Spain is working towards enhancing its economic relations with nations in the Asia-Pacific. The image shows the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, together with his counterpart from Singapore, K. Shanmugam, during his visit to the country in November 2012.
Regional Architecture

The proliferation of activities aimed at fostering free trade agreements is leading towards the integration of nations in the Asia-Pacific, a region that generates 53% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

After Europe, Asia-Pacific is the continent with the most developed regional architecture. Its structuring commenced with the creation of ASEAN in 1967, which has meant that this association has played a key role in the process. The regional architecture has undergone many far-reaching changes in its structure to adapt to the new backdrop following the Cold War.

The main forums that exist in the region are, in alphabetical order:

  • ADMM: Meeting of ASEAN defence ministers. This forum serves so that defence ministers can exchange opinions on defence issues and promote mutual trust.
  • ADMM + 8: Meeting of ASEAN defence ministers and their counterparts from Australia, South Korea, China, the USA, India, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. It operates on a triennial basis. 
  • APEC (Cooperación Económica Asia-Pacífico): This joins together 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific with the aim of boosting economic development and free trade among its members.
  • ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum): This comprises the 10 countries of ASEAN plus Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, North Korea, South Korea, China, the USA, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka, East Timor and the EU. It provides a forum for its members to discuss security issues and develop cooperation measures.
  • ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations): This brings together Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Its General Secretariat is in Jakarta. The Rotating Presidency fell to Burma in 2014 and to Malaysia in 2015. It is scheduled to form part of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015.
  • ASEM: Forum for political dialogue created in 1996. It comprises 51 countries and two international organisations: the European Union and the ASEAN. It represents 60% of the world's population, 60% of the world's GDP and 60% of global commerce.  In 2018, the EU will host the ASEM Summit, which will be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October under the tile "Global partners for global challenges". The next meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be held in Madrid in 2019.
  • EAS (East Asia Summit): This gathers together the 10 Member States of ASEAN plus Australia, South Korea, China, the USA (since 2011), India, Japan, New Zealand and Russia (since 2011). It is a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation.
  • CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership): It was created after withdrawal of the United States from the TPP as an alternative by the remaining 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Peru and Vietnam). It was signed on 8 March 2018 in Santiago de Chile.
  • Pacific Alliance: This was formed in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Spain, Japan, New Zealand, Panama and Uruguay are Observer States. Its aim is to enhance economic integration among its members and boost trade relations.

 

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