Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 16:11 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 16:11 | SYDNEY

APEC sidelined


Malcolm Cook

18 November 2008 09:21

The main storyline coming out of the first G20 leaders meeting was that it marks the end of the G7 (or G8) era and replaces it with a new inter-regional, North-South body, and one that includes Australia.

APEC also made this claim to inclusive novelty when it was set up 19 years ago.  Yet, the inaugural meeting of the leaders of the G-20 is eclipsing the upcoming APEC leaders meeting in Peru. Who has heard mention of it despite it being this week and despite the fact that Australia created it, under the last Labor Government, and hosted it last year?

If the G-20 (or Zoellick’s Australia-less G-14 idea) does drive another nail in the coffin in APEC relevance (will it be reduced to issuing support for the outcomes of the G-20 meeting in Washington?), this will be the second time in a decade that a financial crisis has waylaid APEC’s grand plans.

The 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis led to the formation of the Australia-less ASEAN-3 grouping, APEC’s first serious challenger to regional institutional supremacy and one that both ASEAN and China prefer to APEC. This financial crisis may create a  G-20 leaders meeting that would be a global challenge to APEC – a leaders meeting that is more global than APEC but has fewer members.

PS: Two interesting notes about the upcoming APEC leaders meeting. Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, will lead the Malaysian delegation, not the sitting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Taiwan’s delegation (officially referred to as 'Chinese Taipei' in APEC circles) will be led by Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang and former Vice President Lien Chan. This will be the most senior Taiwan 'leader' ever to attend APEC.