The fast-growing economies of Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador are three Latin American countries that are attempting to gain membership into the forum called the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation. Established in 1989, APEC is currently made up of 21 Asian nations that have joined to promote amongst other things, fair and free trade. APEC is widely accepted as a major success as it has brought down many of the regulatory barriers to free trade that once existed between member nations. It is believed that Central American nations will greatly benefit from the enhanced free trade environment created by the treaty.
From 1989 to 2015, GDP of member states has increased by 25% from $16 billion to $20 billion. APEC was formed to open new markets beyond Europe for agricultural products and raw materials. Being a leading source of raw materials, precious metals and agricultural products, Latin American countries of Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama all would benefit economically from inclusion into the trading agreement. Per capita income of the 21 member nation has on average almost doubled during the period, up 74% and lifting millions of people throughout Asia out of poverty and into the middle class.
APEC basically makes it easier to trade across borders as special privileges are afforded APEC member countries when trading internationally. Trade barriers have been brought down, standards and regulations have been brought into harmony, customs procedures have been streamlined and as a result, goods are able to move across member country's borders more easily.
One of the major achievements of the Treaty is border and customs efficiencies. It is estimated that regional reduction in customs-related trade barriers alone has saved member nations about $58 billion between 2007 and 2010. Starting a business has become more efficient as well. The time it now takes to start a small business has fallen from 28.5 days down to 14 days over the last 6 years. Other areas where APEC sites achievements are in the fields of construction permits. The average time to receive a business construction permit has fallen from 167 days in 2009 to 136 days in 2015.
The foreign investment law attorneys at CENTRAL LAW are experienced and knowledgeable in advising clients who are looking to establish a company within the region and who need to operate in areas with low or no taxes, such as free trade zones, which have a regulatory framework very attractive to companies from different industries.