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APEC can become a platform for "reconciliation of hours"

As a result of the APEC leaders meeting in Manila, it remains to determine what are the chances for dialogue between those who are part of the American TTP and those who do without it, said Dmitry Kosyrev, political observer of the MIA "Russia Today"

APEC Leaders' Week, which ended this Thursday in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, was doomed to remain almost unnoticed amid the war in the Middle East. Yes, in the end, the mechanism of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is not designed for information sensations, such are created only by the meetings of the top leaders of APEC "on the sidelines", moreover, at such meetings, most often it is about matters that have nothing to do with APEC.

APEC may become a platform for

Dmitry Kozyrev

Political observer MIA "Russia Today"
America on the offensive

So, the US President made a speech in Manila about the fight against climate change (not the main topic of APEC), the new Prime Minister of Canada told Obama about the withdrawal of his fighters from Syria and Iraq - this is roughly what is most often found in the media following the Manila meetings. Everyone also said the right words about terrorism.

This is an old problem, the annual Leaders' Week seems to be distracting rather than drawing attention to APEC. Recall that work in APEC goes on all year round, hundreds of businessmen and high government officials participate in it, many programs are being developed that really integrate 21 economies of the most important region of the planet. But integration, documents and figures are not very effective, but the end of the "week of leaders" with a summit meeting - here we have what is called "informational". At least for photographs.
The events in Manila turned out to be interesting, however, they showed that exactly 2015-th the year became a turning point, critical for the entire project of Pacific integration. First, because the rivalry between the United States and China has intensified. Secondly, this happened because it was the last year that turned out to be economically problematic for the Asia-Pacific region, even apart from this rivalry. As a result, the question arises - whether the APEC mechanism itself will not turn out to be unnecessary, as it actually happened with the GXNUMX, which shrank to the GXNUMX with Russia leaving it.
The point, of course, is largely in who is the host of the meeting. In the Philippines, one of the most pro-American countries in Asia, America felt at home and launched an offensive against China, the second key member of APEC. A year ago, it was the other way around, the chairman was China, which, accordingly, for 12 months coordinated dozens of meetings of businessmen and officials, appointed the topics of meetings, directed the work on draft documents.

This activity culminated in the Chinese Free Trade for Asia-Pacific Initiative (FTAAP). Note that we are not talking about some kind of formal agreement, but about a purely propaganda slogan, an ideologeme (such as the "Silk Road"), which denotes a multitude of processes already taking place in terms of economic integration. But, we repeat, they do occur; Yes, here's at least the story with the China-proposed Infrastructure Development Bank for the APR, which was eventually launched.
The United States made a mistake by opposing the creation of the bank and agitating everyone not to join: many did not obey and did. But this year the American response followed in the form of the concluded (after many years of negotiations) agreement on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, which included the "chosen" (America) members of APEC. The text of the agreement itself was published only after that, that is, the negotiations were conducted by the United States in secret (from China, Russia and many others; Russian diplomats, who at one time officially offered to let them read this document, were officially asked not to worry).

This project is a real anti-APEC. If only because in APEC 21 economies, from the giants of the United States and China to small Thailand and others, talk on equal terms, general programs are optional (you can not participate). In general, not the EU. But the American TPP is also not the EU, but on the contrary, the rules in this agreement are stricter than even in the European Union.
But if the TPP really works, if many key APEC members have already signed up to the project, then what remains for APEC to do? The simple answer is nothing, you can close.
In life, however, everything is more complicated and interesting. Let's pay attention to the speech of the head of China Xi Jinping in Manila, at one of the events of the "leaders week" - at the Business Summit (meeting of the top business). Xi, resisting the American onslaught, was essentially talking about the fact that the Americans are splitting the region. But he also listed many directions in which everyone can move together and in addition to the TPP.

Pediatric Growth Disease Over

Two or three years ago, APEC looked like a giant simply because the economy of the Pacific region was growing, outstripping other regions. And this year, as follows from the document prepared for the forum by the APEC research service, the growth - quarterly - in general looks like this: 3,2%, then 3,1% ... And a year ago it was 3,4%. There are many reasons for the slowdown, including the fact that the region's economies have become large, not all physically can repeat the double-digit records of previous years. It is easy to grow up in "childhood" - for a small economy, and one produced truck gives a noticeable improvement in statistics.

Therefore, now the entire APEC mechanism, in fact, is working to find growth reserves, and not only percentage growth. And here lies one of the reasons why not only the steadfast allies of the United States have agreed to the enslaving TPP, although they understand that it, in fact, deprives them of their sovereignty. The fact is that the TPP has a good side - virtually duty-free trade. Getting access to US markets, even at the cost of self-destruction, is something.

This story is directly related to the essence, philosophy of APEC. The meaning of this mechanism for the United States and several other countries was initially to create a free trade zone throughout the region. And for half of the APEC participants, its meaning is exactly the opposite - to carry out integration, while maintaining control over their economies, and also over politics. The merit of APEC is that over a quarter of a century this mechanism has opened literally hundreds of reserves for growth and development in addition to "free trade."
This is all the more important because trade and export were the engine of the "Asian miracle" in the previous era, but it is just ending. TPP is trade, that is, yesterday. Today they talk more about the development of domestic markets, in China and other countries.

And this is where the Filipinos came up with a lot of interesting things. The slogan of their chairmanship was to ensure inclusive growth. That is, one where as many people as possible are involved. And they can be involved there, for example, by improving education and health care; that is, public investment in these two sectors creates both middle-class producers and consumers, lifting people out of poverty. At least this is the Philippine development experience, which helped the country get out of the zone of perpetual misery and start growing at an almost Chinese pace (about 6% per year).

The mechanics of APEC are such that this Philippine idea, among many others, has now entered the intergovernmental programs of almost all - 21 participants in the process, strengthening the mechanism of a unified regional education system. And this is just one line in numerous APEC achievements in 2015.
Where is Russia in this whole story? There is an answer. Although it was given, contrary to tradition, not in one of the newspapers of the host country of the summit, but in the Chinese People's Daily, the author of the article is President Vladimir Putin. He, not forgetting to speak about the TPP and closed trade blocks, talks about open cooperation of equals, lists its most promising areas for Russia, including the idea of ​​a single educational space in the Asia-Pacific region - this, by the way, about the Philippine initiatives, which in fact continue our Vladivostok ( speech about the APEC summit in this city in 2012).
As for freedom of trade, in fact, more than two dozen such agreements are in force in the region (for example, Russia has a similar document with Vietnam, and others are being prepared). It seems that the customs duty here is generally becoming an anachronism. The question is, whose model of freedom is better - the Chinese, which does not oblige anyone to anything, or the American.
The peculiarity of the situation in the region is that it is possible to participate in all trade and other regimes simultaneously, allowing everyone to prove their attractiveness. As far as APEC is concerned, this mechanism can become, among other things, a platform for “synchronizing watches” and for dialogue between those who are part of the American TPP and those who do without it.

The material is published on the site RIA "News" 19.11.2015.

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