FOCUS-on-APEC 1 Mar. 1996

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Ma. Salome Bulayog, "FOCUS-on-APEC 1 Mar. 1996", Aprenet, March 01, 1996,



A regular bulletin produced by Focus on the Global South 
Bangkok, Thailand

Volume 1, Number 1
March 1996

Welcome to the first issue of FOCUS-on-APEC!

FOCUS was designated the NGO Information/Monitoring Center 
on APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) by the 
participants of the 1995 NGO Forum on APEC in Kyoto, Japan.  
It was out of this commitment that FOCUS-on-APEC was 
created.  FOCUS-on-APEC carries APEC-related news, the 
latest items of interest and concern, and informed and 
critical analysis from a progressive perspective -- with a 
broad geographical concentration on East Asia and the 
Western and South Pacific.

FOCUS-on-APEC is where you can learn about other people's 
APEC-related work and they can learn about yours.   Please 
send us your APEC-related information (by e-mail, fax or 
snail-mail!)  -- including news items, research papers, 
opinion pieces and information on grassroots activities 
happening in your respective country.  Your contributions 
will be incorporated into the bulletins.

We welcome your comments and suggestions!

	-  Partner Organizations
	-  OSAKA: No Action, No Agenda?
	-  APEC and ASEM
	-  APEC and ASEAN
	-  Australia Update:  NGOs in the APEC Process
	-  Aotearoa/New Zealand Update: July Forum
	-  Philippine Update:  Organizing for November
	-  FOCUS' Website! 
	-  Hard copy versions


FOCUS' APEC Project Partner Organizations:

Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development

(Nautilus and FOCUS are working together on two key research 
projects --  Alternative Security in the Asia-Pacific and 
Alternatives to APEC.   Nautilus now plans to send out an 
electronic bulletin and short faxes on APEC, with a focus on 
the environment and a geographical concentration on the 
Western hemisphere.  If you are interested in receiving 
this, please contact Nautilus directly to subscribe 

Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural 
Development (ANGOC)

Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC)

Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)


"The Osaka Summit: A 'No Action No Agenda' Meeting?:  
Analysis and Reaction"

Summary of two _Economist_ articles Nov. 25 , 1995 and Jan. 
by Ma. Salome Bulayog
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)

In the November 25 issue of The Economist,  the APEC summit 
in Japan was described as a "No Action, No Agenda" meeting.  
According to The Economist, the summit has adopted an Action 
Agenda but there was no real action taking place, in the 
sense that most of the programs agreed upon by the delegates 
were vague.  Commitments to open and free trade which were 
proclaimed in Indonesia and which were reaffirmed in Japan 
are to be implemented in 2010 in the case of  rich countries 
and by 2020 in the case of poor countries.  However, it 
seems that the member countries have different 
interpretations of the word "free"  and  "open".  For 
instance, to the Americans and Australians, free trade means 
a  5% reduction in tariffs, abolition of quotas, and some 
unspecified progress in reforming policies and other 
measures which inhibits trade which the other members of 
APEC disagreed.  Furthermore, the members were also unclear 
about how they are going to achieve their goals.  There was 
an argument among them on whether the benefits of 
liberalization  should be extended  to trading partners 
outside their charmed circle.  Optimists plead that it is 
better to settle on a vague agenda than to risk divisive 
arguments; at least harmony has been preserved in a group 
which includes countries as diverse as Brunei and Canada.  
Although the agreements were vague and the harmony  
artificial,  the group can get results.   To quote,  The 
Economist  stated that  "In sum, Osaka's  Action Agenda 
committed nobody to anything.  The best that can be said is 
that when they meet again next year, the region's leaders 
may be shamed into bolder tariff cuts.  Then again, shame 
seldom bothers politicians".

Fred  Bergsten, director of the Institute for International 
Economics in Washington, D.C., and chairman from 1992-1995 
of the forum's advisory disagrees.  According to Mr.  
Bergsten, the recent Osaka summit has provided encouraging 
evidence that the APEC's ambitious  goals can be achieved.  
He said that all challenges to the comprehensiveness of its 
liberalization commitment, notably from Japan and South 
Korea on agriculture were rejected.  Agreements were reached 
on key "trade  facilitation" issues including customs 
harmonization and simplification, harmonization and 
simplification, product standardization and mutual 
agreements for product testing and recognition .  In fact, a 
number of  down payments on liberalization were announced:  
Japan will accelerate by 50% its Uruguay round cuts in 
industrial tariffs, a number of countries will accelerate 
their adoption of the Round's intellectual property and 
other disciplines, China will cut a number of its tariffs by 
30%, and  Indonesia and several other developing countries 
have reduced tariffs sharply.  On the criticism that the 
Osaka summit was vague,  Bergsten  emphasized that Osaka 
produced precise agreements on the nine principles, an 
agenda of  fifteen topics, and launched timetables that 
together will guide the process for implementing the free 
trade pledge -- APEC's equivalent of the Punta del Este 
agreement that Uruguay round in 1986.   

To The Economist's conclusion that "Osaka's Action Agenda 
committed nobody to anything",  Fred Bergsten admits that it 
is true that commitments made at the Osaka summit were non-
binding and voluntary and unilateral rather than negotiated 
actions and decision by consensus.  He said that many Asians 
emphasized peer pressure and enlightened self-interest 
rather than the give and take of formal negotiations that is 
familiar to western trade officials.  This is perhaps the 
reason for The Economist's conclusion.  However, he said 
that despite some wistful chatter about keeping APEC as a 
consultative forum, it has already undertaken serious and 
successful negotiations.  Its trade ministers developed a 
joint offer in late 1993 that helped bring Uruguay Round to 
a successful conclusion.  A code of non-binding investment  
principles was worked out in 1994.  Bergsten  emphasized 
that the Bogor Declaration, through which the free trade 
commitment was enunciated in Indonesia, was a thoroughly 
negotiated document and that the Osaka "Action Agenda" was 
negotiated over nine months with at least the intensity of 
Punta del Este and similar trade agreements.    

Bergsten said that it is also doubtful whether the "Asian 
way" really differs very much from the traditional trade 
talks reiterating that all begin with a commitment to 
liberalize that is political rather than legal as at Bogor 
or Punta del Este. "No trade negotiations commence with a 
legal obligation and Economist misleads its readers by 
suggesting that APEC is somehow unusual in this respect,"  
Bergsten said.

Bergsten also stated that in the Osaka Summit, the zeal for 
consensus has not prevented the will of the majority from 
prevailing on every important issue.  There was still  
flexibility  alongside comprehensiveness to enable countries 
to liberalize more slowly in sensitive sectors such as 
agriculture but this is no different from the rearend 
loading of the phase out of textile quotas by the United 
States and others under the Uruguay Round. According to 
Bergsten, "Any differences in APEC may turn out to be much 
more rhetorical than substantive".

"Democracy in APEC"

by Jane Kelsey
Aotearoa/NZ APEC Monitoring Group, Professor at the 
University of Auckland

The difficulty we have in working with APEC is that it is a 
very difficult agency to monitor or to intervene in.  Many 
people compare APEC to the EU or NAFTA .  But the EU has 
institutions, such as parliament, a court, a council, which 
are visible, which are required to make public the 
operations and decisions, and which allow some level of 
democratic participation.  Much of NAFTA's framework at 
least involved formal agreements that required  ratification 
within legislature of the countries involved, although the 
reality of democratic participation for any outside the 
United States was very limited.

APEC, however, is the most anti-democratic, secretive, 
invisible, and inaccessible of these entities.  What we are 
seeing next week is a pageant of ministers and leaders, but 
this is not really how APEC works.  Rather, it operates 
through a series of meetings throughout the year involving 
officials who work behind the scenes, outside the framework 
of national governments in a way which is very difficult to 
monitor and hold to account.   Alongside them are private 
sector lobbyists who very deeply influence what takes place 
within APEC.  The organization PECC (Pacific Economic 
Cooperation Council) combines academics, private sector 
lobbyists, and officials, in their "private capacity,"  
which means that their governments cannot be implicated for 
what they do.  So what we have is an informal network that 
operates behind the scenes in APEC.

A further dimension of APEC's operation which was promoted 
by the United States in 1993, was to set up  APEC study 
centers in universities in the different countries.  The 
intent is to create educated like-thinking elites throughout 
the region, who are committed to neoliberal economics and 
structural adjustment.  It is supposed to provide a 
launching pad for new ideas to be promoted within APEC.

These networks operate not only within APEC.  These same 
officials and same private lobbyists meet in other forums, 
such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Trade 
Organization, and during the consultative processes of 

Therefore, one of the concerns that we have when we look at 
APEC is not simply the institutions but what lies behind 
them.  The aggressive agenda which the United States, 
Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have pursued sees APEC as 
a convenient vehicle to achieve their goals.  They have 
little understanding or show little understanding of the 
complexities involved.

It may well be, in fact, that APEC will fall apart.  Some of 
us may be tempted to call this a success.  But what we have 
to remember is that behind APEC there are series of networks 
which will survive and find other ways to pursue the same 
goals.  The challenge to us as NGOs and people who are 
committed to social justice is to develop our own networks 
to ensure that we can challenge the way the international 
economic decisions are now being made, outside of the sphere 
of the state, and which have dramatic impacts on the lives 
of all of us, whether we live in the North or the South.

(This is a reprint from the _AMPO Japan-Asia Quarterly 
Review_ Vol. 26 No. 4.  See the "RESOURCES" section of this 

"ASEM versus APEC"

by Walden Bello
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)

Fifteen European and 10 Asian heads of state held an 
economic summit in Bangkok (Asian European Meeting (ASEM)) 
on March 1 and 2, 1996.  The meeting ended with vows of 
facilitating freer trade and investment activity.  A key 
objective of the European Union was to press the Asians to 
agree to the new Multilateral Investment Treaty that they 
are pushing in the World Trade Organization (WTO) that would 
grant foreign investors "national treatment," that is, 
accord them the rights and privileges granted to nationals.  
Sensitive issues were by agreement avoided; this included 
human rights, Burma, East Timor, Northern Ireland, the 
social clause issue, and arms sales.

These issues were, however, in the forefront of the parallel 
meeting, "The First Asia-Europe NGO Conference", that took 
place in Bangkok before the summit, on Feb. 27-29.  Attended 
by 350 NGO representatives, the conference opposed the 
proposed investment treaty, called for greater respect and 
protection of migrant workers in Europe, demanded greater 
efforts to stop sex trafficking and child exploitation, and 
recommended a parallel withdrawal of Indonesia from East 
Timor supervised by ASEAN and of France from New Caledonia 
and  Tahiti.  The NGO meeting received wide coverage in the 
Thai, regional, and international press.  (Violeta Corral of 
ANGOC attended the meeting representing the International 
Organizing Committee for the Philippine Forum on APEC.)

The official summit was, however, largely a symbolic 
occasion, the strategic intent of which was to begin to 
build a counterweight to APEC.  As Dr. Joel Rocamora of the 
Philippines observed, "APEC is the main reason for the EU's 
push to improve relations with Asia, the main reason 
therefore why we are here.  Without APEC, ASEM would 
probably not have happened."  Rocamora then quoted from the 
EU's Asia Strategy Paper which said that unless the EU 
adopted a more coordinated and proactive policy,  "The Union 
stands to lose out of the economic miracle taking place [in 
Asia] because of strong competition from Japan and the US 
and also increasingly from companies within the region's 
newly industrialized and capital rich countries." 

(Papers presented to the "First NGO Asia-Europe Conference" 
will be published in a collective book.  Copies will be 
available at FOCUS within 6 months time. The next conference 
will be held in London in 1998.)

"ASEAN and APEC:  An Uneasy Coexistence"

by Walden Bello
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS) 

(This article originally appeared in  _The Nation_ 
[Bangkok] Nov. 16, 1995.  It is the last article of a 
three-part series.  The first dealt with APEC and the 
US, the second with APEC and Japan.)

It has been from within the ranks of ASEAN that 
the most militant criticism of the Australian-American 
move to convert APEC into a free trade area has 
emerged.  The mercurial Prime Minister Mohamad 
Mahathir has not only become identified with the 
posture that APEC should refrain from becoming a free 
trade area, but he is the principal proponent of what 
Washington and Canberra see is a threatening rival 
concept: the East Asia Economic Caucus (EAEC).

ASEAN and the EAEC Controversy

The EAEC would include only Asian and Western 
Pacific nations in a loosely structured consultative 
group.  While the other ASEAN countries have not been 
on the forefront espousing it, they have nevertheless 
been broadly supportive of the idea.  In Mahathir's 
view, after all, ASEAN would be the nucleus or 
core of the EAEC.  In fact, it has been at the advice 
of his ASEAN neighbors that Mahatir has downgraded his 
proposed formation from the status of an independent 
regional "group" to being a "caucus" within APEC in 
order to lessen Washington and Canberra's suspicions.
 It has not had this effect, however, and the 
Clinton administration has brought against the 
"caucus" proposal the same criticism that the Bush 
administration launched at the original "group" idea: 
that it would create an "artificial dividing line down 
the middle of the Pacific." 

Washington knows, however, that the so-called 
line is far from artificial, and its strident 
opposition to Mahathir's project stems from the fact 
that it would reinforce trends that are already at 
work  Already, intra-Asian trade makes up some 
45 per cent of East Asia's trade and it is growing 
much faster than its trade with other parts of the 
world.  The size of Japan's trade with Asia now 
outstrips its trade with the US, and Southeast Asia 
has overtaken the US to become Korea's biggest market.  
With East Asia becoming both integrated production 
base and its own biggest market, the formation of EAEC 
would accelerate the lessening market dependence on 
the US and promote greater political independence.

So threatened is Washington that a few weeks ago, 
US Undersecretary of State Joseph Nye, according to a 
report that appeared in Singapore's Business Times,  
made the strong suggestion in Tokyo that the US would 
"probably withdraw our security presence" from the 
Asia-Pacific if the countries in the area were to 
proceed to form the EAEC on the grounds that the 
latter would "exclude the US from the region 
economically."  It was another one of those Super 301-
like threats that was not likely to raise Washington's 
stock in Southeast Asia.

Endorsement of the EAEC does not mean, however, 
that ASEAN as a whole is opposed to the APEC free-
trade area concept.  It is more accurate to say that 
ASEAN is not of one mind about APEC liberalization.  
Postures range from Singapore's support, Indonesia's 
formal endorsement amidst strong doubts,  Thailand's 
apprehensiveness, Malaysia's confrontational stance, 
and the Philippines' largely spectator role.  

It is fair to say, however, that the center of 
gravity of ASEAN opinion tends toward the cautious, 
critical, and suspicious.  This is not mainly because 
of Washington and Canberra's opposition to EAEC, which 
remains, after all, a proposal.  The reason is much 
more concrete and, for ASEAN, more vital:  APEC is 
increasingly perceived as a rival to ASEAN and its pet 
project, AFTA, the ASEAN Free Trade Area.

The ASEAN Vision: Regional Industrialization 
via Trade Liberalization  

ASEAN is the grandfather of multilateral regional 
arrangements in the Asia-Pacific, and the ASEAN 
governments are very jealous of their creation when 
confronted with newcomers like APEC.  Indeed, even 
among sectors of the ASEAN citizenries, there is a 
fellow feeling--a sense of "ASEAN brotherhood and 
sisterhood"--that is unique in the East Asian region.

In its first quarter century, ASEAN achieved 
success mainly as a political alliance against 
communism.  However, the original impulse for its 
founding in the late sixties was for it to serve as a 
vehicle for regional economic cooperation.  The spirit 
that animated plans for an economic bloc was not the 
neoclassical concern for "efficient allocation of 
productive resources through free market mechanisms" 
that underlies, in theory at least, the APEC free 
trade area.  Rather, trade integration was seen as a 
base for integrated regional industrialization.  As 
originally envisioned by the influential Robinson 
report undertaken for ASEAN by UNESCAP, ASEAN members 
were to carry out limited trade liberalization to 
create a wider market that would encourage coordinated 
industrial import substitution at a regional level.

In the 1970's and 1980's, the ASEAN countries 
launched several initiatives, including the 
Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTA), which aimed 
at a limited liberalization; the ASEAN Industrial 
Projects (AIP), which sought to assign large-scale 
capital-intensive projects to different countries to 
develop; the ASEAN Industrial Complementation Scheme 
(AIC), which aimed to divide different production 
phases of the automobile and other industries among 
member countries; and the ASEAN Industrial Ventures 
(AJIV), aimed at increasing industrial production 
through resource pooling and market sharing by ASEAN 
firms.  Running through these schemes was the 
protectionist perspective of using trade policy--that 
is, reducing trade barriers among members while 
keeping them up against non-members--as an instrument 
to build regional industrial capacity.

Grand in vision, these initiatives were scarcely 
implemented in the 1970's and 1980's, as ASEAN focused 
on regional political issues like the continuing 
instability in Cambodia.  But with the end of the Cold 
War and the return of relative political stability to 
Cambodia, ASEAN members returned to the common-market 
agenda that had been ASEAN's original impulse by 
launching AFTA in 1992.  There was another reason as 
well: the founding of APEC in Canberra in 1989 and 
Australia's energetic diplomacy to make it the 
regional economic bloc for the Asia-Pacific. 

The core of AFTA is the so-called CEPT or "Common 
Effective Preferential Tariff Agreement" which applies 
to all manufactured goods, including capital goods and 
processed agricultural products.  The central 
provision of CEPT was that all tariffs would be 
lowered to a substantially free trade level within 15 
years, in 2008.  In the view of its planners, AFTA 
was, like the previous ASEAN tariff reduction 
attempts, no simple free trade scheme.  It was to 
simultaneously use internal trade liberalization and 
external trade discrimination in an effort to create a 
wider market that would provide the economies of scale 
for the profitable operation of capital-intensive and 
technology-intensive industries, be they ASEAN-based 
or foreign.  

As Australian government study pointed out, 
unlike the APEC free trade scheme, AFTA employs trade 
policy for regional industrialization ends:  "By 
creating an integrated ASEAN market and production 
base, AFTA seeks to encourage multinationals (and 
ASEAN-based firms) to develop region-wide production, 
distribution, and marketing strategies; and in the 
process boost the overall competitiveness of ASEAN 

When it came to implementation, however, the 
agreement was initially bogged down in different time 
frames for tariff reductions and long lists of 
products that the different countries wanted to exempt 
from CEPT provisions, casting doubt on countries' 
commitment to the liberalization process.  It seemed 
AFTA would go the way of past ASEAN initiatives, until 
ASEAN governments "relaunched" the program in 1994 
with the ambitious agreement to advance the target 
date for the elimination of trade barriers  from 15 to 
10 years, making ASEAN a substantially free trade area 
by the year 2003.

AFTA and APEC as Rival Processes

This time it was Bill Clinton's big push for the 
APEC free trade area during the November 1993 Seattle 
Summit that served as the spur to ASEAN's quickening 
pace of trade integration, just as it was APEC's 2020 
APEC free trade vision articulated at the November 
1994 that sparked the Sultan of Brunei's recent 
controversial proposal  that the achievement of free 
trade in AFTA should take place by the year 2000, 
three years ahead of the already revised schedule.

ASEAN's competitive pace is not surprising, for 
the grouping would lose its raison d'etre--to become a 
unified market and production base via internal trade 
liberalization and external trade discrimination--if 
the APEC free trade area were to become a reality.  
ASEAN would be happy with APEC if the latter were to 
remain a group for consultation and cooperation that 
would not threaten the ASEAN goal of regional 
industrial upgrading through regional trade 
liberalization.  At the same time, Canberra and 
Washington have come to realize that the more AFTA 
becomes a reality, the more difficult it would be for 
an APEC free trade area to come into existence.

This race for effective liberalization between 
AFTA and APEC has been largely carried out without 
direct references to the essential contradiction 
between the two enterprises.  This may be about to 
change. One Australian government unit has already 
warned that AFTA could become a "substitute for more 
comprehensive liberalization," and urged Canberra to 
"press for liberalization of a range of ASEAN tariff 
and non-tariff barriers and remaining impediments to 
investment, for all of ASEAN's trading partners."  But 
probably more alarming, and more offensive, to ASEAN 
is a recent remark by Dr. Fred Bergsten, the American 
head of the Eminent Persons' Group, to the effect that 
permission must be secured from APEC and the World 
Trade Organization before any subregional economic 
grouping in East Asia is allowed to pursue further 

The ASEAN reaction to Bergsten's proposal and 
similar suggestions to "bring AFTA under control" is 
probably not different from that of a commentator in 
Singapore's Business Times:  "This is extraordinary.  
APEC is a voluntary and non-binding agreement among 
Asia-Pacific states and why it should have the right 
to veto any proposal from formally constituted bodies 
such as ASEAN is hard to see...APEC needs to more 
carefully avoid giving the impression of patronizing 
any of its members, especially as it is viewed as an 
instrument of US policy in this region.  A few lessons 
in diplomacy would not come amiss among visitors from 

ASEAN's Guerrilla Strategy

The ASEAN governments, however, have not been 
without effective weapons in their effort to slow down 
the momentum toward free trade in APEC.  Perhaps the 
most clever ploy has been to invoke the Most Favored 
Nation (MFN) principle in international trade, which 
states that one automatically extends to all other 
trading partners the terms granted to the most favored 
partner.  Here, the ASEAN countries have teamed up 
with Japan in opposing the United States, which 
adamantly sticks to the principle of reciprocity, 
which would extend APEC trade terms only to non-
members who undertake reciprocal concessions.  

The US position is that MFN within APEC would 
encourage "free riders," like the European Union, 
which would benefit from a free trade area while 
keeping up their own barriers.  This would eventually 
dilute the benefits of belonging to an APEC free trade 
area.  The ASEAN and Japanese reply is that MFN is the 
only position that is really consistent with the 
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) global 
trading framework administered by the WTO.  
Disagreement on this very fundamental principle would 
push discussion of concrete liberalization plans 
within APEC further into the future, giving AFTA the 
space to put its liberalization program securely in 

That ASEAN's resorting to MFN in this context 
stems less from principle and more from a strategy to 
slow down the APEC free trade process is obvious if 
one realizes that none of the ASEAN countries would 
even dream of invoking MFN in an AFTA context--which 
is precisely what the Australians are trying to get 
them to do.
Rather than Mahathir's confrontational tactics, 
it is likely to be guerrilla tactics of this kind, 
coupled with rhetorical bows to regional free trade--a 
strategy in which the Japanese are also quite 
masterful--that will bring about the effective demise 
of the ersatz vision of a regional free trade area 
that American and Australian pressure produced at 
Bogor, and bring APEC back to the role that ASEAN, 
Japan, and practically all the other Asian countries 
are comfortable with:  serving as a consultative forum 
for economic cooperation, with no other ambitions.

(You can access the first two articles in the three-part 
series by visiting FOCUS' new ftp site: 
For instructions on how to ftp, contact Shea Cunningham at 
FOCUS:  <>)

"APEC and the Environment:  Guiding Principles, Innovative 
by Lyuba Zarsky
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development

(Excerpts from the original paper)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) has 
emerged as the overarching institution in the Asia-Pacific 
region. APEC's eighteen members span East Asia, Australasia 
and the Western Hemisphere and include the world's fastest 
growing economies.   

The heart of APEC's diplomatic agenda is the creation 
of a region-wide, liberal trade and investment regime. 
Although not all APEC members are equally enthusiastic, 
heads of state agreed in Bogor, Indonesia in  November, 1994 
to reduce trade and investment barriers by 2010 for the 
developed and 2020 for the developing countries.  In 
November, 1995, APEC foreign ministers will meet  in Osaka 
to discuss an "action agenda:" ways to implement the 
sweeping vision of the Bogor Agreement.

Many environmentalists and citizen groups throughout 
Asia-Pacific worry that APEC's "sweeping vision" portends 
something more akin to a clear-cut, smoking forest than an 
efficient economic paradise.  Despite some first steps to 
"green" APEC,  free trade diplomacy has to date taken little 
consideration of the environment. Yet, economic openness 
generates new and specific pressures on environmental 
policymaking.  With economic interdependence, the policies 
and norms of one country become deeply entangled with those 
of its trading partners. The scope for unilateral action is 
reduced, even as trade-induced economic growth increase 
pressures on resources and eco-systems.

Regional economic integration necessitates the creation of 
regional frameworks for environmental governance--and APEC 
is the place to build them.  Mutual commitments to open 
borders to trade could be vehicles which also carry 
commitments to promote ecologically sustainable development. 
Beyond working to expand market access, APEC countries must 
cooperate in putting in place conditions and safeguards 
which provide incentives for sustainable resource and 
ecosystem use.  In this way, trade and environmental 
policies can mutually reinforce, rather than undermine, each 

APEC is a young and flexible institution. Over the next 
five years, an opportunity exists to build environmental 
concerns into APEC's very foundation. In one way or another, 
it is likely that environmental issues will be on the 
agenda. The crucial and unfolding issue is how deep and 
broad will be the integration of  trade and environmental 

Towards an Environmental Agenda for APEC

Over the next two years, the Philippines followed by Canada 
will be the chairs of APEC.  In the Philippines, the 
severity of ecological degradation has made the environment 
a mainstream concern, both domestically and internationally. 
Under the leadership of President Ramos, environment and 
finance ministers will meet in Manila in July to discuss 
innovative approaches to financing sustainable development. 
In Canada, there is considerable interest to make the 
environment a "key theme" of its chairmanship. The United 
States has also identified environment as one of fifteen 
"broad" issues to be included in the action agenda. 

The role of analysts and activists could be pivotal in 
the next five years. The environmental agenda is very much 
in the development stage and the political will to discuss 
environmental issues at APEC is just emerging. Without 
external pressure, governments are likely to focus on narrow 
environmental concerns, such as the harmonization of product 
standards, which are heavily influenced by their national 
economic interests. It is up to citizen groups, scientists, 
analysts and other non-governmental stakeholders to 
articulate regional common interests and to press for a 
broader environmental agenda.   

Trade-Environment Principles

Suggested common principles to guide 
the governance of the trade-environment interface:

1.  Integration of Trade and Environment: The first 
principle is the recognition that trade and environment 
impacts and policies are interlinked, both at the national 
and regional levels. Trade and investment policies, as well 
as other forms of regional economic cooperation,  should 
take environmental impacts into account and aim to maintain 
the resilience of eco-systems. 

2.  Cooperation: Common rules, guidelines and frameworks for 
environmental management should be developed through 
processes of regional discussion 
and consensus-building. The more powerful countries should 
eschew the use of unilateral trade sanctions to impose 
environmental conditionalities.  Ample opportunities must be 
created for environmental concerns to be articulated by all 
members of APEC and  for a broad consensus to emerge on ways 
to integrate environmental and economic management.

3.  Mutual Responsibility:  No APEC country can claim the 
moral high ground as the guardian of ecologically sound 
development. The embrace of regional mechanisms which 
promote environmentally sound trade patterns will require 
all APEC countries to make changes in their existing 
domestic policies and to enact new policies.  

4.  Efficiency, Eco-Efficiency, and Cost Internalization:  
One of the central aims of regional trade-environment 
cooperation is to generate market prices which take 
ecological costs into account   The reverse is also 
important: environment policies should promote economic 
efficiency and aim to ensure that scarce financial resources 
are well-spent. 

5.  Scientist and Stakeholder Participation:  The creation 
of sound approaches to regional environmental management 
requires APEC to open its doors to scientists, especially 
ecological scientists, citizen groups and other 
stakeholders. Scientists and stakeholders should receive 
ongoing opportunities to participate in the design and 
implementation of regional trade, investment and environment 
policies. Stakeholders include community, consumer, 
environment and development groups, labor unions, farmers, 
businesses and others.

6.  Diversity and Commonality:  The general approach of 
APEC should be to promote common guidelines and frameworks 
while leaving micro-management to national and sub-national 
governments.  Rather than the same standards, for example, 
APEC could aim to standardize information gathering and 
testing procedures, as well as standard-setting 
methodologies such as environmental and health impact and 
risk assessment. Harmonization of standards should be 
pursued where appropriate. 

(For the full text of Zarsky's paper contact the Nautilus 
Institute, Fax: 1 510 204 9298, E-mail:


Australia Update: NGOs in the APEC Process
by Jeff Atkinson, Community Aid Abroad

In response to lobbying by NGOs, the Australian Minister for 
Trade has agreed to establish a Consultative Group for 
Australian NGOs and unions on APEC.  This will enable these 
organizations to input directly to the Minister and to 
policy makers within the Australian Government.  The 
Consultative Group will be chaired by the Trade Minister and 
will have 3 representatives from development NGOs, 2 from 
environment groups, 1 from the consumer movement, and 3 from 
trade unions, nominated by the Australian Council of Trade 

The Minister already has a Trade Policy Advisory Committee, 
with business and farmers' representatives only, and the new 
NGO Consultative Group could be seen as a side-lining of 
NGOs.  However, the fact that it gives them direct contact 
with the Minister on a regular basis, unimpeded by other 
views, has convinced the NGO community that it is worth 

Unfortunately soon after the Minister announced this new 
initiative, a federal election was called in Australia, 
which could result in a change of government.  In the course 
of the election campaign, the opposition has indicated that 
it also might consider some form of APEC advisory group, but 
it is unlikely to include either NGOs or unions.

As part of its lobbying during the recent election campaign 
in Australia, Community Aid Abroad sent to every candidate a 
copy of a Social Justice Manifesto which set out what it 
felt should be the social justice priorities of an 
Australian Government.  Among these was the promotion of 
socially and environmentally sensitive trade policies 
through APEC.  The official launch of the manifesto 
attracted significant media publicity.

Aotearoa/New Zealand Update: July Forum

GATT Watchdog is organizing an Alternative Forum on Free 
Trade to be held in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand from 
12 - 14 July 1996.  Entitled "Trading With Our Lives: the 
human cost of free trade" it is scheduled to coincide with 
the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting being held at Christchurch 
Town Hall, involving the trade ministers and senior 
officials from the 18 APEC member countries. Topics that the 
forum aims to look at will include: free trade and 
colonization; indigenous rights; free trade, labor rights 
and standards; women and free trade; the role of 
transnationals and the erosion of economic sovereignty; 
market reforms - the New Zealand experience - links to the 
global picture.

Keynote speakers from Mexico, East Timor, and the 
Philippines are expected to attend as well as a cross-
sectoral representation of New Zealanders who are concerned 
about free trade.

Successive NZ governments have committed themselves to 
sweeping market reforms over the past decade and by hosting 
the Trade Ministers Meeting and the 1999 APEC Leaders 
Summit, are striving to position themselves closer to the 
regional center of the liberalization process which APEC 
forms an important part of.  Debate and alternative views 
about the path of development which they have chosen have 
been actively stifled by politicians and much of the media.  
"Trading With Our Lives" aims to add momentum to the work at 
both national and regional levels to challenge these forces.

For further details, please contact Aziz Choudry or Leigh 
Cookson at GATT Watchdog, Fax 64 3 3484763 or E-mail

The Philippine Update: Organizing for November

Excerpted notes by Joy Chavez
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)

February Official Meeting in Philippines:  

During the First Senior Officials Meeting of APEC held in 
February 1996 in Manila, the Philippine delegation presented 
a new philosophy that should govern cooperation among the 
APEC economies.  The Philippine delegation said that APEC 
should depart from the "donor-donee" approach to 
development.  Instead, APEC should shift to resource pooling 
to harmonize regional interests and to minimize national 
agenda.  This approach to development will harness economic 
strengths of APEC members without strings attached.  
Resource pooling will also enhance regional bonding and will 
enable APEC economies to maximize opportunities for trade 
and investment liberalization and facilitation.  The idea of 
resource pooling is similar to the AFTA's Integrated 
Cooperation Scheme (AICO).

According to the Philippine delegation, if the proposal is 
adopted, APEC will foreshadow economic donor agencies like 
the United States Agency for International Development and 
the Japan's External Trade Organization.  The new approach 
will integrate human resource development, 
telecommunications and information services on top of 
infrastructure and technology which are considered as 
"classic" modes of development.

Some key points of interest:

Taiwan and China:  The Philippine Government has issued an 
assurance to China that Taiwanese President Lee Teng Hui 
will not participate in the APEC Summit this November.  It 
will adhere to the "one-China" policy.  The Philippines will 
follow the procedures adopted in previous summits.  That is, 
it will send invitation to Taiwan, but it expects Taiwan to 
turn it down.  On the other hand, Ambassador Chan Hsi Ching, 
the Taiwanese representative to Manila, said that since 
Taiwan is a full member of APEC, Mr. Lee has every right to 
attend the Summit.  According to Ambassador Chan, Mr. Lee 
can make a lot of contributions to the APEC process 
especially in the most sensitive area of agriculture.  Mr. 
Lee has a Ph.D. in agriculture from Cornell University, and 
is considered one of the main movers of TaiwanÕs 
agricultural development.

On 13-15 March 1996, APEC held a workshop on small and 
medium size industries in Los Banos, Laguna.  The workshop 
tackled the organization, structure, funding and 
sustainability of the Center.  The main function of the 
Center is to package information for use of small-and 
medium-scale enterprises within APEC.

Notes from two recent FOCUS' interviews:

According to Mr. Akihiko Hashimoto, JICA (Japan 
International Cooperation Agency) resident representative to 
the Philippines, Japan's apprehension over the "mobility of 
labor" concept arises from two things.  One, Japan has been 
under a recession for the last four years.  Labor mobility 
poses undue competition to their own labor markets which 
they have to protect.  Two, it is unacceptable to Japan that 
cooperation for human resource development should benefit 
countries other than the intended direct beneficiaries.  
Japan is among the biggest donor for ODA.  Their intention 
is for the workers trained under their programs, or using 
Japanese aid money, to help the economies of their own 
countries (say, Filipino workers help to improve Philippine 
economy) and not other economies.  Hence, their objection to 
the concept of "labor mobility" which covers not only 
"qualified persons" but also the generic overseas contract 
workers.  (Mr. Hashimoto said that his statements are 

Mr. Stewart Henderson, Counselor and Consul, Political and 
Economic Relations/Public Affairs, Canadian Embassy, Manila 
stated:  it is clear to Canada that APEC harnesses people-
to-people relations.  But APEC is not a formal organization, 
and does not entail formal treaties.  Members enter into 
agreements, not negotiation.  Thus, it should not be 
compared to GATT where members undergo a process of 
ratification.  Nor to the European Union where citizens of 
the members are able to cast their votes, because there is 
no APEC Parliament, no formal organization that requires 
such process.  And because everything is done on a voluntary 
basis, there is no need for sanctions.  APEC cannot and will 
not issue sanctions officially.  However, APEC cannot stop 
its members from issuing bilateral sanctions to other 
members who choose not to comply with the APEC agreements.

The People's Forum:

The Philippine Hosting Committee (PHC) is chaired by Mr. 
Horacio "Boy" Morales of the Philippine Rural reconstruction 
Movement (PRRM).  Mr. Omi Royandoyan of the Philippine 
Peasant Institute (PPI), and Ms. June Rodriguez of the Rural 
Enlightenment and Accretion in Philippine Society (REAPS).  
Working in close coordination with the PHC is an interim ad 
hoc International Secretariat currently manned by the Asian 
NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development 
(ANGOC) and Focus on the Global South (FOCUS).  A Manila-
based International Secretariat is expected to be formed by 

As of 14 March 1996, the PHC reported the following number 
of confirmed participants for the "People's Forum on APEC 
1996" (PFA) : 81 Philippine NGOs and People's Organizations, 
13 international/regional organizations, and two members of 
the Philippine legislature.  Up for confirmation are 20 
other local groups and five members of the legislature.  
(The International Secretariat and the PHC will meet to draw 
up the list of international groups to be invited.)

April Events:

A strategy planning meeting of the International Committee 
and Philippine Hosting Committee will be held on Wednesday, 
24 April 1996, from 6.00 PM up, venue to be announced.

The tentative date for the launching of the PFA '96 is 
Thursday, 25 April 1996, venue to be announced.  
All interested NGOs are invited to attend.  
Given funding constraints, however, the International 
Committee will not be able to finance the plane fare of 
those attending from outside the Philippines.  All inquiries 
re: PFA Ô96 should be addressed to:

The Secretariat, Manila PeopleÕs Forum on APEC 1996, Room 
209, PSSC Bldg., Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, Quezon City, 
PHILIPPINES; Tels: (632) 929-6211;  (632) 922-9621, Fax: 
(632) 924-3767

or to: Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural 
Development (ANGOC), No. 14-A 11th Jamboree Street, Brgy. 
Sacred Heart, Kamuning, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES; Tels : 
(632) 993-315/973-019, Fax : (632) 921-5122, E-mail: 



_Economic Fundamentalism: The New Zealand Experiment - A 
World Model for Structural Adjustment?_ by Jane Kelsey 
(London: Pluto Press, 1995).

_Challenging the Mainstream:  APEC and the Asia-Pacific 
Development Debate_ (1995).  A collection of articles on 
APEC, featuring Walden Bello.  To obtain the book please 
contact ARENA in Hong Kong:  Tel: (852) 333 7737, Fax: (852) 
362 1847, E-mail:, address: RmA4, Blk G, 2/F, 
Hung Hom Bay Centre, 104 - 18, Baker Street, Hung Hom, 
Kowloon, HONG KONG.


"The Big Picture" is a quarterly newsletter produced by GATT 
Watchdog.  For subscription information contact:  PO Box 
1905, Otautahi/Christchurch, New Zealand, Tel: 64 3 366 
2823, Fax: 64 3 348 4763, E-mail: 

_AMPO: Japan-Asia Quarterly Review_ published by the Pacific 
Asia Resource Center (PARC).  For subscription information 
contact: PO Box 5250 Tokyo Int'l, Japan, Tel: 81 3 3291 
5901, Fax: 81 3 392 2437, E-mail: <>

Electronic information:

The Asia Pacific Regional Environmental Network (APRENet)  
Run by The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable 
Development in Berkeley is an international electronic network of 
people interested in Asia-Pacific environmental issues.  
Network participants include analysts and activists from 
research institutions, environment and development citizen 
groups, government, and business.  The Network links sources 
and users of information on environment-related issues in 
the Asia-Pacific to encourage dialogue and promote regional 
environmental advocacy.  A primary focus is to stimulate 
debate about institutional evolution and policy alternatives 
on trade, environment, and development issues at APEC.   
Contact Nautilus to subscribe: E-mail: <> or 
visit the Nautilus Website:


-  FOCUS now has a Website!  URL: Please visit for 
more general information on FOCUS and find more APEC-related 
information and internet links.  Be forewarned, however, 
that we are working out a few bugs and it will be under 
considerable construction for the next two months.

-  Regular mail and shortened faxed versions of FOCUS-on-
APEC are available upon request.  Due to our budget 
constraints, however, we are unable to air-mail the bulletin 
to many people/groups, so we kindly ask you to print this out 
and regular mail it to interested groups in your country who 
do not have access to e-mail.  Thank you.
FOCUS-on-APEC is produced by Focus on the Global South 
(FOCUS).  Edited by Shea Cunningham.  For more information 
contact our office: c/o CUSRI, Chulalongkorn University, 
Bangkok 10330 Thailand.  Tel: (66 2) 218 7363/7364/7365, 
Fax: (66 2) 255 9976 E-Mail:  <>
Greetings FOCUS-on-APEC subsribers!  Below is a correction to the first

In the "RESOURCES" section of the bulletin where _Challenging the
Mainstream_ was listed,
the contact information was incorrect.  ARENA's new contact information:

Flat B1 2/F Great George Bldg.,
27 Paterson St.,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2805-6193, (852) 2805-6270
Fax (852) 2504-2986.

The book is also available from:

Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA)
E-mail: <>
Fax: (852) 2697-1917;

Christian Conference for Asia (CCA)
Fax: (852) 2692-3805;

Asia Alliance of YMCAs
E-mail: <>
Fax: (852) 2385-4692

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the first bulletin,
please get in touch with us.

Warm regards,

Shea Cunningham

Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)
c/o CUSRI, Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Tel: (66 2) 218 7363/7364/7365    E-Mail:
Fax: (66 2) 255 9976

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