Economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region results in economic and social advancement: facts and figures

A global economic cooperation proves to be a major factor that will define the future development of the Asia-Pacific region. The premier organization that joins twenty one countries, striving for facilitating an economic growth in the region, is the APEC. Free and open trade and investment, safe and efficient movements of goods, services and people across boarders and other reforms have extensively improved social and economic conditions in the majority of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The APEC has proved that a free-will commitment of countries and governments to the economic cooperation leads to the growing wealth of each nation. Since its inception in 1989, the APEC region has consistently been the most economically dynamic part of the world. In its first decade, the APEC Member Economies (member countries) produced nearly seventy percent of the global economic growth and the APEC region consistently outperformed the rest of the world, even during the Asian financial crisis.

A global economic cooperation, efficient policies and sound decisions have defined the APEC region's path toward an obvious economic success. The economic cooperation among members of the APEC is expressed through a great number of concrete steps, measures and achievements, aimed at facilitating economic growth of each nation.

The first and foremost reform, worked out by the APEC's Member Economies, was an introduction of free and open trade and investment that helps economies grow, creates jobs and provides greater opportunities for the international trade and investment. Free and open trade helps to lower the costs of production and reduces the prices of goods and services.

The meetings of the APEC are aimed to create an environment for a safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people across borders in the region through the policy alignment and economic and technical cooperation. Through the economic cooperation and general agreement, tariffs and other barriers to open trade have been reduced and exports have expanded.

During the first ten years of the APEC's work:

•Exports increased by one hundred and thirteen percent to over two point five trillion dollars
•Foreign direct investment grew by two hundred and ten percent overall, and by four hundred and seventy five percent in lower income APEC economies
•Real gross national product grew by about a third overall, and by seventy four percent in lower income APEC economies
•Gross domestic product per person in lower income APEC economies grew by sixty one percent

Another important achievement of the economic cooperation of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region is an enormous social advancement. It largely concerns developing and poor countries in the region, where economic and social conditions have been extensively improved. The first decade of the APEC's activities has shown:

•Poverty in East Asian APEC economies fell by about a third (one hundred and sixty five million people);
•one hundred and ninety five million new jobs were created in APEC Member Economies, including one hundred and seventy four million in lower income countries;
•Considerable improvements in access to sanitation and safe water and expanding public expenditure on health have resulted in infant mortality falling and life expectancy rising in lower income economies;
•Enormous investments in human capital have created opportunities for growing expenditures, availability and efficiency of education.

Every year the APEC selects one Member Economy to host all annual meetings of governmental heads. 2006 meetings and forums are held in Viet Nam under the theme "Towards a Dynamic Community for Sustainable Development and Prosperity". The major focus for the year is building an international integration capacity of developing Member Economies through the improvement of the human capacity, cooperation in information technology and partnership for development.

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