The APEC Member Countries Agreed to Work Together

On 2-9 September 2012, Vladivostok hosted a summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). As a result of the meeting, the leaders of the APEC member countries adopted the Vladivostok Declaration.

Against the backdrop of the debt crisis in Europe and financial instability in the USA, the APEC's summit set it as one of its goals that the attractiveness of the markets in the Asia-Pacific Region for investments and as well as for sale of commodities and natural resources should be made clear to all. It was this idea that determined the general atmosphere at this recent summit meeting.

Thus, in the 2012 Leaders' Declaration it is noted that the APEC economies have made enormous progress over the past two decades and are looking forward to continuing to grow and prosper in the coming years. Since the first APEC Leaders' Meeting in 1993 in Seattle, USA, the Asia-Pacific Region's trade has grown four times, and foreign direct investment in the Asia-Pacific region has been growing at an annual rate of more than 20%.

At the same time, the Declaration emphasizes that, in spite of the evident trend towards global post-crisis recovery of the world economy, it has continued to face a number of challenges and is subject to downside risks and instability The events in Europe are adversely affecting growth in the region. In such circumstances, the APEC economies are firmly resolved to work collectively to support growth and foster financial stability, and restore confidence.

The APEC member countries unanimously recognize trade liberalization and capital movement as one of the essential mechanisms for ensuring stable and well-balanced growth. However, no agreements on free trade zones were signed during the period of Russia's chairmanship of this organization. The participants in the summit meeting only declared their intentions to facilitate trade and investment activity in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Thus, the Declaration reaffirms their commitment to rollback protectionist measures, including the obligation to refrain, through the end of 2015, from raising new barriers to investment or to trade, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing WTO-inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports.

Besides, the APEC leaders have underlined the importance of the Bogor Goals, and have reaffirmed that the creation of Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is a major instrument to further APEC's regional economic integration agenda.

The APEC leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to promote green growth and to seeking practical, trade-enhancing solutions to address global environmental challenges. Among the achievements in that area, they noted the endorsement of the APEC List of 54 Environmental Goods that directly and positively contributed to green growth and sustainable development objectives. The APEC economies confirmed their obligation to reduce their applied tariff rates to 5% or less on these environmental goods by the end of 2015. It should be noted that this issue has already been negotiated for a decade within the framework of the WTO, while no practical result has been seen so far.

Transport logistics is crucial to advance the intensification of trade across the Asia-Pacific Region. The Declaration reflects the APEC leaders' commitment to achieving the target of a 10% improvement in supply-chain performance by 2015, in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific region. They welcome the adoption of a more systematic approach to addressing existing chokepoints in supply chains through targeted capacity-building and concrete steps towards making supply chains more reliable, resilient, safe, efficient, transparent, diversified and intelligent.

By the way, Russia took advantage of the summit meeting to actively promote a package of more than 20 transport infrastructure projects to the total value of approximately Rb 12.3 trillion, the major projects being those aimed at modernizing the Transsib and BAM railways. Besides, in the course of the meeting, the prospects for further developing the North Sea Route and the Trans-Korean Main Line were discussed.


V. V. Idrisova - Candidate of Economic Sciences, Senior Researcher, Industrial Organization and Infrastructure Economics Department