The review process involved presentations by the independent experts at a meeting of Member Economies, including a presentation by Daniel Schwanen.

ACN News

Canberra, Australia, Jan 17, 2007 - (ACN Newswire) - An independent report has found that Australia is on target to achieve its APEC goals of free trade and investment.

The 'Study Report on Australia's Individual Action Plan (IAP)' to achieve its APEC goals was prepared by Akira Kohsaka, Professor of Economics from Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, Japan, and Daniel Schwanen, Director of Research, from the Center for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The study was carried out in late 2006 and involved a broad-based evaluation of Australia's trade and economic policies with a view to assessing the likelihood of Australia reaching its APEC 'Bogor Goals' target. (The 1994 APEC Bogor Goals set a target of free and open trade for industrialized economies by 2010 and developing economies by 2020.)

Citing Australia's 15th consecutive year of uninterrupted economic expansion, which is the longest in Australia's history, the report stated: "Australia has made steady progress in trade liberalization and facilitation and it will be able to achieve the Bogor Goals."

The report notes the gains that have been made during the global resources boom and Australia's investment in domestic infrastructure. It concludes that: "Australia is successfully closing the productivity gap with other advanced economies thanks to its broad structural reforms in recent decades, the reform programs correctly continue to be implemented in export infrastructure, land transportation and electricity, and water."

In such areas as Tariffs, Non-tariff measures, Services, and Investment the report noted that: "Australia has implemented autonomous liberalization beyond its Uruguay Round commitments so that it will reach the Bogor target by 2010 with continued efforts along the same lines.

As regards trade facilitation, the report found that: "Australia has been taking a strong initiative in implementing collective action plans in Business Mobility and Customs Procedures.

"It has faithfully attained improvements in Standards and Conformance and Intellectual Property Rights. Australia has gone beyond many other APEC members in arranging and implementing competition policy and deregulation."

All APEC Member Economies implement IAPs to guide them in their efforts to achieve APEC's Bogor Goals. The IAP review process program provides each Member Economy with the opportunity to have their progress towards APEC's goals assessed by their peers. The review by the Independent Experts assists Member Economies in this process.

Four APEC Member Economies are having their IAPs' reviewed at the current round of APEC meetings in Canberra. This process involves a presentation by the Independent Experts to a meeting of Member Economies, followed by an opportunity for these economies to question the economy under review on the details of their IAP.

About APEC:

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC is the only inter governmental grouping in the world operating on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

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