Last update: 16:42 | 14/10/2017
Bogor Goals help APEC economies take off
In 1994, at the 2nd APEC Summit, APEC Economic Leaders met in Bogor, Indonesia, and jointly resolved to pursue the goal of liberalization of trade and commerce in 2010 for developed members and by 2020 for developing members.
Since then, the Bogor Goals have been a target for APEC members to steadfastly pursue economic development goals through open trade and facilitating investment flows in the region. In all APEC Summits since then, members stressed the importance of accomplishing these goals.
According to APEC's "Mid-term Review Report on Progress in Achieving Bogor Goals" announced by APEC in 2016, APEC's current levels of trade and investment liberalization and market opening have far surpassed The Bogor goal.
In terms of market access, the average annual growth rate of commodity trade from 1994 to 2014 was 7.8%, reaching $18.4 trillion in 2014. Intra-regional trade quadrupled during this period. Average MFN tariffs in the APEC region dropped by half from 11% in 1996 to 5.5% in 2014. The number of commodity lines enjoying zero tax rate in APEC increased from 27.3% in 1996 to at 45.4% in 2014.
The high level of openness in trade and investment, as well as the emphasis on trade facilitation, has made APEC one of the most dynamic regions in the world, making significant contributions for the common prosperity of the region, to poverty reduction, creating more jobs for the people.
APEC's deepening liberalization is reflected in the rapid increase of free trade agreement (FTAs) and regional trade agreements (RTAs). Between 1996 and 2015, the number of FTAs and RTAs implemented in APEC increased from 22 to 152, with 61 agreements signed between APEC members.
In addition, APEC is considered a nursery of ideas on integration associated with development. APEC is seen as a place for member economies to experiment, and foster ideas of liberalization, even the thorny content that faces obstacles in multilateral frameworks.
These are evidence for the role of the Bogor goals as an inspirational factor that brings APEC to its current place and prestige in the world.
It's hard, but there's a way out
However, in the context of the current global economic turmoil, we see immediately the challenges that have hindered the completion of the Bogor Goals, such as the hard recovery of the world economy, the slowdown in trade, and the rise of protectionism.
With APEC's economic growth rising, the poverty rate has fallen but the unemployment rate has risen since the global financial crisis, at 4.8% in 2014. This has sparked a trend of anti-globalization while skepticism about the benefits of free trade is rising.
Therefore, APEC must strengthen cooperation in order to have green growth, to be more environmentally friendly, have more quality and be more creative. APEC linkages and integration must be stronger and more comprehensive, which is a matter of reform.
The way to open up and remove barriers to trade and investment should be more appropriate to new changes and standards, and the issues of cooperation and standards of connectivity must be taken into account.
In the long run, it can be seen that, with the 4th industrial revolution in many countries with aging population, many other population groups are more vulnerable and the income gap has increased.
Thus, APEC needs to consider investment and trade liberalization to be able to reach the Bogor Goals. At the same time, it must adapt to new trends such as technology, climate change, the role of major countries, international institutions, urbanization, and labor mobility.
As the host of the APEC 2017, Vietnam continues to put "the acceleration of the completion of the Bogor Goals" as one of the important priorities in APEC's agenda this year.
Vietnam actively cooperates with others APEC members in implementing initiatives to address existing barriers set out in the "Mid-term Review Report on Bogor Goals," aiming at successful implementation of the Bogor Goals by 2020.
This will be an important foundation for APEC to build and shape the future of cooperation after 2020, focusing on broader goals of trade and investment liberalization, to better address the challenges that the new contexts have been set, such as sustainable growth, coverage, innovation, e-commerce ...
Looking back on the APEC journey, observers have asserted that it is time for the region to prepare for the post-Bogor 2020 vision, which centers on linkage and integration, trade investment and services liberalization, associated with the requirements of sustainable development.