The 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting1 (AELM) will be held in Manila from November 18 to 19, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). This will be the second time that the country will host the regional economic forum of the leaders of APEC member economies. The first AELM in the Philippines was held from November 24 to 25, 1996, at Subic Bay, Zambales.
History of APEC and AELM
On November 6–7, 1989, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States, convened an international dialogue at Canberra, Australia. The ministerial meeting between 12 Asia-Pacific economies aimed for world and regional economic development as well as for the strengthening the economic cooperation within the region. This led to the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).2, 3
From 1989 to 1998, the APEC community grew with the inclusion of China, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong in 1991; Mexico and Papua New Guinea in 1993;4 Chile in 1994; and the membership of Peru, Vietnam, and Russia in 1997, which completed the current membership of 21 economies. In order to foster cooperation among the considerable number of member economies, APEC members agreed to a moratorium on new membership; this lasted until 2010.5
During the 1993 APEC Summit held at Blake Island, Washington, the economic leaders of APEC met for the first time, establishing the annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM).6 Every year since then, one of the APEC member economies serves as the APEC host economy and APEC Chair for the AELM, along with other major APEC meetings: the APEC Ministers’ Meeting (AMM), some Sectoral Ministerial Meetings, Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOM), the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting, and the APEC Study Centre Consortium meeting.7
Usually held in the last quarter of the year, the AELM is the “prime mover of the APEC process”8 and serves as the focal point of the APEC year.9 While the host economy chooses the arrangements for the AELM, certain practices have become common over the years. APEC’s procedural guidebook considers the AELM to be an informal meeting, so the program involves less protocol and a light agenda. Since the first AELM in 1993, the host economy has customarily provided visiting leaders with a casual version of the host economy’s national or traditional clothing.10
The AELM’s official program is usually spread over two days. The first day consists of the official welcome and the first retreat session for the economic leaders. Afterward, the leaders hold a dialogue session with the members of the ABAC. The first day ends with an evening dinner program, wherein leaders socialize. The host economy might use this occasion for cultural presentations or performances. On the morning of the second day, the leaders hold their second retreat session. In recent years, the second retreat session has been followed by a working lunch, during which leaders discuss particular topics concerning the Asia-Pacific region. The official program of the AELM ends when the leaders gather behind the year’s APEC chairman to read aloud the Leaders’ Declaration.11
AELM Then: 1996
During the November 1994 APEC Summit in Indonesia, the Philippines was chosen to host the fourth AELM for 1996. As early as December 5, 1994, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Administrative Order No. 160, s. 1994 to create a national commission in preparation for the APEC meetings in 1996. The National Organizing Commission (APEC-NOC) was chaired by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, with the Secretary of Trade and Industry and the Executive Secretary as co-chairs.12
The Philippines hosted its first AELM in Subic Bay, Zambales on November 24–25, 1996,13,14 following the Eighth APEC Ministerial Meeting held in Manila on November 22–23, 1996. Ministers from the 18 APEC member economies—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United States—were in attendance, as were members of the APEC Secretariat. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), and the South Pacific Forum (SPF) attended as observers.15
As part of the preparation for the summit, the Philippines strengthened its security force. At least 26,000 police and soldiers were deployed to ensure the security of the delegates and guests. President Ramos assured the APEC participants of their security in his speech during the inauguration of the Subic airport.16
In the 1996 Leaders’ Declaration, the economies stated that they accomplished the following: (1) launched the implementation phase of our free and open trade and investment agenda, (2) delivered business facilitation measures, (3) agreed to advance common goals in the World Trade Organization (WTO), (4) developed ways to strengthen economic and technical cooperation, and (5) engaged the business sector as a full partner in the APEC process.17
APEC Summit 1996 was considered the “first real test” in implementing what the previous APEC summits had envisioned (i.e., building a “community of Asia-Pacific economies in 1993” and free and open trade and investment in Asia-Pacific in 1994). The first leg of implementation was in Summit 1995 in Osaka when participant economies submitted their respective Individual Action Plans (IAPs). In Subic, economies were tasked to develop, approve, and implement Collective Action Plans (CAPs).18 These IAPs and CAPs were integrated with Progress Reports on Joint Activities of APEC member economies and the various APEC Fora into the 1996 Manila Action Plan for APEC (MAPA 96).19 MAPA 96 outlined APEC’s goals of free and open trade by 2010-2020.20
AELM Now: 2015
On November 18 to 19, 2015, the country will host the AELM at the Philippine International Convention Center. The 21 economic leaders, with Colombia as an observer, will gather in Manila to discuss effective policies to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity within the region.21
In preparation for APEC 2015, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Administrative Order No. 36 on November 28, 2012. This established the APEC-NOC for the Philippine hosting of 2015 APEC meetings headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.
Prior to the AELM in November, APEC 2015 held its ministerial and committee meetings in different venues around the Philippines: such as Manila, Cebu City, Legazpi City, Iloilo City, Boracay, Clark Special Economic Zone, Subic, Tagaytay, Laoag City, Bataan, and Bacolod.
The Philippine government will deploy over 30,000 security personnel to ensure the security and safety of the delegates and the economic leaders during the two-day meeting.22 Extensive security measures will be adopted for AELM: a no-fly zone will be implemented within the area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA);23 a 30-yard no sail zone will be implemented along the shores of Manila Bay; and road closures, truck bans, and a “stop and go” scheme will be implemented along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. Furthermore, President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 1072 on July 13, 2015, declaring November 18 and 19, 2015 as special non-working holidays in the National Capital Region (NCR), and Memorandum Circular No. 84 on September 23, 2015, declaring work suspension in government offices, including government-owned corporations, on November 17 and 20, 2015 within the NCR in view of the activities related to the APEC Summit.
The theme of APEC 2015, “Building inclusive economies, building a better world,” reflects the host nation’s priorities: (1) investing in human capital development, (2) building sustainable and resilient communities, (3) fostering the participation of small and medium enterprises in regional and global markets and (4) enhancing regional economic integration. These will be pursued in the agenda of the regional economic forum.
Related posts on the preparation for the Leaders’ Week:
|Category||APEC 1996||APEC 2015|
|Date of the Summit||November 24–25, 1996||November 18–19, 2015|
|Members||18 APEC Leaders
(5) People’s Republic of China
(6) Hong Kong
(9) South Korea
(12) New Zealand
(13) Papua New Guinea
(18) United States
|21 APEC Leaders
(5) People’s Republic of China
(6) Hong Kong
(9) South Korea
(12) New Zealand
(13) Papua New Guinea
(20) United States
|AELM venues||Subic Bay, Zambales||Pasay City, Philippines|
|Theme||“The Path to a brighter and more attainable future”||“Building inclusive economies, building a better world”|
|Goals||The Manila Action Plan for APEC (MAPA) is adopted, outlining the trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation measures to reach the Bogor Goals and the first Collective and Individual Action Plans are compiled, outlining how economies will achieve the free trade goals. 2020 is the target year when free trade would be achieved among APEC members, as stated in the Manila Action Plan for APEC.||Investing in Human Capital Development;
Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) Participation in Regional and Global Markets;
Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities; and
Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda.
|Security||26,000 police and soldiers||Over 30,000 security personnel
At least 378 flights canceled for security purposes
No-fly zone over all NAIA terminals
A 30-yard no sail zone will be implemented along the shores of Manila Bay
Road closures, truck bans, and a “stop and go” scheme implemented along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.
|Venues of ministerial and committee meetings||Manila, Subic, Cebu City, and Davao||Manila, Cebu City, Legazpi City, Iloilo City, Boracay, Clark, Subic, Tagaytay, Bataan, and Bacolod|
|Candidates for APEC membership during the year of hosting||11 Economies:
(10) Sri Lanka
(4) Sri Lanka
(9) Costa Rica
2 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “1989 APEC Ministerial Meeting”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Ministerial-Statements/Annual/1989/1989_amm.aspx
3 APEC Philippines 2015, “APEC Primer”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://apec2015.ph/about-apec/primer/
4 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “APEC History”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/History.aspx
5 Shintaro Hamanaka, Asian Free Trade Agreements and WTO Compatibility: Goods, Services, Trade Facilitation and Economic Cooperation (Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 2014), p. 16.
6 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “APEC History”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/History.aspx
7 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, Guidebook on APEC Procedures and Practices (Singapore: APEC Secretariat, 2005), p. 2.
8 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, Guidebook on APEC Procedures and Practices (Singapore: APEC Secretariat, 2005), p. 2.
9 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, Guidebook on APEC Procedures and Practices (Singapore: APEC Secretariat, 2005), p. 20.
10 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, Guidebook on APEC Procedures and Practices (Singapore: APEC Secretariat, 2005), p. 21.
11 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, Guidebook on APEC Procedures and Practices (Singapore: APEC Secretariat, 2005), p. 21.
12 The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, “Administrative Order No. 160, s. 1994”, accessed on November 11, 2015, http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1994/12/05/administrative-order-no-160-s-1994/.
13 Allan Macatuno, “Subic’s luxe villas: Apec leaders rested here ever so briefly,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 6, 2015, accessed November 13, 2015, http://globalnation.inquirer.net/128130/subics-luxe-villas-apec-leaders-rested-here-ever-so-briefly
14 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “1996 Leaders’ Declaration – Subic Declaration: From Vision to
15 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “1996 APEC Ministerial Meeting Joint Statement: From Vision to Action,” accessed November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Ministerial-Statements/Annual/1996/1996_amm.aspx.
16 CNN, “Clinton arrives in Philippines for trade summit”, November 23, 1996, accessed on November 12, 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9611/23/apec.summit/.
17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “1996 Leaders’ Declaration”, accessed on November 12, 2015, http://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Leaders-Declarations/1996/1996_aelm.aspx.
18 C. Fred Bergsten, “APEC in 1996 and Beyond: The Subic Summit”, Peterson Institute for International Economics, accessed on November 12, 2015, http://www.iie.com/publications/wp/print.cfm?ResearchId=168&doc=pub.
19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “1996 APEC Ministerial Meeting Joint Statement: From Vision to Action,” accessed November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Ministerial-Statements/Annual/1996/1996_amm.aspx.
20 The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, “Speech of President Ramos during the Opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting, November 22, 1996,” accessed November 13, 2015, http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1996/11/22/speech-of-president-ramos-during-the-opening-of-the-asia-pacific-economic-cooperation-apec-ministerial-meeting-november-22-1996/.
21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, “APEC Mission Statement”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/Mission-Statement.aspx.
22 “18 Agencies, 30,000 Personnel, What it takes to secure 10,000 Delegates”, GMA News Online, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/543755/money/economy/what-it-takes-to-secure-10-000-apec-delegates.
23 APEC Philippines 2015, “NCR Road Advisories for APEC Leaders’ Meet”, accessed on November 13, 2015, http://apec2015.ph/2015/10/27/apec-aelm-road-advisories/.