Conceptualizing the APEC Way: International Cooperation in a Non-Institutionalized Regime
Johnny Chi-Chen Chiang
APEC ； "APEC way" ； APEC results ； non-institutionalized cooperation regime ； international cooperation
Issues & Studies
|Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication||
36卷6期（2000 / 11 / 01）
177 - 204
Founded in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has included twenty-one members and incorporated a large variety of stages of economic development, economic and population sizes, ethnic groups, governments, political ideologies, cultures, and religions. This diversity has inevitably incurred some skepticism about APEC's functions, operations, and effectiveness. Many outside observers wonder what is really occurring in APEC. How do we best conceptualize this interaction? In order to address APEC's operations, this paper employs the analytical model of the non-institutionalized cooperation regime, with self-interest as its principle, voluntarism as its norm, flexible decision-making procedures, nonbinding rules, and no enforcement mechanisms. After examining the forum's operations, processes, and mechanisms, the paper concludes that APEC can be conceptualized as a particular kind of international regime wherein participants find it possible to pursue their own interests by voluntary compliance without binding commitments or enforcement mechanisms. The paper further identifies the possible issue outcomes of this kind of international cooperation regime and inductively categorizes and describes the results of APEC. As a consequence, the paper argues, that the so-called ”APEC way” is in effect behaving within a non-institutionalized cooperation regime.