The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum today released two reports containing assessments of progress made by Mexico and Japan in meeting the target dates for "free and open trade and investment" set at 2010 for developed APEC member economies and 2020 for developing ones.
The two reports illustrate a newly strengthened peer review process designed to more rigorously examine the progress of individual APEC economies in achieving trade and investment liberalisation as set out in their Individual Action Plans
Annual Individual Action Plans (IAPs) were introduced by APEC in 1996 and represent the central means by which APEC economies work towards the 2010 and 2020 target dates for liberalisation - otherwise known as APEC's Bogor Goals. Individual Action Plans record unilateral actions taken by APEC economies to liberalise their trade and investment regimes and facilitate trade and investment in the region under 15 broad policy areas.
APEC Ministers agreed at the end of 2001 that the peer review process applied to IAPs needed strengthening to increase objectivity and transparency. New elements which have been introduced to strengthen the process include the appointment of a formal review team for each peer review exercise and the commissioning of an expert to conduct independent in-country research and analysis together with presentation of a written analytical report.
The involvement of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), an independent private sector advisory group established by APEC Leaders, in the peer review sessions is another important new element in the process. Mexico and Japan were the first economies that volunteered to be reviewed under the new review system.
"Reinforcement of the IAP Peer Review process has been a major achievement for APEC this year resulting in increased transparency and momentum for the liberalisation process within APEC" said Amb Alejandro de la Peña Navarrete, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. "As host of APEC for 2002, Mexico's priority has been on transforming words into actions and on the actual implementation of commitments. The strengthened IAP Peer Review process demonstrates APEC's determination to be action-oriented, results-focused and accountable".
The two study reports reviewing the liberalisation performance of Mexico and Japan were presented today at the Third APEC Senior Officials' Meeting taking place 20-21 August in Acapulco, Mexico.
Full transcripts of both reports are now available for viewing on the APEC Website:
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