Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) cites the essential role that regional trade agreements and free trade agreements can play in regional trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2011, three "next-generation trade and investment issues" were identified: (i) facilitating global supply chains; (ii) increase the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in global production chains; and (iii) promote an effective, non-discriminatory and market-oriented innovation policy. APEC leaders agreed to promote a series of measures to promote an effective, non-discriminatory and market-oriented innovation policy to create a model of innovation in the region as the best way to encourage innovation, which increases productivity and ensures economic growth. They also decided on areas of cooperation that could be integrated into trade agreements to improve the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in global production chains. The USTR represents the United States in critical trade and investment initiatives within APEC, with the goal of promoting free, fair and reciprocal trade in the region, delivering tangible and meaningful results for U.S. exporters, which remove trade barriers in the Asia-Pacific region and create jobs. The U.S. trade priorities in APEC are the same: the first round of PDO liberalization, presented at the 1996 APEC meeting, shows how these structural problems have caused APEC to lose momentum. Each member presented its unilateral plan, but it is not surprising that it contained little substance beyond what members had already proposed at the WTO through bilateral negotiations or as a result of domestic policy reforms that had nothing to do with APEC. Even the process itself has been complicated and has produced long and laborious documents that cannot be evaluated in a comparable or analytical manner at the international level.
The definition of some initial repositories and the subsequent annual monitoring and classification of IOPs should be the minimum requirement to justify continued investment of time and resources. Even that would make PDOs only a modestly useful annual moment of openness within the various APEC economies, instead of a process that should significantly advance the liberalization agenda.