The U.S. and Japan in APEC : arena for leadership in Asia and the Pacific

Ortblad, Dennis J.
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Honolulu: East-West Center
Participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has been a pillar of America's Asia policy as it seeks to move the region toward free trade and greater security. But U.S. efforts to lead APEC were stalled at last year's meeting in Osaka when the Asian leaders, including host Japan, rearranged the APEC agenda, moving aside the U.S. priority for market liberalization to put equal focus on regional economic development. The move reflects a changed environment in which Japan and the ASEAN countries are more self-confident and assertive. Looking ahead to the November 1996 APEC summit in Subic Bay and beyond, the United States must adjust to the limits on its economic leadership in Asia, limits that will require: 1) a slower pace for its trade agenda in APEC; 2) a broader consultation process with Japan that recognizes Japan's key economic role in the region; and 3) a search for new coalitions with other APEC countries based on mutual concerns over access to Japan's markets. A major long-range U.S. goal should be to make APEC a starting point for a multilateral process to deal with looming security questions in the region.
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