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A New Look at the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP): Review of APEC’s Collective Progress

COVER_224_PSU_A New Look at the FTAAP
Published Date May 2024
Type of Publication Reports
Publication Under APEC Secretariat, APEC Policy Support Unit
Accessed 232
Pages 23
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Description

The Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is a concept initially proposed by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in 2004. Two years later, APEC Economic Leaders acknowledged that it merits serious consideration as a long-term prospect. Since then, APEC has been actively initiating and implementing various initiatives meant to advance the FTAAP agenda.

This document reviews APEC economies’ collective progress moving forward the FTAAP agenda consistent with APEC Economic Leaders’ and Ministers’ instructions. In the view of the APEC Policy Support Unit, APEC economies have continuously undertaken various initiatives that have gradually advanced the FTAAP agenda. This includes capacity building activities, the exploration of next generation trade and investment issues, and information sharing about topics related to regional trade agreements and free trade agreements. Several work programs have also contributed to this progress.

Despite these progressions, more work can be done to push forward the FTAAP agenda by identifying and addressing policy gaps. For instance, APEC can strengthen its financial support of capacity building activities, especially those that address less attended areas; encourage more activities that collaborate with not only other APEC fora and sub-fora but also external partner institutions; and consider practical approaches, such as mutual recognition agreements and pathfinder initiatives where APEC economies could gradually join as they become ready to implement.