APEC’s Mid-Life Crisis? The Rise and Fall of Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization
This article examines the progress of the Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) initiative within APEC, tracing serious tensions that have emerged within the regional regime. First, EVSL developed as a possible answer to the uncertainty in APEC over whether it exists as an end in itself or as a means to other ends. Second, EVSL demonstrated clearly the problems that can occur in APEC's deductive "pledge-then-deliver" approach to negotiating new initiatives. Third, the process of packaging fifteen EVSL sectors for liberalization became in part a challenge to the principle of consensus, at the core of the regime. Finally, the divisions caused by EVSL can be seen as suggesting the rise of rival blocs within APEC. While the demise of EVSL has mitigated some of these tensions, some of its ramifications could yet appear.