Seizing the Moment: APEC 2010 and 2011
A Public Forum Hosted by
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation
The Australian National University
October 1, 2009
Introductory Remarks: Kunio Kojima, President, Keizai Doyukai
Panel I: Prospects for APEC’s Core Agenda
Moderator: Peter Drysdale, Emeritus Professor of Economics, The Australian National University
Kazumasa Iwata, President, Japanese Cabinet Office’s Economic and Social Research Institute
Hadi Soesastro, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kurt Tong, U.S. Senior Official for APEC
Ric Wells, Australian Ambassador for APEC
Panel II: Beyond Trade: APEC’s Role in Regional Cooperation on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Inclusive Growth and Other Areas
Moderator: Christopher LaFleur, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation Board of Directors & Vice Chairman, J.P. Morgan Securities Japan Co., Ltd.
Takashi Omori, Chair of the Economic Committee at APEC and Policy Advisor to the Japanese Cabinet Office
Soogil Young, Chairman, Korea National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (KOPEC) and President, National Strategy Institute for Korea
Christopher Findlay, Head of School and Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide
Yiping Huang, Professor of Economics, Peking University and The Australian National University
Closing Remarks: Charles Lake, Vice Chairman, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation & Chairman, Aflac Japan
Summary of Remarks
Introductory remarks by Keizai Doyukai President Kunio Kojima highlighted the importance of the Asia Pacific region to Japan. Looking forward, the expansion of ties between countries in the region is expected to foster closer, mutually beneficial free trade relationships. With the United States and Japan hosting consecutive APEC Summits in 2010 and 2011, there are opportunities for APEC to become a new model of global governance and serve as a forum for lively exchanges of ideas.
Panel I: Prospects for APEC’s Core Agenda
The first panel focused its discussion on APEC’s objectives and strategic agenda. The first panelist, Dr. Kazumasa Iwata, from the Cabinet Office’s Economic and Social Research Institute, discussed the growth and development strategies of the Asia Pacific region. For example, he demonstrated the relationship between population cycles and productivity, and outlined challenges that may be faced by regional states in the years to come. He also highlighted the importance of including developing countries when tackling issues such as climate change by pointing out that doing so allows the necessary measures to become more affordable (bearable) to developed countries.
The second panelist, Dr. Hadi Soesastro, Senior Fellow, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, took a look at how the core APEC agenda was defined in the early 1980s, how it has evolved, and how it can be brought further along. While APEC faces numerous challenges to accomplishing its agenda, the upcoming summits in the United States and Japan are expected to provide opportunities for closer regional cooperation. Dr. Soeasastro noted that while APEC has made progress on its strategic agenda (i.e., creating a region of order, providing opportunities for meaningful regional engagement, building a community (identity) in the region, and shaping the international economic regime), many opportunities remain for progress to be made on its broad cooperation agenda. This is particularly possible if India is included, since APEC would then include half of all G-20 nations. Looking forward, he stated, APEC’s agenda should be revised and improved to work toward the broad goal of economic and regional cooperation.
The third panelist, U.S. Senior Official for APEC Kurt Tong, discussed the prospects for U.S.-Japan cooperation in APEC. He referred to the consecutive summits as a “one-two punch,” highlighting the United States’ intention to work together with Japan to ensure both years are a success. He also noted that President Obama has outlined the importance of a collective response to APEC. Looking forward, he stated that the APEC agenda is linked to the recovery of the global economy. In this context it is important to avoid protectionist measures, improve corporate governance, and keep APEC at the front of efforts for regional economic integration. To do so, APEC should take action on issues such as barriers to integration, transparency, and issues beyond trade such as economic security. He also noted the importance of inclusive growth and called attention to President Obama’s planned agenda at the Singapore Summit, where he is expected to reinforce the strong ties between the United States and Japan, an opportunity he says will clearly demonstrate the closeness of the U.S.-Japan relationship.
The final panelist, Australian Ambassador for APEC Ric Wells, called to attention the importance of context (the global financial crisis) when considering APEC’s agenda of regional economic cooperation. He noted that as unemployment continues to grow it may become more difficult for APEC to maintain a strong anti-protectionist voice, despite the success of member countries’ efforts so far. He also pointed out that APEC is capable of taking measures to meet G-20 goals, and noted that the consecutive hosting of the APEC Summit presents a powerful front to meeting APEC’s core agenda.
Panel I addressed “Prospects for APEC’s Core Agenda”
U.S. Senior Official for APEC Kurt Tong discussed the prospects for U.S.-Japan cooperation in APEC.
Panel II: Beyond Trade: APEC’s role in Regional Cooperation on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Inclusive Growth and Other Areas
The second panel focused on APEC’s non-core agenda, including issues such as terrorism, North Korea’s weapons program, disease, climate change, and corruption. In many cases items on this agenda are more visible to the public and more prominent in news sources.
The first panelist, Takashi Omori, Chair of the Economic Committee at APEC and Policy Advisor to the Japanese Cabinet Office, touched on a number of key elements of the APEC economic community. One of these issues was inclusive growth, a recurring topic in APEC discussions. This concept is expected to be a dominant part of the future APEC agenda, but the concept itself is yet to be clearly developed. In his remarks Dr. Omori highlighted three points: broad access to opportunities; domestic demand-led growth shifts; and social safety nets that should be included in the inclusive growth concept.
The second panelist, Soogil Young, Chairman, Korea National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (KOPEC) and President, National Strategy Institute for Korea, discussed international efforts to take on climate change. In his remarks he noted that he expects an international agreement on climate change by late 2009 or 2010 by the latest. Like Dr. Iwata, he also stressed the importance of an international approach to combating climate change. Dr. Young concluded his remarks by highlighting Korean President Lee Myun-bak’s “Green New Deal,” an investment estimated to equal two percent of Korea’s GDP.
The third panelist, Christopher Findlay, Head of School and Professor of Economics, University of Adelaide, focused his conversation on a range of issues in which APEC can play a large role in facilitating progress. One of the major concepts he discussed was inclusive growth. Looking at the regulatory changes being made on a domestic level in APEC member countries, it is evident that these measures are as important internationally as they are domestically. While one solution will not be the answer to all regulatory challenges, APEC is well equipped to help countries refine their measures to eventually evolve into global best practices. Looking forward, Dr. Findlay stated that he thinks there will be a dynamic extension of reform and hopes this will encompass both foreign and domestic business.
The final panelist, Yiping Huang, professor of economics at Peking University and the Australian National University, discussed trans-Pacific issues and recent changes to the Chinese economy. First, Dr. Huang noted that domestic structural reforms remain necessary in both the United States (i.e., fiscal deficit, savings rate) and China (i.e., consumption). While there has been a drop in China’s current account surplus, the effects of the financial crisis have made it difficult to predict what the post-crisis landscape will look like. On the recent changes in China’s economy, Dr. Huang pointed out the progress that was made in liberalizing China’s goods market and cited China’s desire for high growth and low production costs as two reasons that other markets have not been liberalized as well. In concluding his remarks, Dr. Huang called for China to liberalize the rest of its markets and noted his hope that APEC will be able to assist in doing so.
Panel II addressed APEC’s role in regional cooperation on issues including climate change, and sustainable development.
Yiping Huang (Peking University) and Christopher Findlay (University of Adelaide) contributed to the discussion on APEC’s non-core agenda
In his closing remarks, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation Vice Chairman CharlesLake ensured that APEC will continue to be “the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment” in the region. With Singapore hosting the 2009 APEC Summit and Japan and the United States hosting in 2010 and 2011, this public forum, he stated, was intended to assess APEC’s progress to date and forge a strategy for the coming years. The Mansfield Foundation remains committed to playing a constructive role in promoting better understanding between the United States and Asia, and in supporting initiatives designed to strengthen APEC.
Charles Lake (Vice Chairman, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, and Chairman, Aflac Japan) presented closing remarks.