, contention between
Japan and the United States over Asia cumulated in the outbreak of the Second
World War in the pacific.  APEC is gaining momentum as one of the
world’s centers for trade and liberalization discussions.  All three
Chinas (Taiwan, Hong Kong and the people’s republic) are participants in APEC.
The reversion of Hong Kong to China in 1997 is a historic change, which brought
regional stability within APEC.  Asian immigration to Canada has been
increasing in recent years. The growing population of Asian descent in Canada,
particularly in Vancouver, means heightened awareness and interest in
Asian-Pacific affairs. The international called APEC is a great force in
today’s business. It is a thriving force, which will be around for many years
to come. The effectiveness of this organization is extremely great, as it will
benefit many people throughout the world, in all areas of business.
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