FTAAP proposal dumped

It seems that the APEC Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing in Hanoi has not sup­port­ed the pro­pos­al cham­pi­oned by Pres­i­dent Bush plus Fred Berg­sten and the APEC ‘busi­ness advi­so­ry’ com­mit­tee for a region-wide Free Trade Agree­ment of The Pacif­ic. The APEC press release sug­gests, in the usu­al diplo­mat­ic code, that the idea was “thumped”.

Del­e­gates had a live­ly dis­cus­sion on the idea of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacif­ic (FTAAP) as a long-term prospect and agreed to instruct senior offi­cials to con­duct study on this mat­ter
Here’s anoth­er report of the debate via Reuters

The US pro­pos­al sparked robust debate that end­ed with the chair­man decid­ing the idea of a free trade area encom­pass­ing all 21 mem­bers should be stud­ied “as a long-term objec­tive”, Japan’s For­eign Min­istry spokesman Mit­suo Sak­a­ba told reporters.

But he added that the US ini­tia­tive to link Apec’s economies – which account for near­ly half of world trade and gen­er­ate 70% of glob­al eco­nom­ic growth – was appre­ci­at­ed. “We (the Japan­ese) wel­comed the US pro­pos­al for the FTA because we had the impres­sion that the US was los­ing inter­est in the Asia-Pacif­ic. The pro­pos­al demon­strates its will­ing­ness to resume the Apec process,” he said.

Apec busi­ness lead­ers had ear­li­er sup­port­ed the idea, say­ing it would have con­sol­i­dat­ed mini-pacts that have pro­lif­er­at­ed in recent years, adding costs and com­plex­i­ty to doing busi­ness in the region. At least 50 FTAs have been agreed or are under dis­cus­sion among coun­tries rep­re­sent­ed at Apec. 

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