From October 15 to 21, 2001, a series of meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), including the Senior Officials' Meeting, the Joint Ministerial Meeting, the CEO Summit, and the Economic Leaders' Meeting, was held in Shanghai. APEC member leaders and more than 600 world industrial and commercial heads gathered in Shanghai. Attracting more than 3,000 Chinese and foreign reporters, the gathering became a focus of world attention.
The APEC 2001 meetings in China have been an interesting topic worldwide. Not only is China, with its steady continuous economic growth, the host, but the achievements of APEC over the past decade have also made this regional economic forum the most influential organization in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin said this APEC summit has obtained its anticipated goals. Leaders of other member economies also indicated their satisfaction with the results of the summit, which is of great significance and has far-reaching influence.
During the meeting, leaders of the member economies exchanged in-depth views on many issues centering around the theme, "Meeting New Challenges in the New Century: Achieving Common Prosperity Through Participation and
Cooperation." They discussed the current macro economic situation, the impact of the September 11 incident on economic development, capacity building and the direction of APEC development.
The Leaders' Declaration proclaimed at the meeting reflects the consensus APEC members have reached on major issues, such as countermeasures for glohalization in the new century, and opportunities and challenges brought about by the New Economy. Marking a solid step in the process of Asia-Pacific regional cooperation at this critical moment, it has enhanced the confidence and determination of member economies in overcoming current economic difficulties and recovering global economic growth.
The Shanghai Accord passed at the meeting reiterates the determination of members to obtain the Bogor Goals and seek common prosperity. This will produce a far-reaching influence on the development of APEC and promote sustained economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.
The e-APEC strategy provides guidelines for developing the information and communications industries in member economies, as well as narrowing the "digital divide" between members.
The meeting also announced a leaders' anti-terrorism statement. Thanks to the advocacy of China, an APEC Working Group was also set up, and a fund to prevent financial crisis was launched.
Seeking common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region will be a major topic of APEC in the future. What is noteworthy is that the meeting not only presented a rosy outlook, but also made substantial progress in realizing it.
As the highest-level mechanism of inter-governmental economic cooperation in the region. APEC will enhance cooperation in a number of fields, based on successful experiences. By standing at the forefront of global and regional economic development, it will play a leading role in solving prominent problems faced by global and regional economies. While respecting diversity, it will advance more firmly toward the Bogor Goals. It will continue to carry forward the principle of "open regionalism" and contribute to the development of the multi-lateral trading system. It will reflect the widest common interests of all members.
Comments of the international community
Pierre S. Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade, Canada, said the Shanghai APEC was held at an opportune time. It is expected to start a new round of WTO negotiations and stimulate the world economy. He said he is glad to see that China is going to enter the WTO, which will be a positive signal to the world and will help enhance people's confidence in the recovery of the world economy.
The chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Japan Committee, who is also the president of the well-known Japanese firm. Omron, said the Shanghai APEC fully displayed China's capabilities as a host. Like the WTO. APEC is devoted to the liberalization of trade and investment. But APEC is an economic forum consisting of voluntary members. As the members are in different markets and regions, they need to get together for constructive discussion in order to achieve the goal of trade and investment liberalization. The annual APEC meetings, hosted by China, are of great significance to development in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Shanghai has not only showcased the great achievements of China in reform and opening up. but has also erected an unforgettable monument in the history of APEC," said a senior official of Mexico, which will host APEC 2002. The meeting in Shanghai has provided many useful experiences to Mexico, the official added.
British and French media commented that, as APEC 2001 is the first international forum involving state leaders, ministers and senior officials of major countries after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September, it is particularly important and has caught much attention.
A report by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) from Shanghai stated that APEC has been criticized as an organization that played a trivial role, but China, as this year's host, is trying to raise its reputation.
APEC: A big deal for China
APEC has 21 members whose population accounts for 45 percent of the world's total; GDP, 55 percent; and trade volume, 46 percent. Among APEC members, there are major countries such as the United States, Russia and Japan, as well as China's neighbors. Both in economic terms and terms of foreign relations, APEC means a lot to China.