There’s a growing volume of demand for a rationalisation of the bilateral trade strategies being pursued by governments all around the Pacific basin. I’ve “argued”:http://www.petergallagher.com.au/article/310/whats-the-point that Australia has both the technology and connections to begin to build a better approach, perhaps taking advantage of the existing APEC frameworks—although not the failed APEC agenda of unilateral free-trade. The “APEC Business Advsiory Council”:http://18.104.22.168/ (ABAC) has now issued a statement expressing its concern and proposing that APEC governments revive the a region-wide trade liberalization push to eliminate all barriers other than tariffs and quotas. bq. [The Council chairman] said APEC was increasingly being sidelined by preferential bilateral trade agreements. About 40 had been concluded or were being considered by APEC members. “This proposal takes account of not just the multiplicity of these bilateral trade agreements, but is also a response to concerns about the fragmentation of the bipolar character of APEC, with each side of the Pacific going its own way,” he said. (“The Courier Mail”:http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,10562001%5E462,00.html) You can see the full media release from ABAC “here”:http://www.apecsec.org.sg/apec/news___media/media_releases/200804_abacauckland.html
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher