APEC is examining the prospects and options for a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region (FTAAP), which would include all APEC member countries. Since 2006, the APEC Business Advisory Council, which advocates the theory that a free trade area has the best chance of converging Member States and ensuring stable economic growth within the framework of free trade, has committed to creating a high-level task force to study and develop a free trade area plan. The proposed free trade agreement was born out of a lack of progress in the World Trade Organization negotiations in Doha and a way to overcome the spaghetti bowl effect created by divergent and contradictory elements of the umpteenth free trade agreements. There are approximately 60 free trade agreements and another 117 are located in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. The Kennedy Round took place from 1962 to 1967. $40 billion in tariffs have been eliminated or reduced. It is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was part of the Agreement on Health Protection and Plant Protection (SPS). It contains the fundamental principle that its requirements must be based on sound scientific knowledge, essential to avoid barriers to unfavourable trade, and provides that codex Alimentarius standards are fully taken into account. The SPS agreement applies to all relevant measures that could affect international trade and prohibits measures with an inconsistent or disguised protectionist effect, unless they are reasonable and based on sound scientific evidence. Article 5 clarifies this issue by providing that health and plant health measures must be based on a risk assessment, taking into account, in particular, internationally recognized assessment and control techniques. HACCP is such a technique applicable in the area of food security [Annex A (3) point a) ]. The agreement also created the World Trade Organization (WTO), which came into force on 1 January 1995.
The WTO implements the agreement, provides a forum for negotiating additional trade barriers and the settlement of political disputes, and enforces trade rules. The WTO launched the ninth round of multilateral trade negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda (DDP or Doha Round) in 2001. The WTO website contains information on the Doha Round, including links to the texts generated by the negotiations and information on upcoming meetings.