APEC Study Centers (ASCs) are institutions that foster research and academic discussions supporting the broader APEC mission of regional economic integration and which are a means to building networks of academic professionals in the region.
Each of the 21 member economies hosts centers. Today there are more than 70 ASCs, and together they form the APEC Study Centers Consortium (ASCC).
The ASCC holds an annual conference hosted by one of the centers in the APEC Host Economy for the year. The annual conference provides an opportunity for academics and scholars from around the region to discuss their research and identify areas for collaboration.
ASCs were part of the vision set out by APEC Leaders in 1993 when they launched the “APEC Leaders' Education Initiative.” The initiative called on APEC members to foster regional cooperation among tertiary and research institutes to promote greater academic collaboration on key regional economic challenges.
ASCs are independent from APEC and their functions. Funding arrangements are not uniform. Financial support is provided through both public and private funding, and research topics are usually chosen by individual study centers, which assures their independence and flexibility, ensuring the integrity of the ASC process.
The 2023 APEC Study Centers Consortium Conference will be held on 15 November hosted by the Berkeley APEC Study Center at the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of International Studies.
APEC Study Centers will discuss the following themes:
1) Trade institutions, supply chain issues, investment and digital trade: With respect to trade institutions, we are interested in the evolving trade architecture in the Asia-Pacific that includes APEC, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Comprehensive (RCEP) and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework proposed by the United States. In addition, we would like to better understand how these institutions might contribute to advancing the progress of the World Trade Organization, which currently faces significant issues.
Moreover, foreign direct investment continues to be critical to the region’s development. How can foreign direct investment be fostered in the current context of trade-skepticism, inward-focused industrial policy, and demands for “reshoring” requires new and innovative approaches to policymaking.
2) Health: Health and economy are intricately linked. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a healthy economy depends on reasonable functioning of the medical value chain, some level of coordination to impending health emergencies, open and secure ports and transportation, and supporting digital infrastructure for information exchange, dissemination and data management. Other topics that we may wish to address include APEC ideas on adequacy of the global health architecture in addressing potential pandemics, mutual recognition agreements in such areas as PPE and therapeutics, and vaccine development and equity. The emphasis should be on preventing widespread emergencies in the first place, but, in the event of one, to try to deal with it in a way that minimizes the economic and humanitarian risks.
3) Environment: Recent passage of the US climate and health care bill has renewed momentum in scholarly interest on environmental sustainability. Mounting research on climate change’s impact on economic productivity, global value chains, innovation and health has opened up opportunities for academic exchanges between the US and APEC economies. Potential themes could include but are not restricted to: green energy, green trade and supply chains, clean technology, economic vulnerability and resilience, infrastructural development, circular and bioeconomy, climate change’s impact on agriculture and food security. As the US and APEC economies embark on a more balanced approach to local, domestic and regional development, the time is ripe for discussions and debates as to how these priorities might be integrated to environmental sustainability goals.
4) Inclusivity: This theme could include the participation of women, indigenous peoples, minority groups, and small and medium enterprises, amongst other topics.
5) Opportunities for APEC Study Centers: This theme would consider possibilities for APEC Study Centers to increase their collective impact as well as ideas for further collaboration.