APEC is pursuing new approaches to rebuild the FTAAP

JAKARTA (ANTARA) – APEC member economies are considering innovative and improved approaches to revitalize the Free Trade Area of ​​the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) as a key tool to further APEC's regional economic integration agenda.

The FTAAP was envisioned by APEC leaders in 2006 as a comprehensive free trade agreement built on regional institutions. It was first proposed 20 years ago by the APEC Business Advisory Group (ABAC).

As the host of APEC 2024, Peru is at the forefront of advancing this agenda through a series of dialogues in which member economies will have the opportunity to share their views on how to rebuild the FTAAP as a collective effort. It may take shape, as indicated in a written statement issued by the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment received here on Thursday.

„Now that we have emerged from the pandemic, challenges such as supply chain disruptions and economic fragmentation persist and have called into question the viability of interconnected trade as an aid to sustainable development,” said Renato Reyes, Peru's senior official at APEC. In a conversation held in Lima.

„We feel there is a need to reframe our approach to FTAAP as a collective aspiration, particularly aimed at making trade a relevant tool for fostering social inclusion and sustainability,” Reyes added.

The dialogue, co-hosted by Peru and Australia, encouraged economies to update a list of next-generation trade and investment issues such as food security, corporate social responsibility, women, the environment and labor.

„Many of these next-generation problems have now become current-generation problems,” Reiss said.

„The FTAAP must now factor in emerging challenges such as economic fragmentation, protectionism, new sub-regional trade arrangements and the evolution of all relevant political dialogues taking place outside APEC such as climate change discussions,” he noted. .

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Member economies shared their priorities for the FTAAP and called for greater focus on APEC's trade work, including gender equality, women's economic development, opportunities for indigenous peoples, opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and their further integration. Global supply chains.

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Sustainability and trade policy is another recurring theme in which member economies are keen to see more work, some to include corporate social responsibility and to embrace the opportunities offered by digital technologies and the digitization of trade.

Providing insights into the conversation, ABAC's Alex Parle said economies have experienced more than a decade of slow growth and, more recently, severe disruptions in trade and economic fragmentation and increasing pressures for economies to turn inward.

„Considering all this, there has never been a more compelling need for FTAAP as both a shared aspiration and a practical mechanism to deepen and widen economic integration,” asserted Parle.

„The deadline for the FTAAP is 2040, but given the current challenges, our businesses, our communities and our planet do not have the luxury of waiting another 16 years to get things right,” he added.

ABAC's recommendations include identifying obstacles to full Free Trade Agreement (FTA) application and possible solutions, more effective implementation and use supported by professional secretariat functions, ensuring that the rules are controlled and enforced using the dispute settlement mechanisms of those agreements. and promoting other economic integration initiatives that help create a framework of rules and policies that are agile, responsive and fit for purpose.

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„We are committed to ensuring that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders by reducing barriers to trade and investment,” said Christopher Tan, Chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment.

„There are challenges and pressures across our economies, and it is important to share our ideas to advance the FTAAP agenda, while staying true to our fundamentals of supporting a rules-based trading system and world. The trading system, in addition to supporting a more interconnected trading system, is APEC's repository of ideas. takes on a unique role,” concluded Dan.

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