This year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is underway in Papua New Guinea.

The Australian National University (ANU) has experts who can comment on APEC 2018, and what to look for from the summit.

The APEC 2018 theme is Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future.

They can be contacted directly, or through the ANU media hotline on 6125 7979.

Professor Rory Medcalf
Head of College, ANU National Security College
T: 0417 799 278
Expertise: Australian security, defence and foreign policy, international relations

“At this APEC summit, the institution’s longstanding trade agenda will be in the shade. Instead, the real attention is likely to be on the use by Xi Jinping of this summit to project Chinese power and influence in the South Pacific.

“Some big questions arise.

“How will Australia ensure that it remains the security and development partner of choice in its own backyard? Will the United States use APEC to signal its growing strategic competition with China? And can others leverage this summit season to chart a cooperative way forward?”

Professor Peter Drysdale
Head, ANU East Asian Bureau of Economic Research
Expertise: International economics, international relations, economic development

“Business as usual at APEC this week in Papua New Guinea won't suffice. To get the region back on track, APEC will have to help break major deadlocks on trade, finance and growth. The anti-globalisation movement strikes at the core of APEC's mission and objectives.

“The trade war has escalated at an alarming rate, with no clear end-game, despite the promised talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on the margins of the G20 summit.

“Tightening financial conditions and the rising US dollar threaten cascading crises in the region. Geopoitical tensions have increased. APEC's value is as a vehicle to work through big strategic issues. Now, more than ever, APEC cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel.”

Dr Adam Triggs
Director of Research, ANU East Asian Bureau of Economic Research
P: 0401 584 390
Expertise: International economics

“The APEC theme, ‘Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future’, is tone-deaf to the seriousness of the threats that face the region.

“There are practical things APEC can do to reduce the political and economic risks facing Asia.

“Promoting trade in services would halve the global imbalances fuelling political tensions without taking a backwards step on trade. Reforming and modernising the WTO will help bring countries back to the multilateral table. Deepening Asian capital markets and better coordinating crisis-response mechanisms will support stability and inclusion. A long-term infrastructure agenda aiming to raise public and private infrastructure investment by 40 per cent by 2040 would support sustainable growth.

“APEC must reinvigorate its agenda to better engage leaders.”

Professor Stephen Howes
Director, ANU Development Policy Centre, ANU Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 0400 167 936
Expertise: Foreign aid, PNG and the Pacific

“APEC is meant to be about reform and development. PNG could have used its hosting of APEC to push through important change in a range of critical policy areas. It hasn’t.

Whatever happens at the leaders’ meeting this year, in this fundamental sense APEC 2018 is a lost opportunity for its host.”

James Batley
Distinguished Policy Fellow, ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
T: 0439541515
Expertise: International Relations, government and politics of Asia and the Pacific

“Although they aren’t members of APEC, Pacific island leaders will be in the margins of the meeting in Port Moresby at the invitation of the APEC host, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. 

“APEC provides a key opportunity for Chinese President Xi to consolidate his relationships and influence with Pacific islands leaders.

“This meeting will be a test of whether the Morrison Government is able to manage China’s rising influence in PNG and the wider Pacific islands region.”


For media assistance, call the ANU media hotline 6125 7979.

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