The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a 21-nation club of primarily industrialized or emerging economies. It was conceived in 1996, just as free-market deregulations and trade liberalizations were fostering economic advantages to industrialized nations, when there first emerged a greater consolidation of corporate power across nations, creating international legally binding policies that asserted less government regulations by weakening the labor force and dismantling environmental protections.
APEC member economies include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam.
APEC’s 21 member economies today account for 55 percent of global GDP, purchase 58 percent of U.S. goods exports, and comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers. Seven of America’s top 15 trade partners are in APEC.
Proponents for APEC-related globalization efforts claim that by increasing international trade, it promotes diversity and multiculturalism, benefiting the third world by raising living standards and promoting democracy.
A major area of concern for activists is the negotiation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Nine APEC countries, but not the full 21 members, are in negotiations over this trade treaty. The nine countries are the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Peru, Malaysia, Chile, and Brunei. China and Japan are currently considering signing the TPPA.
From November 9-11, running concurrent with the 2011 APEC meeting in Honolulu, a group of activists is a counter-conference called Moana Nui. Notable scholars and activists such as Walden Bello from the Philippines, Jane Kelsey from New Zealand, and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen along with cultural practitioners from across the Pacific will discuss alternatives to corporate-led globalization.
For information on Moana Nui, visit moananui2011.org.