Australian National University (ANU)
Some of the foundations of APEC were laid more than 40 years ago. By 1989, the careful consensus building, based on the achievements of ASEAN and PECC made it possible to consider an inter-governmental forum. In September of that year, I saw Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation spelled out on a hotel events sign for the very first time as I walked into the room to chair the inaugural meeting of APEC Senior Officials.
Thanks to excellent cooperation from the representatives of 12 economies, we were able to negotiate an annotated agenda at the dizzying speed (I calculated later) of only 3 minutes per word. The road to the first ministerial-level meeting in Canberra was clear and APEC was launched.
PECC, a tripartite pre-cursor to APEC, had set out a rich agenda of issues to be considered by Asia Pacific governments, especially the region’s strong shared interest in an open non-discriminatory international trading system. Indeed, the first 25 years of the APEC processhave been dominated by trade policy to attain theBogor goal of free and open trade and investment.