Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum met in Brunei on November 12 and 13 for “APEC 2000,” the twelfth ministerial meeting.

Established in 1989, the 21-member organization includes: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

Purpose of the Meeting

According to the APEC Secretariat, the forum’s main theme, entitled Delivering to the Community, “signified the need for sustaining economic growth to raise incomes and reduce poverty in the region.” The agenda was organized in accordance with three themes: Building Stronger Foundations, Creating New Opportunities, and Making APEC Matter More.

Building Stronger Foundations

The ministers reaffirmed their commitments to the goal of free and open trade and investment. With the understanding that achieving this goal will be difficult, the APEC Secretariat expressed the need to explore more creative and efficient ways to prepare its members for success.

Creating New Opportunities and Making APEC Matter More

APEC said the revolution in information and communication technology has transformed the ways of doing business. It believes the new economy presents both developed and developing members with new opportunities, and sees itself as a catalyst to help its members seize these opportunities.

APEC also welcomed efforts that provide focus on the tangible benefits that have accrued in the region, and said it has ensured that its programs are more relevant and meaningful.

Meeting Outcome

No major agreement resulted from the meeting. This is not unusual considering many participating national leaders are “lame ducks” and therefore not well positioned to implement any far reaching legislation. But more importantly, differences of opinion between developing and developed country members over the ability to participate in the globalization process, the information technology revolution, and the planning of the APEC agenda made any major consensus unlikely.

The U.S., Japan, and Australia pushed to obtain an agreement to establish a new round of talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization. But with globalization under scrutiny, APEC pledged to address the disparities in wealth and knowledge in hopes of bringing the benefits of globalization to all its members.

Keep Your Eye on Relationships

Issues such as globalization and the “digital divide” will continue to affect the relationship between the wealthier and poorer countries.

This article appeared in October 2000. (CB)

John Manzella
About The Author John Manzella [Full Bio]
John Manzella, founder of the ManzellaReport.com, is a world-recognized speaker, author and an international columnist on global business, trade policy, labor, and economic trends. His latest book is Global America: Understanding Global and Economic Trends and How To Ensure Competitiveness.

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