Essay Title: 

Trade and Enviroment in Asia-Pacific: Prospects for Regional Cooperation

March 26, 2016 | Author: | Posted in mathematics and economics, trade


Prospects for Regional Cooperation


United we stand , divided we fall

Even though it is a prerogative for a country to protect its sovereignty , it is inevitable for it to create a mutually beneficial relationship with its neighboring countries . The independence of a nation gives it the authority to control all the resources that are within its territory for purposes that it deems rational . It is authorized to devise mechanisms by which it can maximize the endowments that are within its boundaries . But then [banner_entry_middle]

, it must face the reality that there is a greater opportunity for it to achieve development if it will utilize the possibilities offered by cooperating with other countries

Such is particularly applicable for every member nation of the Asia Pacific Region . The Asia Pacific Region includes Cambodia , China , Fiji Indonesia , Japan , Kiribati , Korea , People ‘s Democratic Republic of Lao (Lao PDR , Malaysia , Marshall Islands , FS Micronesia , Mongolia , Palau Papua New Guinea , Philippines , Samoa , Solomon Islands , Thailand Timor-Leste , Tonga , Vanuatu , and Vietnam . Each of these countries has its own pool of assets and capabilities that if shared within the region , will lead to the improvement of Asia Pacific and the individual nations as well

Trade and environment , as will be discussed here , are two of the possible areas that can strengthen the relationship among the countries within this region . The vast developmental opportunities that trade offers and the overwhelmingly societal improvements that a well-maintained environment promises necessitate the unity of each and every country within the Asia Pacific Region

Trade in the Asia Pacific Region

The concept of trade is not actually new to mankind . It has been practiced by human beings even in early civilizations when `messengers from one group were sent to another group to deliver gifts from their masters or leaders in exchange for a certain favor or another good Mutually beneficial relationships between early civilizations were established to promote friendship and enable one another to share produce

In the advent of the economic study , the theory of trade gained particular attention as economists realized the promise of trade to enable a country to develop beyond its production frontier . Great scholars such as Adam Smith , John Maynard Keynes , and Michael Porter have analyzed the behavior of countries ‘ economies and have devised mechanisms through which a country may maximize the potential of its resources through trade . According to economics , a country will benefit most from trade if it will focus on the economic sector wherein it has the least cost among the other nations , or the country ‘s so called competitive advantage . Since the country can offer the product (goods or services ) at a lower price , other countries will tend to discontinue producing that product , resort to importation and devote their resources to other economic sectors of their own competitive advantage

Countries , however , need to protect the interests of its civilians and have imposed certain trade barriers that , to some extent , hampered the exploitation of each country ‘s competitive advantage . The imposition of trade barriers allows small and medium scale local producers to earn a market share and survive even in the era of globalization . Tariffs and quotas , among the trade barriers , reduce the capability of foreign countries to export products and kill the local industry

Those countries that were able to advance ahead of the others through trade and other methodology are now what we know as the developed or industrialized countries . These countries were also able to grasp a certain level of control over the other less developed countries . In fact , the developed countries nowadays do not only maximize their competitive advantage , but creates it as well . Through technology , it is able to improve the processes involved in production and hence , incur lower costs than developing countries . As such , the higher-end products are those that are provided by developed countries and sold at their quoted price to the developing countries . While developing countries produce those that developed countries need , particularly raw materials and agricultural products , for the price influenced by the developed countries

This economic situation may be referred to as discrimination and results in the exponential growth of developed countries and the sluggish growth , if not stagnant , in the economy of developing countries . In the Asia Pacific Region , developed countries include Japan , China and Singapore . These three nations are evidently prospering because of their respective capabilities . While Laos , Cambodia and other developing countries are barely sustaining the basic necessities of their citizens and hardly achieving a percentage growth in their economy

International economic policy has traditionally not shown much interest in improving the lives of the world ‘s poorest people . Trade agreements between wealthy countries can push struggling nations out of the competition through their system of tariffs and subsidies ( World Vision

Large global corporations , often operating in more than one country have the power to drive hard bargains on raw goods and labour . Pushing the price down on manufacturing increases the net profit , which is removed from the local economy into private pockets .While poor governments complain that they are powerless against multinational economic decisions , they don ‘t always take the needs of their people into consideration either . When improved economic opportunities are not passed on to all , through better education , healthcare and social services , the division between rich and poor actually grows ( World Vision

Emerging economic empires India and China have between them 2 .3 billion people . Around 1 .5 bilion of them live below the poverty line according to the World Bank . Opportunities for children are closely linked to their country ‘s finances – the 1998 economic crisis in Southeast Asia saw school attendance plummet and a marked increase in child labour Both India and China , touted as the new economic empires of Asia , are facing major challenges in sharing fairly the benefits of their new-found riches ( World Vision

It ‘s vital for poor communities to have involvement in their own financial stability , and this can be made possible through micro-economics , including micro-enterprise development , or MED .A small loan and some training can help a family to start a successful small business in a commodity or service that is needed locally .Farming or handcraft co-operatives can build the power to trade at competitive prices , while retaining the profits for the benefit of their local community . As well as advocating at government and international level for greater and fairer spending on programs to alleviate poverty , World Vision works with communities throughout Asia to assist them towards economic self-sufficiency ( World Vision

Another detrimental impact of trade is the alarming abuse of the environment in to give way to liberalization . The recent rapid growth in Asia ‘s trade and the degradation of its environment , together with discussions in international for such as the World Trade Organization , has highlighted the linkages between the region ‘s trade and environment

Trade policy is a relatively inefficient method of achieving environmental objectives but is one of the few peaceful means of influencing the environment in other countries , which may affect the domestic environment or industrial competitiveness . Similarly environmental policies often have implications for international trade In particular , there are widespread concerns that environmental instruments such as product standards may be used as protectionist measures . Trade liberalization , new international production standards and international cooperation efforts will all influence , and be influenced by the linkages between trade and the environment (Challenges for Asia ‘s Trade and Environment . Douglas H . Brooks Economics and Development Resource Center . January 1998 . HYPERLINK “http /www .adb .org /Documents /EDRC /Staff_s /ESP057 .pdf search ‘envir onmental 20effects 20of 20trade 20in 20asia 20pacific 20region http /www .adb .org /Documents /EDRC /Staff_s /ESP057 .pdf search ‘enviro nmental 20effects 20of 20trade 20in 20asia 20pacific 20region

Environmental Problems in the Asia Pacific Region

Key Environmental Issues Confronting the Asia-Pacific

Land Land Degradation


Land Use Change

Forests Forest Degradation


Biodiversity Habitat loss

Forest loss and Degradation

Alien Species

Freshwater Water Scarcity


Coastal and Marine Degradation of coastal and marine resources

Pollution due to mining and coastal development

Atmosphere Air quality

Ozone depletion

Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change

Urban areas Air Pollution

Waste management

Water supply and sanitation

Disasters Floods




Source : Global Environmental Outlook , 2003 , London and Sterling , VA , US UNEP

Land Degradation

Land degradation problems of particular concern in Asia and the Pacific include erosion , compaction , acidification , declining soil and organic matter , weed infestation , soil fertility depletion and biological degradation . Oldeman (1994 ) estimates that about 13 (or 85 million ha of the land in Asia and the Pacific is degraded . Most of this is in Asia but it is estimated that 104 million ha were degraded in the Pacific sub-region where large-scale clearance of forestland has caused a decline in soil structure and fertility and where invasive species are the predominant land cover on many islands . The most severe water erosion occurs in the China , the South Pacific and Australia and wind erosion affects India most severely

Chemical soil degradation is mainly caused by agricultural mismanagement . In parts of northern India and Bangladesh , soils have acidified and salinized , and have been losing nutrients . Large tracts of land in Cambodia , Malaysia , Thailand and Vietnam have been degraded by acid sulphates . Poor soil nutrient balances (between phosphorus nitrogen and potassium ) are common in Australia , Bangladesh , Nepal Pakistan and Sri Lanka

Saline soils cover 60 million ha of agricultural land in the region and Australia in particular is facing severe land salinization problems Excessive extraction from groundwater and surface water resources , and rising water tables brought about by faulty irrigation systems , have increased the occurrence of surface water and soil salinity . Serious soil contamination affects the northern part of the region , Australia and New Zealand . The contaminants include cadmium (contained in fertilizer , hexavalent chromium , lead , arsenic , trichloroethylene tetrachloroethylene and dioxine concentrates . Health issues from these contaminants are common . The major soil polluters in the region are now the chemical and electroplating industries in Japan and South Korea Heavy metals are also present in agricultural land (as a result of fertilizer application ) and near mines and refineries (due to chemical discharges . Soil contamination from lead and arsenic contamination is prevalent throughout South and Southeast Asia . Irrigation with untreated effluent has also caused contamination and soil acidifaction in many areas in Mongolia , for instance , waste disposal and wastewater discharges are the principal causes of soil contamination (UNDP 2000

In addition , the stress on soil for cultivation is quite severe in South and South-east

Asia . Another major factor contributing toward land degradation in the Asia-Pacific region is the extent of land utilization

The densely populated region of South Asia uses more than one-third of its underpricing of resources and subsidization of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers have played a part in maintaining pressure on land . A major policy failure leading to land degradation is insecure land tenure although in some cases fragmentation of holdings has increased to such an extent that there is over-exploitation of land holdings

A related problem is that of desertification . Of the 1977 million ha of drylands in Asia more than half are affected by desertification (UNCCD 1998


Land degradation problems are directly related to land-use practices particularly agricultural expansion and intensification . In Thailand for example , forest cover has declined from 56 to 24 of between 1965 and 1997 . In Japan arable land has been converted to residential use

Deforestation and degradation are critical issues threatening biodiversity , ecosystem stability and the long-term availability of forest products as well as depleting the natural resource base underpinning many national economies (UNESCAP and ADB 2000 . Population pressure , heavy dependence on fuelwood , timber and other products , as well as the conversion of forests to agricultural , urban and industrial land are the underlying factors for deforestation in the region . Lack of properly defined property rights have led to overgrazing , and shifting cultivation . In addition , as forests have become degraded , so fire pests , disease and natural disasters have caused greater damage

More than 40 (and the highest diversity ) of the world ‘s mangroves grow along the coasts of South and Southeast Asia . A further 10 grow in the Pacific . More than 60 (some 11 million ha ) of Asia ‘s mangroves have already been converted to aquaculture and more have been cleared to make way for rice farming or urban and industrial land use . Those that remain are exploited for timber , fuelwood , tannin and food items (UNESCAP and ADB 2000 . The depletion of forests for fuelwood is common in South Asia . Fires are a major cause in Southeast Asia as is commercial logging . In the Pacific islands commercial logging is also a problem

Species diversity in the region is extremely high . Indonesia is thought to support more species , with more endemic species than any other country in the world , closely followed by several others including Australia and China . Deforestation is adding to loss of biodiversity Major river systems are drying , groundwater is increasingly overexploited and pollution is a major concern (Fuggle and Smith 2000 as a result biodiversity impacts are likely to be substantial . Analysis of the World Commission on Dams (WCD 2000 ) has shown that the environmental , hydrological and economic arguments used to support dam construction are often flawed


The Asia-Pacific region accounts for about 36 of the global run-off Even so , water scarcity and pollution are key issues and the region has the lowest per capita availability of freshwater : renewable water resources amounted to about 3690m3 per capita /year in mid- 1999 for the 30 largest countries in the region (WRI 2000 . In absolute terms , China India and Indonesia have the largest water resources , more than one-half of the region ‘s India , Pakistan and Korea already suffer from water scarcity or water stress . More will do so as populations and consumption increase Agriculture is the biggest consumer (86 , with smaller amounts going to industry (8 ) and domestic use (6 (UNDP 2000

Over the years , water pollution has emerged as a major issue . Pollutants include pathogens , organic matter , nutrients , heavy metals and toxic chemicals , sediments and suspended solids , silt and salts . South Asia – particularly India – and Southeast Asia are facing severe water pollution problems . Rivers such as the Yellow River (China , the Ganga (India ) and Amu and Syr Darya (Central Asia ) top the list of the world ‘s most polluted rivers (World Commission on Water 1999 . In cities in the developing countries of the region , most water bodies are now heavily polluted with domestic sewage , industrial effluents , chemicals and solid waste

Water pollution has affected human health . In the Pacific Islands especially in some atoll communities , use of polluted groundwater for drinking and cooking has led to health problems such as diarrhoea hepatitis , and occasional breaks of typhoid and cholera . Groundwater in districts of West Bengal , India , and in some villages of Bangladesh , for example , is contaminated with arsenic at levels as much as 70 times higher than the national drinking water standard of 0 .05 mg /litre According to a report , With the majority of the country ‘s 68000 villages potentially at risk , UN scientists estimate that the arsenic may soon be killing 20000 Bangladeshis a year (Pierce 2001

Inadequate water supply and poor sanitation cause more than 500 ,000 infant deaths a year as well as a huge burden of illness and disability in the region (UNEP 1999 . Some 8- 9 of the Life Years (DALYs ) are due to diseases related to inadequate water supply and poor sanitation in India and other countries (World Bank 2000 . Cholera is prevalent in many countries , particularly those where sanitation facilities are poor such as Afghanistan , China and India (WHO 2000

Of the global population without access to improved sanitation or water supply , most live in Asia (WHO and UNICEF 2000 . In South-west Pacific water supply and sanitation appear to be quite good with 93 of the population having access to improved sanitation and 88 to improved water supply . However , these figures are probably biased upwards because of the inclusion of Australia and New Zealand . Only an estimated 48 of the Asian population has sanitation coverage (WHO and UNICEF 2000 ) – less than in any other region of the world . The situation is worse in rural areas , where only 31 of the population have improved sanitation compared to 79 for the urban areas

Coastal and Marine Area Pollution

In the past 30 years , depletion of coastal resources such as fisheries mangroves and coral reefs has emerged as a critical issue in Asia and the Pacific . Urbanization , industrialization and tourism are the major reasons for this . It is estimated that more than 60 of Asia ‘s mangroves have already been converted to aquaculture farms (UNESCAP and ADB 2000 Besides encroaching on mangroves , aquaculture has led to the release of nutrients , pathogens and potentially hazardous chemicals into marine waters . In India , prawn farms have been constructed in low-lying coastal areas , depriving farmers of agricultural land , causing salinization of groundwater in coastal villages and polluting waterways with excess nutrients . Over-exploitation of fish stocks and poor aquaculture practices are of concern n Bangladesh (UNEP 2001 , India (ADB 2000 Pakistan , Sri Lanka , many Pacific Island countries and some other countries

Coral reefs are under stress in many areas , especially those near shallow shelves and dense populations . More than half the world ‘s coral reefs are located in the Pacific Island countries , and large areas are already degraded . The causes range from global , large-scale changes in the ocean environment and global warming , to tourism and recreation high population density and economic development in coastal areas in the past 15 years . Most coral reefs in South Asia were adversely affected by coral bleaching in mid-1998 . Increasing water temperatures and increased levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in seawater have resulted in the widespread death of stony corals throughout the tropics (Wilkinson 2000

Pollution has considerably degraded the coastal and marine environment including estuaries of the region , over the past 30 years . Increased wastes from land-based urban , industrial and agricultural activities as well as from offshore oil and gas exploitation are discharged untreated in the coastal region . The most significant sources of pollution include oil from ships , sewage and other domestic waste , and industrial effluents . The shipping of oil coupled with increased emphasis on offshore oil exploration makes the northern Indian Ocean vulnerable to oil pollution . The enhanced use of agrochemicals on land and discharge of chemicals into seawater is a common problem . An estimated 1800 tonnes of pesticides enter the Bay of Bengal every year (Holmgrem 1994 . The Sea of Japan has high untreated , or partially treated sewage operational leaks , discharge of hydrocarbons and waste dumping , and the Soviet Union dumped nuclear waste for decades . Tourism is another contributory factor . Sediment load in the coastal zone of South Asia is high , mainly as a result of soil erosion caused by poor land-use practices and construction activities . Annually , about 1 .6 billion tonnes of sediment reach the Indian Ocean from rivers flowing through the Indian subcontinent . Coastal erosion is severe in many areas including the Andaman Coast , the Gulf of Thailand , Japan and the Pacific Islands


Air pollution levels in the most populated cities in Asia are among the highest in the world , producing serious human health impacts and affecting aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems . Transport is often a very significant contributor . The other sources include industrial emissions burning of solid and liquid fuels for power generation , and burning of biomass and other fuels such as charcoal for household use . Although the number of cars per capita is relatively low in the Asian developing countries the sharply . During 1975-92 the number of motorized vehicles in Sri Lanka doubled whereas in India the number of cars has been doubling every seven years for the past 30 years (ADB 2000 . Indoor air pollution is often a more severe health hazard than outdoor air pollution . Most rural inhabitants in the region use twigs , grass , dried animal dung , crop residues , wood charcoal and kerosene as household fuels . With inadequate ventilation , this practice results in highly contaminated indoor air Health effects include acute respiratory infection in children chronic obstructive lung disease , adverse pregnancy outcomes and lung cancer in women . Acute respiratory diseases are prevalent in the rural and /or hilly areas of Afghanistan , Bangladesh , Bhutan , India , Nepal , Pakistan and Sri Lanka where indoor air pollution is high

Two particular forms of air pollution – the Asian (atmospheric ) brown cloud and the ozone layer are briefly discussed below

The Asian Brown Cloud

In Spring 1999 scientists working on the project Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX ) discovered a dense brownish pollution haze layer covering most of South and Southeast Asia and the tropical region of the Indian Ocean The researchers tracked the haze over an area of about 10 million km2 and believe it forms over much of the Asian continent . The haze is a mixture of pollutants , mainly soot , sulphates , nitrates , organic particles , fly ash and mineral dust , formed by fossil fuel consumption and rural biomass burning . It reduces the sunlight reaching the tropical Indian Ocean by as much as 10 , with a larger reduction over the Indian subcontinent . Simulations with global climate models indicate that the haze could have major impacts on the monsoon circulation , regional rainfall patterns and vertical temperature pro of the atmosphere (UNEP 2001 . UNEP (2001 ) and Nakicenovic and Swart (2000 ) document that the anthropogenic aerosols released during the atmospheric brown cloud are projected to become the dominant component of anthropogenic aerosols worldwide in the next 25 years

Haze problems are also prevalent in the region due to forest fires in Southeast Asia . The most serious episode occurred in 1997 , when the effects of forest fires in Indonesia extended to neighbouring countries including Brunei Darussalam , Papua New Guinea , Philippines , Singapore and Thailand

Ozone Depletion

Data from Australia and New Zealand show that ultraviolet levels there appear to be rising by about 10 per decade . India and China are the largest regional producers and users of CFCs . The Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol and GEF have been helping the region meet the goals of the Montreal Protocol

Per capita use of commercial energy increased annually by 1 .9 in South Asia and 3 in East Asia and the Pacific during 1980-98 (World Bank 2001 . CO2 is the main anthropogenic greenhouse gas . Methane emissions are also high in South Asia , accounting for almost 50 of the global anthropogenic emission of CH4 . Areas under most threat from climate change include marine ecosystems , coastal systems , human settlements and infrastructure (IPCC 1998 . Countries in the Northwest Pacific and east Asia sub-regions and the Pacific Island countries may be particularly vulnerable to phenomenon such as sea level rise because many of their human settlements and industrial facilities are located in coastal or low-lying areas

Urban Areas

Air pollution is common – particularly in developing country cities In countries such as India , Indonesia , Nepal , Malaysia and Thailand vehicles with two-stroke engines , such as motorcycles and three-wheel taxis , comprise more than half of all motor traffic and pollute heavily Poor maintenance of vehicles , poor fuel quality and poor road conditions also contribute . The burning of biomass such as firewood and agricultural wastes is a further source of air pollution in many poor areas

In Australia and New Zealand there is a high dependence on private motor vehicles which leads not only to the need to clear land for roads but also to increasing emissions of carbon dioxide , lead , zinc and copper

Much of the solid waste generated in urban centres remains uncollected and is either deposited in surface waters and empty lots , or burned in streets . This problem has worsened considerably in the past 30 years

Serious health and environmental problems can be caused by poor waste disposal . In the Pacific Islands freshwater is scarce and solid waste disposal methods that contaminate water are frequently a source of intestinal diseases and ear and eye infection . In India an outbreak of the bubonic plague in1994 was the result of inadequate solid waste disposal

For most cities , providing an adequate and safe supply of water for domestic and industrial uses is a major problem . The sewage system in many major cities still cannot support a high-density urban environment with the result that sewage is often discharged directly to drains or waterways , or disposed of in individual septic tanks that are poorly maintained

Sanitation services are less developed than water supply with 23 of urban residents still lacking adequate sanitation . This is for a sample of 38 Asia-Pacific countries for the year 2000 . Another major urban environmental problem is flooding and land subsidence


About 75 of the world ‘s major natural catastrophes between 1970 and 1997 occurred in the Asia and Pacific region , mostly in poverty-ridden developing countries (UNESCAP and ADB 2000

The highest number of deaths occurred in South Asia (the sub-region with the highest population density and the lowest per capita income ) and the lowest number in Australia and New Zealand (the sub-region with the lowest population density and the highest per capita income

Environmental degradation and change are becoming increasingly important in relation to both the occurrence and impact of natural disasters Deforestation , for example , is now frequently linked to severe flood events and landslides . Overexploitation of water resources has already resulted in sub-regional environmental disasters such as the drying up of the Aral Sea in Central Asia . Most of the countries in the Northwest Pacific and East Asia sub-region and the Pacific Island countries will be particularly vulnerable to climate change and associated sea-level rise because so much human settlements and so much industrial infrastructure are located in coastal or lowland areas

Rapid population growth , urbanization and weak land-use planning are some of the reasons why poor people move to fragile and high risk areas which are more exposed to natural disasters . Moreover , the rapid growth of industries in urban areas has induced rural-urban migration (Alleviating Environmental Degradation in the Asia-Pacific Region :International cooperation and the role of issue-linkage Raghbendra Jha . Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies Australian National University . HYPERLINK “http /rspas .anu .edu .au /economics /publish /s /wp2005 /wp-econ-2005-01 .pdf http /rspas .anu .edu .au /economics /publish /s /wp2005 /wp-econ-2005-01 pdf

The environment every nation in Asia Pacific and that of the region as a whole determines the level and speed of progress that the Asia Pacific region undertakes and will sustain . Every economic decision leads to an environmental cost , the cost of resources that are being depleted in to produce a product . Hence , it is necessary for each nation to implement economic decisions that will be environmentally sustainable and undertake corrective measures to somehow restore its resources . It must work with the other neighbouring countries as the environmental implications of each nation ‘s undertaking will echo within the whole of Asia Pacific Region

Asia Pacific Region ‘s Response to Trade and Environmental Conflicts

These issues , discrimination among nations and the environmental costs of trade , have attracted attention around the world and hence , different organizations were formed aiming to facilitate the flow of products or trade within the Asia Pacific Region and to improve the relationship of the region ‘s country members particularly in environmental issues . Among these organizations are APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation , PECC (Pacific Economic Cooperation Council ) and UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific . The WTO (World Trade Organization ) although not only focused in the status of the region but the whole world as well , plays a significant role in the assisting the member countries of the Asia Pacific Region


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

APEC has 21 members – referred to as “Member Economies ” – which account for approximately 40 of the world ‘s population , approximately 56 of world GDP and about 48 of world trade . It also proudly represents the most economically dynamic region in the world having generated nearly 70 of global economic growth in its first 10 years

APEC ‘s 21 Member Economies are Australia Brunei Darussalam Canada Chile People ‘s Republic of China Hong Kong , China Indonesia Japan Republic of Korea Malaysia Mexico New Zealand Papua New Guinea Peru The Republic of the Philippines The Russian Federation Singapore Chinese Taipei Thailand United States of America Viet Nam

Purpose and Goals

APEC was established in 1989 to further enhance economic growth and prosperity for the region and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific community

Since its inception , APEC has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region , creating efficient domestic economies and dramatically increasing exports . Key to achieving APEC ‘s vision are what are referred to as the ‘Bogor Goals ‘ of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialised economies and 2020 for developing economies . These goals were adopted by Leaders at their 1994 meeting in Bogor , Indonesia

Free and open trade and investment helps economies to grow , creates jobs and provides greater opportunities for international trade and investment . In contrast , protectionism keeps prices high and fosters inefficiencies in certain industries . Free and open trade helps to lower the costs of production and thus reduces the prices of goods and services – a direct benefit to all

APEC also works to create an environment for the safe and efficient movement of goods , services and people across bs in the region through policy alignment and economic and technical cooperation

(About APEC . 2006 . http /www .apec .org /apec /about_apec .html ) HYPERLINK “http /www .apec .org /apec /about_apec .html ” \l “top top


TRIPARTITE INDEPENDENT (cf . Origins of PECC ) PECC is a unique tripartite partnership of senior individuals from business and industry government , academic and other intellectual circles

All participate in their private capacity and discuss freely on current practical policy issues of the Asia-Pacific region


Established in 1980 , PECC now has 25 Member Committees , including two associate members , from all over Asian-Pacific region . Each Member Committee comprises tripartite , senior representatives

PECC is policy oriented , pragmatic and anticipatory . Its work program aims for better cooperation and policy coordination in areas including trade , investment , finance , HRD , and all major industrial sectors


is the only non-governmental official observer of APEC since the APEC ‘s formation in 1989

PECC has provided information and analytical support to APEC ministerial meetings and working groups . Also it channels and facilitates private sector participation in the formal process


Aims to serve as a regional forum for cooperation and policy coordination to promote economic development in the Asia-Pacific region based on the following premises


The respective strengths of business and industry , government , academic and other intellectual circles can be better focused to promote the acceleration of economic growth , social progress , scientific and technological development and environmental quality in the region

Trade , joint ventures , mutual aid and other forms of linkage , when developed in a spirit of partnership , fairness , respect and genuine cooperation , strengthen the foundation needed for a prosperous progressive and peaceful Pacific Region (PECC . Introduction and History . http /www .pecc .org /default .htm


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP ) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region . With a membership of 62 Governments , 58 of which are in the region , and a geographical scope that stretches from Turkey in the west to the Pacific island nation of Kiribati in the east and from the Russian Federation in the north to New Zealand in the south , ESCAP is the most comprehensive of the United Nations five regional commissions . It is also the largest United Nations body serving the Asia-Pacific region with over 600 staff

Established in 1947 with its headquarters in Bangkok , Thailand , ESCAP seeks to overcome some of the region ‘s greatest challenges . It carries out work in three main thematic areas

Poverty reduction

Managing globalization

Tackling emerging social issues

ESCAP focuses on issues that are most effectively addressed through regional cooperation , including

Issues that all or a group of countries in the region face , for which it is necessary to learn from each other

Issues that benefit from regional or multi-country involvement

Issues that are transboundary in nature , or that would benefit from collaborative inter-country approaches

Issues that are of a sensitive or emerging nature and require further advocacy and negotiation

(General . 2006 . http /www .unescap .org /about /index .asp


Essentially , the WTO is a place where member governments go , to try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other . The first step is to talk . The WTO was born out of negotiations , and everything the WTO does is the result of negotiations . The bulk of the WTO ‘s current work comes from the 1986-94 negotiations called the Uruguay Round and earlier negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT The WTO is currently the host to new negotiations , under the Doha Development Agenda ‘ launched in 2001

Where countries have faced trade barriers and wanted them lowered , the negotiations have helped to liberalize trade . But the WTO is not just about liberalizing trade , and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers – for example to protect consumers or prevent the spread of disease

The WTO is run by its member governments . All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole , either by ministers (who meet at least once every two years ) or by their ambassadors or delegates (who meet regularly in Geneva . Decisions are normally taken by consensus

In this respect , the WTO is different from some other international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund . In the WTO , power is not delegated to a board of directors or the organization ‘s head

When WTO rules impose disciplines on countries ‘ policies that is the outcome of negotiations among WTO members . The rules are enforced by the members themselves under agreed procedures that they negotiated including the possibility of trade sanctions . But those sanctions are imposed by member countries , and authorized by the membership as a whole . This is quite different from other agencies whose bureaucracies can , for example , influence a country ‘s policy by threatening to withhold credit

Reaching decisions by consensus among some 150 members can be difficult Its main advantage is that decisions made this way are more acceptable to all members . And despite the difficulty , some remarkable agreements have been reached . Nevertheless , proposals for the creation of a smaller executive body – perhaps like a board of directors each representing different groups of countries – are heard periodically . But for now the WTO is a member-driven , consensus-based organization

(The WTO . HYPERLINK “http /www .wto .org /english /thewto_e /whatis_e /tif_e /fact1_e .htm http /www .wto .org /english /thewto_e /whatis_e /tif_e /fact1_e .htm

Among these organizations , the World Trade Organization has been the most vigilant in promoting the interrelatedness of economic development and environmental sustainability . In fact , the organization has conducted a symposium addressing the need to disseminate proper information on an environmentally sustainable development

This symposium was organized at the request of Members in the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE ) to hold an event within the framework of Paragraph 51 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration . The mandate in Paragraph 51 instructs the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE ) and the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD ) to identify and debate developmental and environmental aspects of the negotiations , in to help achieve the objective of having sustainable development appropriately reflected

The main objective of this event was to provide an opportunity for Members to reflect further on the meaning of sustainable development in the context of further WTO , and to deepen their understanding of the developmental and environmental dimensions of selected items of the Doha Work Programme . The event drew on the contribution of representatives from various international organizations and other professionals with expertise on the specific issues addressed

The symposium was divided into three parts

HYPERLINK “http /www .wto .org /english /tratop_e /envir_e /sym_oct05_e /sym_oct05_e .htm ” \l “part1 part1 ” Part I introduced the concept of sustainable development and its relevance in the context of the Doha Work Programme highlighting the potential contribution of trade towards achieving the objective of sustainable development HYPERLINK “http /www .wto .org /english /tratop_e /envir_e /sym_oct05_e /sym_oct05_e .htm ” \l “part2 part2 ” Part II focused on selected substantive issues of the Doha negotiations , namely Agriculture , Fisheries Subsidies and Environmental Goods and Services . Each was addressed in the form of a panel session . Presentations were followed by a general discussion

HYPERLINK “http /www .wto .org /english /tratop_e /envir_e /sym_oct05_e /sym_oct05_e .htm ” \l “part3 part3 ” Part III addressed other selected issues of the Doha Work Programme of particular interest to developing countries General presentations were made on two subjects related to intellectual property rights , namely the relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the TRIPS Agreement , and the role of intellectual property rights in facilitating Transfer of Technology . The final session was a roundtable with representatives from different international organizations on Capacity Building activities to promote sustainable development

The symposium was open to WTO Members and Observers and took place in the Centre William Rappard . It was held back to back with the meetings of the CTE in Regular and Special Sessions (World Trade Organization ENVIRONMENT : SYMPOSIUM – 10-11 OCTOBER 2005

The APEC , on the other hand , undertakes several decisions that are parallel to the global aim of WTO . The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC

Formal groups promoting commerce in the Asia-Pacific region have existed for at least three decades . The success of the European Common Market and the growing awareness of Asia ‘s economic potential stimulated interest in the 1960s to create a Pacific regional economic group whose economic ties would engender closer political ties and stability in the region . A Japanese proposal for a Pacific Free Trade Area led to a group known as the “Pacific Trade and Development Conference ” which has met annually since 1968 . During the same period , a group known as the Pacific Basin Economic Council , consisting of business leaders , began holding annual meetings as well . Despite these initiatives , many Asian countries maintained closer economic ties to their former colonial rulers than their regional neighbors . In 1989 , the Australian Prime Minister , Bob Hawke , proposed the creation of a high-level intergovernmental forum to strengthen regional economic ties . That proposal was the genesis of APEC , which had a basic charter two years later and a small secretariat in Singapore within four years . APEC ‘s very first initiatives focused on business issues — harmonizing rules on customs and visa matters , establishing a human resources program and encouraging small- and medium-size enterprises

APEC ‘s potential influence grew considerably when the U .S . hosted the first Leaders Meeting . Prior to this meeting , the highest government representation at APEC gatherings had been at the ministerial level . At the Leaders Meeting it was agreed to begin building a “Pacific Community ” This commitment was given substantive meaning a year later at the summit in Bogor , Indonesia , where APEC members set specific goals of “free and open trade and investment ” in the region by the year 2020 with industrialized nations reaching that goal by 2010 . Fulfilling this ambitious goal will require significant changes in national laws to equalize tariffs and remove non-tariff barriers to trade across a range of commercial sectors . APEC meetings now regularly take place at ministerial level to discuss issues ranging from telecommunications and fisheries to transportation and tourism . A key question , still unresolved , is the role environmental protection will play in APEC ‘s march toward open trade and investment

A number of APEC country leaders , including the President of China Jiang Zemin , and President Clinton of the United States , have called on APEC to take the lead in addressing regional environmental issues Despite this encouraging rhetoric , however , efforts to integrate environmental protection into APEC have been quite modest to date undertaken under the category of “economic and technical cooperation Andre Dua and Dan Esty , APEC and Sustainable Development , in Whither APEC : The Progress to Date and Agenda for the Future 151 (1997

At the first APEC Summit in 1993 , the leaders agreed to hold an Environmental Ministerial meeting in Vancouver in 1994 . That meeting produced an Environmental Vision Statement for APEC and a Framework of Principles for integrating the economy and the environment . The Environmental Vision Statement calls on APEC countries , working together “to promote sustainable development , trade and investment in the region , through a vision for APEC that encourages members to integrate environmental considerations into their policy ” Id . at 169 The Framework of Principles provides nine principles that should guide APEC ‘s progress toward economic and environmental integration , including sustainable development , cost internalization , technology transfer , the precautionary principle , and the need to make trade and environment policies more mutually supportive . At the Sustainable Development Ministerial held in Manila in 1996 , APEC members agreed on three priority areas for further action (1 ) sustainable urbanization (2 clean production and clean technology and (3 ) sustainability of the marine environment . To date , there has been little progress toward these goals . APEC ‘s long term agenda also includes an initiative to address food , energy , environment , economic growth and population issues (FEEEP Initiative

Thus , while APEC declarations committing its member countries to achieve sustainable development have been impressive , to date there have been no concrete results . The key environmental questions for APEC are which goals the organization is best positioned to accomplish and whether the political will exists to achieve meaningful results . Ironically , APEC ‘s greatest weakness , its youth as an international institution , is equally its greatest strength . It has the opportunity to take new measures to implement environmental concerns into its regional economic policies These could include capacity-building in the member countries with weak environmental institutions , establishing regional standards of environmental protection , and ensuring future growth in the region more closely follows a trajectory of sustainable development

The need for action is clear : rapid economic growth in Asia Pacific has led to severe environmental problems , particularly in urban areas . As national economies make the transition from an agricultural to more industrialized base , the scale of environmental threats magnify . Some of these problems are regional in scale , spilling across bs , and region-wide problems would likely benefit from a region-wide strategy Acid rain , air pollution and overfishing are prime examples . Indeed , the need for regional environmental norms is already evident in the failures of recent ad hoc negotiations to resolve environmental disputes among APEC parties . For example , Korea has failed to receive any relief from China in response to its pleas for reduced sulfur dioxide emissions , and quarrels among China , Taiwan and Vietnam have barred the conclusion of the Regional Seas Agreement for the South China Sea . Id . at 165 . Even where solutions have been found , as in Japan ‘s offer to pay for China to install scrubbers on its coal-burning power plants , such “successes have created the moral hazard of inviting polluters to pollute in exchange for a pay-off , violating the polluter-pays principle to which APEC countries have committed themselves

The following excerpt by Andre Dua and Dan Esty discusses the environmental challenges facing APEC and the the potential of the organization to protect the environment

Long-term Direction of Asia Pacific Economy

Through the combined efforts of various organizations , the future of the Asia Pacific Region ‘s economy is seen to be an environmentally sustainable area . The regional aim is the efficient and effective implementation of trade barriers between the countries and the careful consideration of environmental impact in formulating strategic plans for the area

These cooperative efforts aim at promoting intraregional trade and investment , and more efficient resource use with beneficial environmental consequences . They also provide for discussing and planning cooperative efforts for sustainable use of the environment

Most of the cooperative efforts aim to liberalize Asian trade . This is evident in the APEC forum ‘s plans for trade liberalization among developed members by 2010 and by developing members by 2020 , the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA ) currently under implementation , and recent plans for a South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement among the members of SAARC . Most of the efforts involve gradual liberalization . Consequently we can expect to experience a gradual contraction of output in currently protected industries and expansion in others , with uncertain environmental consequences in the interim . Simulation results for the Philippines indicate that trade liberalization would increase the national pollution intensity of production by reallocating output toward logging , mining , and agriculture and within manufacturing , toward more pollution-intensive industries such as food processing , beverages , and wood products . Regional and subregional cooperation efforts in Asia also serve as for directly discussing environmental issues and planning cooperative action

In to meet APEC ‘s Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment in Asia-Pacific , APEC Member Economies follow the strategic roadmap as agreed by APEC Economic Leaders in Osaka , Japan . This roadmap is known as the Osaka Action Agenda

APEC Member Economies report progress towards achieving free and open trade and investment goals through Individual Action Plans (IAPs ) and Collective Action Plans (CAPs , submitted to APEC on an annual basis

Osaka Action Agenda

The Osaka Action Agenda provides a framework for meeting the ‘Bogor Goals ‘ through trade and investment liberalisation , business facilitation and sectoral activities , underpinned by policy dialogues and economic and technical cooperation . As part of this framework General Principles have been defined for Member Economies as they proceed through the APEC liberalisation and facilitation process

The following General Principles are provided in the Osaka Action Agenda and are applied to the entire APEC liberalisation and facilitation process –

Comprehensiveness – addressing all impediments to achieving the long-term goal of free and open trade

WTO-consistency – measures undertaken in the context of the APEC Action Agenda are consistent with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO

Comparability – APEC Member Economies endeavor to have comparable trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation , taking into account the general levels achieved by each APEC economy

Non-discrimination – reductions in barriers to trade achieved through APEC are available to all APEC Member Economies and non-APEC economies

Transparency – the laws , regulations and administrative procedures in all APEC Member Economies which affect the flow of goods , services and capital among APEC Member Economies are transparent

Standstill – APEC Member Economies do not take measures which have the effect of increasing levels of protection

Simultaneous start , continuous process and differentiated timetables – APEC Member Economies began simultaneously the process of liberalisation , facilitation and cooperation and continuously contribute to the long-term goal of free and open trade and investment

Flexibility – APEC Member Economies deal with the liberalisation and facilitation process in a flexible manner , taking into account differing levels of economic development

Cooperation – Economic and technical cooperation contributing to liberalisation and facilitation is actively pursued

Individual Action Plans

Every Member Economy submits annually an Individual Action Plan (IAP This is a record of actions taken to meet its stated goals for free and open trade and investment . APEC Member Economies set their own timelines and goals , and undertake these actions on a voluntary and non-binding basis

As specified in the Osaka Action Agenda , reporting is based on 15 issue areas


Non-tariff measures



Standards and Conformance

Customs Procedures

Intellectual Property

Competition Policy

Government Procurement

Deregulation /Regulatory Review

WTO Obligations (inc . Rules of Origin

Dispute Mediation

Mobility of Business People

Information Gathering and Analysis

Each year , several APEC Member Economies volunteer to have their IAPs reviewed . Known as Peer Reviews , this process involves a formal review team considering each volunteer economy ‘s IAP . Experts conducting independent in-country research and analysis and the involvement of the independent private sector body , the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC ) are also part of the process

HYPERLINK “http /www .apec .org /apec /about_apec /how_apec_operates /action_plans_ .htm l ” \l “top top ” Collective Action Plans

Collective Action Plans (CAPs ) detail the collective actions of all APEC Member Economies in the 15 issue areas outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda . The 15 issue areas mirror the IAP ‘s

CAPs are used by APEC to outline actions and objectives to meet the free trade and investment goals , as well as to monitor and report on progress

(Action Plans . 2006

Trade and Environment : Bonds to strengthen regional relationship HYPERLINK “http /www .apec .org /apec /about_apec /how_apec_operates /action_plans_ .htm l ” \l “top top

There is concern in both developed and developing countries about the effects of environmental policies on trade , although for different reasons . In developing countries , this concern is usually directed at perceived green protectionism in more developed countries , in which ostensibly environmentally directed standards are used as non-tariff barriers to trade . In developed countries , there are fears of a race to the top ‘ as green protectionism in developed competitors demand stricter standards , and of a race to the bottom ‘ as developing countries concentrate on production of environmentally-intensive products or methods , or attract polluting industries or technologies from developed countries . Concern about green protectionism , in developing countries , is not surprising beyond difficulties in planning , implementing , monitoring , and enforcing the controls desired pollution taxes levied on production of a pollution-intensive commodity raises its relative price and reduces the country ‘s comparative advantage but , the demand for exports from developing countries is relatively price-inelastic . Evidence of firms or industries migrating to locations with lower environmental standards remains largely anecdotal on the other hand , there is solid evidence that the bulk of foreign direct investment is targeted at countries with higher environmental standards (European Representative Office . Asian Development Bank

The international efforts under way in various global , regional , and subregional for a related to transboundary environmental interactions cover a wide range of activities these include capacity building biological research , control of cross-b movements of hazardous wastes , bans on driftnet fishing , and efforts to slow down global warning and protect the ozone layer . Yet , there remain many areas for further action on trade and the environment , both in developed and developing countries , together and individually . Of primary concern are the gaps in our scientific knowledge of environmental interactions more research needs to be carried out at the national , subregional , regional and global levels , with international cooperation playing a key role in exchange of knowledge , technology , and human and financial resources for research and dissemination (European Representative Office . Asian Development Bank

More research is also needed on the institutional aspects of solving market failures that often result in environmental problems In practice , property rights and the tax or subsidy approaches differ more in emphasis than in substance developing countries must examine the extent to which red tape or cumbersome approval processes can be reduced or reformed to facilitate more efficient trade and resource use Elsewhere , a consensus needs to be reached on acceptable use of trade measures in multilateral environmental agreements and criteria need to be developed for their judicious application . Yet , proposals for a global environment organization to track and coordinate international environmental activities have met with a lukewarm response a formally structured organization may not be necessary , but with little coordination in efforts and little understanding of the environmental factors on which our lives depend , the dangers may be great (European Representative Office . Asian Development Bank

International aid for the environment , as with other types of aid suffers from problems of coordination strengthening and coordination of certification bodies , along with adoption of common sets of standards can improve efficiency . Regional and subregional cooperation in Asia play an important role and deserve international support but , the comparative advantage of each grouping should be established and exploited to increase the efficiency of environmental efforts (European Representative Office . Asian Development Bank

The following discussion is an excerpt from a scholarly work that intensively discusses the benefits that each of the Asia Pacific countries and the whole region itself can gain from exerting cooperative individual efforts towards addressing the trade and environmental conflicts

Foreign investment does not guarantee good environmental results . Some companies set up operations abroad with the hope that they will be able to reduce costs , including environmental compliance expenditure . In other cases , FDI [foreign direct investment] recipients seek to eliminate pollution control measures from projects to reduce the capital cost of their investments . In China , for example , provincial governments and local entrepreneurs often agree to build stripped-down , low-cost (and thus highly polluting ) power plants that generate the maximum amount of electricity per dollar of capital invested . American companies that have included pollution control technologies in their proposals for electricity generating facilities have been told to eliminate these features and cut the cost of their bids accordingly , or lose the chance to be chosen for the project . Because other foreign investors are ready and willing to build the no-pollution control version of the project any company , which wishes to remain a competitive bidder must heed the demand to remove pollution control measures from their bid specifications

Understanding the importance of FDI as a source of possible environmental degradation and alternatively , progress , is an important insight . Indeed , finding ways to channel private capital flows — to promote public environmental infrastructure projects and to ensure that every private facility has appropriate environmental controls folded into its design — stands as a central policy challenge for all countries , especially for those that are rapidly industrializing . The risk of intercountry , and even intracountry , competition for foreign investment that manifests itself in a welfare-reducing cycle of disregard for pollution impacts is an important reason for regional environmental policy coordination , which APEC may be well situated to provide . In brief , while private capital can be — and must be — the primary engine of sustainable development , governments must create incentives that direct private actors toward socially constructive forms of competition

A significant feature of APEC ‘s performance has been the increasing economic integration of its members , reflected in growing intra-APEC trade and investment , and the increasing prevalence of b-spanning subregional economic zones . This integration can be expected to increase as APEC ‘s members reduce at-the-b barriers – both tariff and nontariff – to freer trade and investment . One of the major results of economic integration and the related dismantling of at-the b barriers is that policies previously considered within the sovereign authority of domestic officials — including environmental standards — have come under increasing international scrutiny . The major reason for this is that as traditional barriers to trade are reduced or removed and international competition becomes more intense , differences in domestic policies become more significant in determining competitiveness and thus , the pattern of trade and investment flows

Given this dynamic it is easy to understand why APEC countries are demonstrating an increasing interest in trade “facilitation ” In particular , the fear of a regulatory “race toward the bottom ” — in which countries compete for industrial activity by lowering their environmental standards , failing to enforce their existing rules , or refraining from shifting their requirements to optimal levels — has created intense interest among APEC members in each others environmental policies

Many of the public health and ecological problems in APEC countries can be traced directly to environmental policy failures that derive from regulatory incapacity . Even if environmental officials are trying to maximize social welfare and implement appropriate environmental programs , they may lack access to the science and technical resources necessary for appropriate problem identification , data collection , fare and transport analysis , epidemiological and ecological studies , risk assessment , policy design and alternatives development , cost-benefit analysis , policy implementation , enforcement and evaluation . Many of APEC ‘s developing countries – Chile , China , Indonesia , Malaysia , Mexico and Thailand – find themselves without sufficient resources to invest in the skilled personnel , technical and scientific infrastructure , or enforcement support required to develop optimal environmental programs

Beyond the lack of regulatory capacity , the poor environmental record of some APEC countries can be attributed , at least in part , to government failures to accurately and faithfully reflect public preferences in their choice of environmental policies and programs . Such public choice problems are most prevalent in those countries where an insulated ruling elite — for example in China , and to a lesser extend in Indonesia and Malaysia — with preferences for economic growth (and the wealth and power this provides ) has the ability to disregard deleterious ecological impacts or public health effects on the populace

What a Regional Environmental Response Offers

We believe that APEC could improve upon the existing institutional responses to environmental problems at the local /national , regional , and global levels . Most obviously , APEC could address the “super externalities ” the underlie regional pollution and resource problems particularly considering the paucity of current efforts to address harms at the Asia Pacific scale . But it could do much more than that . Given that the efforts of many APEC countries to address localized harms are severely hampered by weak environmental programs and limited skill bases , APEC could play an important role in building regulatory capacity across the region . APEC ‘s influence , we argue , could also extend to the global level . For example , strategic interventions by APEC countries could ratchet-up multilateral environmental efforts in much the same way that APEC has influenced multilateral trade efforts . In sum , the role we envision for APEC has multiple dimensions , but the underlying objective Is clear : use APEC narrowly and wisely to fill gaps and meet deficiencies in the existing institutional responses to environmental harms and , in so doing , provide a strong platform for sustainable economic growth

Regional Contributions to Local and National Environmental Policymaking

As latecomers to industrialization , APEC ‘s less-developed members have the opportunity to build upon the experience of those who have gone ahead of them , learning from their technological and policy advances . In many parts of industrializing APEC , the high turnover of the capital stock , significant investments in training and development of human capital , and openness to trade and investment , have enabled countries to take advantage of previously unavailable , relatively low-cost pollution control technologies developed by their more industrialized counter-parts

From a policy perspective , they have not yet borrowed as heavily Although many APEC countries have achieved sufficient wealth to have environmental protection become a policy priority , far fewer have managed to emulate the sophisticated regulatory regimes of their highly industrialized neigh… [banner_entry_footer]


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