The paper discusses similarities and differences between past EU binding internal liberalization „across the board“ in the industrial sector and present so-called voluntary sectoral liberalization of member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). While both approaches are second-best compared to unconcerted unilateral liberalization, the major disadvantage of liberalization APEC style in the industrial sector consists in introducing distortions between sectors as well as between member states due to rising disparities in timing liberalization within Asia Pacific. Such disparities raise problems of time consistency of liberalization under the so-called Bogor target of achieving free trade within APEC in 2010 (2020 for less advanced member states). Reliance on „peer pressure“ as the only mechanism to commit member states to liberalization is seen as a weak driving force to make APEC’s concerted unilateralism a stepping stone for the successor round of the Uruguay Round. The paper proposes a number of measures successfully applied in the EU to give APEC’s liberalization more „teeth“ to the benefit of multilateral liberalization.
trade liberalization open regionalism multilateral trade negotiations regional integration