Shanghai APEC 2001: Its Significance

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2001 series of meetings came to an end in Shanghai yesterday with accomplishments in many areas, and at a significant moment: The meetings coincided with a global economy slow-down aggravated by the terrorist attack on the United States.

Although reaching the goals of APEC depends on each individual country's improving its macroeconomic performance, APEC meetings this year did make a concrete steps in regional cooperation and liberalization of trade and investment to help restore confidence among investors and consumers and to help the international economy get back on track.

For example, the Shanghai Accord passed at the meetings makes headway toward the Bogor Goals, in which free and open trade and investment for developed members and developing members will be seen by 2010 and 2020 respectively. The APEC Shanghai meeting also managed, in light with the bleak world economic outlook, to push for a new, early round of World Trade Organization (WTO) trade talks and negotiations.

In the Leaders' Declaration, leaders agreed to present an APEC with a closer, stronger partnership for regional economic cooperation so as to achieve common prosperity through wider participation and closer cooperation.

Participants also agreed that the developed and developing member economies should share the benefits of globalization and the new economy. An e-APEC Action Plan and the Human Capacity Program will help the rapid growth of information technology and knowledge-based economy and bridge the "digital divide."

The meeting also for the first time in the history of APEC went beyond economic issues to call for international cooperation to combat terrorism. Leaders from major powers such as China, Japan, Russia, and the US voiced agreement to work together in a variety of ways to combat terrorism.

For the host country, China, the only country in the Asia-Pacific region to enjoy rapid economic growth, the success of APEC 2001 in Shanghai signifies the further integration of China into globalization and its increasingly important role in the world.

( by Guo Xiaohong, staff reporter October 22, 2001)

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