Asia Pacific Economic cooperation (APEC)

Asia Pacific Economic cooperation (APEC)

News: Recently, the APEC summit was held in San Francisco, USA.

About APEC:
• The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world.
• APEC’s headquarters are in Singapore, and it is recognized as one of the highest-level multilateral blocs and oldest forums in the Asia-Pacific region.

Key Highlights of Summit:
• The summit marked a notable shift as the U.S. and China restored communication after a year, indicating a diplomatic thaw. Despite the restoration, global disparities in their approaches remain evident.
• APEC highlighted the central role of U.S.-China rivalry, exposing China's economic challenges. The platform reflected China's pursuit of investment and technology amid changing dynamics and global economic uncertainties.
• Shifting Chinese Economic Strategy: China's economic strength waned, prompting efforts to court investment and technology, as the U.S. emphasized de-risking from China. APEC illuminated the complexities of China's evolving economic approach amid global uncertainties.
• Interconnected APEC Region: The summit committed to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive, and predictable trade and investment environment was reiterated.
• The San Francisco Principles on Integrating Inclusivity and Sustainability into Trade and Investment Policy were welcomed, as well as the ministerial-level deliberations of the 2023 sectoral ministerial meetings for Transportation, Trade, Disaster Management, Food Security, Health and the Economy, Energy, Women and the Economy, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Finance.
• The 2023 APEC Leaders’ Golden Gate Declaration was agreed upon at the conclusion of the meeting.

Why India is not part of APEC?
• Economic Reforms and Protectionist Instincts: Some APEC members have opposed India’s inclusion, citing the country’s record on economic reforms and claiming that it has 'protectionist instincts’.
• Membership Freeze: Another reason for India not being included in the grouping was a membership freeze which came into force in 1997 but was not extended in 2012.
• Consensus among Members: APEC operates on the basis of non-binding commitments with decisions reached by consensus and commitments undertaken on a voluntary basis. Therefore, the inclusion of any new member requires the agreement of all existing members.

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