The PAF would create a free trade area that would significantly expand trade and economic growth in the region. [34] [36] Economic expansion and trade growth could exceed the expectations of other regional free trade areas such as ASEAN Plus Three (ASEAN + China, South Korea and Japan). [37] Some criticisms focus on the fact that trade diversion within APEC members would lead to trade imbalances, market conflicts and complications with nations in other regions. [36] The development of the PAF is expected to take many years and involve essential studies, evaluations and negotiations between Member States. [34] It is also affected by the lack of political will and agitation of the population and lobbying against free trade in domestic politics. [34] [38] APEC first began at its 2006 summit in Hanoi to formally discuss the concept of an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (APAP). However, the proposal for such a zone has existed since at least 1966 and the proposal by Japanese economist Kiyoshi Kojima [yes] for a free trade agreement for the Pacific. Although it gained little strength, the idea led to the creation of the Pacific Trade and Development Conference, then the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council in 1980 and APEC in 1989. The proposal for a free trade agreement was born out of the lack of progress in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations and a way to overcome the “pasta bowl” effect caused by overlapping and contradictory elements of the vast free trade agreements – in 2007 there were about sixty free trade agreements, Another 117 in the negotiation process in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. [34] In 2012, only ASEAN+6 countries had 339 free trade agreements, many bilaterally. [b] APEC has 21 members. The term “economies” is used to describe APEC members, as the APEC cooperation process focuses on trade and economic policy issues, with members cooperating as economic entities.

APEC acts as a cooperative multilateral economic and trade forum….