Understanding the APEC-led Regionalism and the Trade Union Agenda in the APEC Processes

Rene E. Ofrene


The vast Paciic Ocean has not prevented countries in the Asian and American continents from forging deeper trade and economic relations. This process has been intensifying under a seemingly confusing tangle of bilateral and regional free trade agreements between and among Asia-Pacific countries that augment the trade liberalization commitments made by these countries under the World Trade Organization and the US-led Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The author points out that the deepening trade relations in the Asia-Pacific have no labor constituency. He argues that this is due to the exclusivist character of global and regional integration processes under the various trade agreements. Trade unions everywhere have been denouncing the ensuing Race to the Bottom, which tends to sacriice labor rights in the name of global competitiveness and economic integration. The author proposes a new TOR or architecture for global and regional integration, a TOR that gives the trade unions a seat at the regional and global trade tables, and allows them to articulate an inclusive, sustainable and labor-friendly pattern of global
and regional integration.

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