APEC plays a very important role as an "incubator of ideas" for initiatives seeking to drive trade and investment in the region.
APEC plays a very important role as an "incubator of ideas" for initiatives seeking to drive trade and investment in the region, promoting various commitments, agreements and specific tools aimed at this objective. In this regard, among many, the following initiatives stand out:
APEC BUSINESS TRAVEL CARD (ABTC)
The ABTC card was initially tested by three APEC economies in 1997, and then expanded to 19 of the 21 economies. With a term of up to five years, this card allows business travelers and government officials to enter 19 APEC economies, without the need for a visa, for up to 90 days. Cardholders also benefit from expeditious access to major airports in all member economies of the Forum.
In 2012, Leaders - heads of government from each member economy of the Forum - agreed to reduce tariffs on 54 environmental goods to a tariff of 5% or less by 2015. That collective effort laid the groundwork for the development of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), which is still under negotiation at the WTO.
FREE TRADE AREA OF ASIA PACIFIC (FTAAP)
In the year APEC Chile 2004, the development of a free trade area for the entire Asia-Pacific region (FTAAP) was proposed, which would generate a great economic benefit by stimulating greater trade and investment among the members of the Forum. This idea was formally addressed by APEC Leaders - heads of government from each member economy of the Forum - as a long-term vision, having also identified other regional trade agreements, including the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Association) as possible ways to achieve the FTAAP.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT (ITA)
At the 1996 Summit, APEC Leaders manifested their express support for signing the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which aims to eliminate tariffs on a wide range of information technology products. In 2011, Leaders announced their intention to update the ITA, which was formally expanded to cover 201 new products by December 2015. Today, the Forum promotes initiatives to implement that agreement, along with urging members who are not yet parties to join.