APEC recognises the important role Regional Trading Agreements (RTAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) can play in trade liberalisation in the APEC region.
APEC Works on FTAs/RTAs - Capacity Building & Information Sharing to APEC Works on FTAs/RTAs
To provide easy access to the following activities on APEC works—
- Materials and summary reports of policy dialogues conducted under the Information Sharing Mechanism on FTAs/RTAs;
- Materials and summary reports of projects conducted under the Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI);
- APEC comparative tool database on FTA/RTAs
APEC continues its work on free trade agreements and regional trade agreements (FTAs/RTAs) in the region, towards promoting regional economic integration.
Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
Work and discussions on the eventual realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) also continue. In November 2014, APEC Leaders endorsed the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). In accordance with the roadmap, the Collective Strategic Study on Issues related to the Realisation of the FTAAP was finalized in November 2016.
The study provides analysis on issues such as
- Next-generation trade and investment issues
- Measures affecting trade and investment
- Stocktaking of existing RTAs/FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region and ongoing regional undertakings
- Stocktaking of initiatives and outcomes relevant to FTAAP
- Opportunities and Challenges.
Based on the study, in November 2016, Leaders issued a recommendation—“The Lima Declaration on Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)” —instructing officials to implement necessary works to move towards the eventual realization of the FTAAP. Currently, a suite of initiatives/work programs have been proposed and discussed.
APEC Information Sharing Mechanism on Regional Trade Agreements / Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
APEC economies also agreed to an APEC Information Sharing Mechanism on Regional Trade Agreements/Free Trade Agreements that shares information among economies of recently concluded FTAs/RTAs, focusing on WTO-plus aspects or aspects that are not covered by the WTO. This will contribute to a better understanding of comprehensive and high-level FTAs/RTAs, thus contributing to the eventual realization of the FTAAP. Since 2015, a suite of policy dialogues have been held both on Senior Officials’ level and under the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) on a wide range of topics pertinent to FTAs/RTAs.
In support of the work under the mechanism, the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) has also been tasked to undertake research and produce annual reports on trends and developments in FTA/RTA provisions and outcomes concluded by APEC economies.
In order to support this sharing/assessing of information, the existing APEC comparative tool database on FTA/RTAs at http://fta.apec.org was updated to include intra-APEC RTAs/FTAs, which took into effect up to 2015.
Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI)
The initiative of Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI) has been implemented since 2012. It aims at building the capacity of developing economies to enhance their understanding and build their capacities for negotiating high-quality and comprehensive FTAs/RTAs, including on new issues, which will contribute to the eventual realization of FTAAP. Various projects have been implemented under Phase 1 (2012–2014) and Phase 2 (2015–2017) of the CBNI, including projects about FTAs/RTA provisions on the environment, intellectual property rights, transparency, competition, e-commerce, non-tariff measures, and others. To continue and build upon the work conducted under the CBNI, the CTI agreed to launch Phase 3 of the Capacity Building Needs Initiative (CBNI) from 2018 to 2020. Currently, projects have started or expected to be implemented under phase 3 of CBNI.
Links to FTAs/RTAs Information by Economy
To provide easy access to updates to concluded FTAs/RTAs and progress in relation to ongoing negotiations, member economies provided e-links to the existing FTAs:
Hong Kong, China
Papua New Guinea