Asia-Pacific Business Leaders Urge APEC to Accelerate the Process for Achieving a Free Trade Area in the Asia-Pacific Region

June 06, 2014



Over the last ten years APEC has taken incremental steps to realize an FTAAP notably with the 
endorsement of possible pathways to an FTAAP which includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), 
the Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) and the Pacific Alliance. ABAC efforts have thus 
been largely directed at ensuring that there is eventual convergence of these pathways into an FTAAP. 
 
Tony Nowell, Chair of ABAC Regional Integration Working Group, sums up ABAC´s expectations: 
¨In order to achieve regional economic integration we need the Bogor Goals to be achieved by 2020; to 
achieve the Bogor Goals we need FTAAP and to achieve FTAAP we need one or more of the 
negotiating pathways to be successfully completed. Quality, ambition and comprehensiveness need to 
be the goals driving such negotiations if they are to meet business needs.¨ 
 
ABAC sees the TPP as close to completion but needs further political direction if momentum is to be 
maintained. The RCEP needs to adopt a quicker pace and level of ambitions that would increase 
alignment with other pathways to FTAAP. ABAC believes that an FTAAP should converge around the 
highest standards from each of the pathways. 
 
“Given these developments and the approaching 2020 deadline for achieving the Bogor Goals, ABAC 
now sees the need for APEC to provide more “top-down” direction in the FTAAP process,” said Ning 
Gaoning, ABAC Chair 2014. “This should comprise further articulation of the overall vision, robust 
economic analysis of possible gains and a dialogue with stakeholders aimed at increasing transparency 
and identifying business needs. We would therefore welcome concrete steps by APEC to the realization 
of an FTAAP such as developing a feasibility study, road map and timeline.” 
 
“Since ABAC first introduced the FTAAP concept, it has become more apparent over the years that 
the dominant business model today of global value and supply chain – responsible for achieving greater 
efficiency and productivity to make goods affordable to more people of all income levels and thus 
improving the quality of their lives – can only succeed if the friction that impede the movement of 
goods and services across border are reduced or eliminated,” said Ning. “The FTAAP is the most 
effective and comprehensive mechanism for addressing the causes of this friction.” 
 
Ning said that the free flow of trade and investment in goods and service, good infrastructure, and 
strong financial market mechanisms are among the key elements that determine the extent of 
participation of economies in the global value chain. Much of ABAC´s effort this year has therefore 
focused on developing recommendations to help economies fulfill these elements and in the process 
laying the foundation for a comprehensive, high quality FTAAP. 
 
Because of the important role of services in APEC economies and in the Global Value Chains, ABAC 
has undertaken initiatives as identifying the services sectors role in the GVC; mapping business organizations engaged in services liberalization; promoting the efficient movement of temporary 
workers around the region; and engaging with APEC official on services issues. 
 
On investments, ABAC has developed tools designed to provide guidance and promote dialogue 
between governments and private business. It will be asking Ministers to support a proposal to 
establish a high level group of investment experts with the purpose of providing objective advice on 
the development and use of quantitative indicators as a useful tool to promote confidence in and 
socialize the value of indicators of investment performance. 
 
Meeting the region’s massive infrastructure funding needs would require the greater participation of the 
private sector and in tapping new sources. ABAC has also developed an Enablers of Infrastructure 
Investment Checklist which it is urging APEC economies to utilize as a platform for increased dialogue 
with the business community. 
 
ABAC will be presenting these and other recommendations in more detail when it participates at the 
Ministerial Meeting in Qingdao. 

Issued by the ABAC
 
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