March 25, 2010
About 20-years ago, many of the world’s sovereign nations started down an interesting path. Region by region, governments formed supranational free trade blocs in order to facilitate economic growth.
Supranational organizations were nothing new… from the failed League of Nations after the Great War to the UN and NATO, large multi-country blocs had been formed in the past, but usually for political purposes or military alliances.
Conceived in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was among the first international forums specifically designed to boost trade and enhance economic growth in the region, politics be damned. After APEC came MERCOSUR in South America, NAFTA in North America, the EU, and finally the African Union.
A few years into the new millenium, most of the world was covered in trade blocs that were supposed to throw politics out the window… today, though, only APEC remains as a pure financial body, and the rest of the world could learn some valuable lessons from that region.
Aside from reduced trade restrictions that are standard for these organizations, APEC has come up with a few really brilliant ideas. Their goal is to make it easy for businesses to engage in commerce with each other– and by facilitating business at the individual level, more deals get done, and more wealth is created.
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