Whilst APEC has achieved enormous success since its inception in 1989, the CSIS-EABER hosted roundtable and public forum held in Jakarta on October 21-22 recognised that APEC requires a new vision for the future. The fragile global recovery necessitates sustained economic growth from Asia’s emerging economies and Indonesia, as host of APEC in 2013, has a unique opportunity to shape the direction of APEC in order to promote this objective.
One of the key messages to emerge from the meetings was the recognition that APEC had succeeded in liberalising trade and investment considerably since regional leaders agreed to the 1994 Bogor Declaration. Whilst the trade liberalisation agenda is by no means complete, the future role of APEC is to also address related barriers to economic growth such as behind-the-border regulations, infrastructure bottlenecks and under-developed financial markets.
Participants recognised that Indonesia, as a member of the G20, ASEAN and a critical contributor to APECs founding and early success has a unique opportunity as host of APEC to institutionalise a new direction for the regional forum. Indonesia should therefore aspire towards a new blueprint to re-frame APEC’s future role and direction.
The following key goals were raised by participants as future deliverables that should be incorporated into Indonesia’s hosting of APEC 2012
• Infrastructure investment: In order to promote inclusive and sustainable development, a larger share of the estimated USD8.2 Trillion worth of viable and productive projects within the region must be realised. To achieve this goal, regulatory and legal frameworks must be harmonised which will not only benefit individual economies but will similarly contribute to the deepening of regional production networks.
• Financial integration: The regions financial markets need to evolve significantly to enable the private sector to provide a greater share of infrastructure, health and other services. APEC principles should help guide the development of national financial markets, perhaps through the ABAC proposed Asia-Pacific Financial Forum.
• International Economic Forums: Indonesia should pursue linkages with key international fora such as the G20, EAS and ASEAN. Such cooperation would help champion shared objectives and incorporate non-APEC members within the region such as India to help build complementarities across these institutions.