AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 631

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Session 631: Roundtable: APEC and the Future of Asia-Pacific Cooperation - supported by the East West Center and the Japan Foundation Center for global Partnership

Organizer: Vinod Aggarwal, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Discussants: Charles E. Morrison, East-West Center, USA; Kurt Tong, State Department, USA; Shujiro Urata, Waseda University, Japan; Sergey Egorov, Independent Scholar, Russia; Yunling Zhang, Independent Scholar, China; Rizal Sukma, Independent Scholar, Indonesia

Since 1989, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has been a key institution promoting trans-Pacific regional cooperation and trade liberalization and facilitation. Aside from ASEAN, which brought together countries in Southeast Asia in 1967, APEC’s exclusive economic role in the Asia-Pacific remained unchallenged until the mid-1990s. Accelerating after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, Asia-specific fora such as ASEAN Plus Three (with South Korea, Japan, and China) and, in 2005, ASEAN plus six (adding India, New Zealand, and Australia—formally known as East Asian Summit or EAS) also began to focus on Asia-only economic cooperation efforts. At the same time, changes at the global level such as the creation of the G-20 also reduced the significance of APEC, once the only regular venue for leaders from the large economies on both sides of the Pacific to meet face-to-face. Still, the United States has continued to embrace the APEC process. The Bush Administration promoted the concept of a Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) as a visionary goal, while the Obama Administration has begun negotiations on a potential FTAAP building block, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would bring 7 or 8 APEC economies into model “21st century free trade arrangement.” In light of critical questions about APEC’s continued relevance and the broader shape of trans-Pacific architecture, this roundtable will consider questions relevant to both scholars and policymakers about APEC’s future including its membership, functions, issue scope, level of institutionalization, and interface with existing and proposed regional and global institutions. Prof. Vinod K. Aggarwal and Dr. Charles Morrison will serve as co-chairs. We have listed a larger number of participants than we will target as the Japan Foundation will be paying for the travel of about 4-5 people. Thanks.