Australia And APEC
When the ‘Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation" (APEC) was established in 1989
in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, its
goal was to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community. When
the cooperation was established, there were 12 founding member economies, namely

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea,

Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the

United States. Since then there has been more countries/economies joining APEC.

APEC has come a long way since 1989. It has built steadily on the efforts of the
past and looks forward to further positive progress. The initial years of APEC
were focused largely on exchange of views and project based initiatives. As
needs of the member economies has evolved into a forum of higher purpose: to
build the Asia-Pacific community through achieving economic growth and
development through trade and economic cooperation. In the Osaka meeting in

1994, APEC leaders adopted the Osaka Action Agenda, which firmly established
three pillars of APEC activities: Trade and investment liberalization, business
facilitation and economic-technical cooperation. Its main objective is to
develop a region-wide, free trade and investment regime by the year 2000. APEC
operates by consensus. In 1991, members committed themselves to conducting their
activities and work programs on the basis of open dialogue with equal respect
for the views of all participants. The APEC chair, which rotates annually among
members, is responsible for hosting the annual ministerial meeting of foreign
and economic ministers. At the 1989 Canberra Ministerial Meeting, it was agreed
that it would be appropriate that every alternative ministerial meeting be held
in an ASEAN economy/country. Senior Official Meeting (SOM) are held regularly
prior to every ministerial meeting. APEC senior officials make recommendations
to the ministers and carry out their decisions. They oversee and coordinate,
with approval from Ministers, the budgets and work programs of the APEC for a.

Mr. Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, said Australia’s

IAP (Individual Action Plan) would address the main trade liberalization issues
of tariffs, non- tariffs, investment and services, although the 1996 IAP would
not pre-judge the outcomes of the existing and previously announced reviews into
the passenger motor vehicle, textile clothing and footwear and sugar sectors.

Other elements of the IAP deal wit the important trade facilitation issues such
as standards and customs procedures, intellectual property rights, competition
policy, and mobility of business people and deregulation. "Australia’s plan
is fully consistent with the general principals of the Osaka Action Agenda
agreed by that leaders in November 1995, including comprehensives," Mr.

Fischer said. "Australia’s done a great deal to liberalize our market
consistent with APEC goals, and we expect others to match our record. The
government will pursue vigorously Australian trade and investment priorities
within APEC," Mr. Fischer stated. Australia’s IAP address the objectives and
guidelines of the Osaka Action Plan in a comprehensive manner: Tariffs

Australia’s IAP includes reduction in applied tariffs to the year 2000. Table:

Tariff Reductions in the APEC region Simple Average Applied Tariff 1988 1993

1997 Australia * 15.6 7.0 5.3 Brunei 3.9 3.9 2.0 Canada (*) 3.7 2.4 1.3^ Chile

19.9 11 11 China 39.5 37.5 17 Hong Kong 0 0 0 Indonesia 18.1 17 11.7 Japan * 4.3

3.4 4.6 Korea 19.2 11.6 7.9^ Malaysia 13.6 12.8 7.8^ Mexico * 10.5 12.6 9.8^ New

Zealand 14.9 8.5 5.2 PNG NA NA 23^ Philippines 27.9 23.5 12.1 Singapore 0.3 0.4

0 Chinese Taipei 12.6 8.9 8.6 Thailand 31.2 37.8 17 United States (*) 4.2 4.2

3.4^ Note: Does not include calculation of non-ad valorum tariffs 

Indicates trade-weighted advantage  ^1996 data Source:

Australia’s applied simple tariff has fallen from 15.6% in 1998 to 6.1% in

1996 and will reduce further to 4.5% by the year 2000. Australia is also hoping
to have tariffs reduced to zero in numerous sectors of our economy by the year

2000. Sectors Selected for Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalism Sector EVSL

Proposal Toys Progressive reduction to zero of tariffs on toys, preferably by

2000. Elimination of unjustified non-tariff barriers. Economic and technical
cooperation Gems and jewelry Elimination of trade-restrictive measures on these
products (phased out by 2005), which include pearls, diamonds, silver, gold,
platinum, jewelry, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares. Environmental Goods
and Services Elimination of tariffs by 2003 on environmental goods and
liberalization of environmental services. Work on non-tariffs barriers. Economic
and technical cooperation. Food Further impetus to trade facilitation work on
food. Studies on market prospects on sugar, processed food. Tariff
liberalization by 2004 for fruit and vegetables, processed food and beverages.

Energy Removal of tariffs on coal, gas, electricity, and energy related
equipment by 2004. Work on non-tariff measures, services,