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Seoul APEC Declaration

Representatives of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the United States of America, meeting in Seoul from 12 to 14 November 1991 at Ministerial level,
that the dynamic growth of economies of the Asia-Pacific region has brought with it growing economic interdependence and strong common interests in maintaining the region's economic dynamism;
of the vital interests shared by the Asia-Pacific economies in the expansion of free trade and investment, both at the regional and global level, and of the dangers inherent in protectionism;
that the healthy and balanced development of economic interdependence within the Asia-Pacific region based upon openness and a spirit of partnership is essential for the prosperity, stability and progress of the entire region;
that closer cooperation is needed to utilize more effectively human and natural resources of the Asia-Pacific region so as to attain sustainable growth of its economies while reducing economic disparities among them and improve the economic and social well-being of its peoples;
the productive outcome of their two previous meetings held in Canberra, 5-7 November 1989 and in Singapore, 29-31 July 1990, the basic principles for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which emerged therefrom, and the process of consultations and cooperation evolving among the participating Asia-Pacific economies;
the important contribution made by the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the pioneer role played by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (PECC) in fostering closer regional links and dialogue;
the important role played by the GATT in fostering a healthy and open multilateral trading system, in reducing barriers to trade and in eliminating discriminatory treatment in international commerce;
that Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation should serve as an exemplary model of open regional cooperation;
Do hereby declare as follows:
  1. The objectives of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as APEC) will be:
    1. to sustain the growth and development of the region for the common good of its peoples and, in this way, to contribute to the growth and development of the world economy;
    2. to enhance the positive gains, both for the region and the world economy, resulting from increasing economic interdependence, including by encouraging the flow of goods, services, capital and technology;
    3. to develop and strengthen the open multilateral trading system in the interest of Asia-Pacific and all other economies:
    4. to reduce barriers to trade in goods and services and investment among participants in a manner consistent with GATT principles, where applicable, and without detriment to other economies.
  1. APEC will focus on those economic areas where there is scope to advance common interests and achieve mutual benefits, including through:
    1. exchange of information and consultation on policies and developments relevant to the common efforts of APEC economies to sustain growth, promote adjustment and reduce economic disparities;
    2. development of strategies to reduce impediments to the flow of goods and services and investment world-wide and within the region;
    3. promotion of regional trade, investment, financial resource flows, human resources development, technology transfer, industrial cooperation and infrastructure development;
    4. cooperation in specific sectors such as energy, environment, fisheries, tourism, transportation and telecommunications.
  2. In each of these fields, APEC will seek-
    1. to improve the identification and definition of the region's common interests and, where appropriate, to project these interests in multilateral forums such as the GAIT;
    2. to improve the understanding of the policy concerns, interests and experiences of economic partners, particularly of their international implications, and to help promote consistency in policy making in appropriate areas;
    3. to develop practical programs of economic cooperation to contribute to economic dynamism and improved living standards throughout the region;
    4. to enhance and promote the role of the private sector and the application of free market principles in maximising the benefits of regional cooperation.
  1. Cooperation will be based on:
    1. the principle of mutual benefit, taking into account the differences in the stages of economic development and in the socio-political systems, and giving due consideration to the needs of developing economies; and
    2. a commitment to open dialogue and consensus-building, with equal respect for the views of all participants.
    3. APEC will operate through a process of consultation and exchange of views among high-level representatives of APEC economies, drawing upon research, analysis and policy ideas contributed by participating economies and other relevant organisations including the ASEAN and the South Pacific Forum (SPF) Secretariats and the PECC.
    4. Recognising the important contribution of the private sector to the dynamism of APEC economies, APEC welcomes and encourages active private sector participation in appropriate APEC activities.
  1. Participation in APEC will be open, in principle, to those economies in the Asia-Pacific region which:
    1. have strong economic linkages in the Asia-Pacific region; and
    2. accept the objectives and principles of APEC as embodied in this Declaration.
    3. Decisions regarding future participation in APEC will be made on the basis of a consensus of all existing participants.
    4. Non-participant economies or organisations may be invited to the meetings of APEC upon such terms and conditions as may be determined by all existing participants.
  1. A ministerial meeting of APEC participants will be held annually to determine the direction and nature of APEC activities within the framework of this Declaration and decide on arrangements for implementation. Participants who wish to host ministerial meetings will have the opportunity to do so, with the host in each case providing the chairman of the meeting.
  2. Additional ministerial meetings may be convened as necessary to deal with specific issues of common interest.
  3. Responsibility for developing the APEC process in accord with the decisions of the ministerial meetings and the work program determined at those meetings will lie with a senior officials' meeting of representatives from each participant. The senior officials' meeting will be chaired by a representative of the host of the subsequent annual ministerial meeting, and will make necessary preparations for that meeting.
  4. Each project on the work program will be pursued by a working group composed of representatives from participants, coordinated by one or more participants. The working groups will identify specific areas of cooperation and policy options relating to each project.
  1. Recognising the ongoing and dynamic nature of the APEC process, APEC will retain the flexibility to evolve in line with the changes in regional economic circumstances and the global economic environment and in response to the economic policy challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region.