Keep APEC's success going

20:08, November 15, 2009      

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Two decades ago, economies around the Pacific Rim founded the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), aiming to liberalize trade and investment between member economies in order to bring growth and prosperity to the entire region.

Today, the APEC has established itself as a powerful engine for integration in the Asia-Pacific region and a generator of new ideas contributing to regional development. Over the last 20 years, the mechanism has become an increasingly important factor in the global economy.

What leads to APEC's success?

We may find the answer to this question by reviewing the past 20-year development of the APEC, during which dialogues, coordination and voluntary actions are the key driving forces of this regional cooperation mechanism. These principles have enabled the APEC to enhance cooperation, resolve international and regional trade issues and more.

The dialogue on the current global economic crisis further confirms the mechanism's flexible approach to make the needed responses to global change.

As shown in the finance ministers' joint statement of this year's APEC meeting, the member economies agreed that the pace of implementing exit strategies should take into account different stages in the economic recovery of member economies, the type of policy measures to be phased out and any spillovers caused by the strategies.

Of course, each individual economy is fighting against the crisis based on its own possibilities. And with respect to the diversity within the region, the APEC offers a chance to share useful experiences.

The APEC has evolved in an environment of cultural and economic diversity, and is complicated by the very size of the collective economies and the strong diversity among member economies. If it is not through open dialogues among member economies with mutual respect, one could imagine the scenarios where economies with different cultures and economic status seek to address their disagreement.

When it comes to coordinating diverse policies in the region and responding to fast changing regional and global economic environments, APEC's role is particularly crucial and its contributions are significant.

This year is APEC's 20th anniversary, which is also the time of an unprecedented global economic crisis within decades.

Looking beyond the future, it is believed that the organization will continue to build cooperation based on principles such as recognition of the differing social and economic systems and levels of development of the APEC's member economies, voluntary choice, and commitment to open dialogue and consensus.

Those principles may help the APEC identify its vision for the next 20 years and continue to run a successful role in strengthening economic and technical cooperation and promoting shared prosperity within the region.

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