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Elizaveta Safonkina

The Role of Business in Regional Governance: The Case of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in APEC

2016. Vol. 11. No. 3. P. 37–66 [issue contents]
In the modern globalized world, the international relations landscape is like a cake decorated with powder and other toppings. The international agenda is determined by the traditional actors – states (“flour, milk and other ingredients without which the cake could not be baked”) as set out in the theory of liberal intergovernmentalism. But a large number of non-governmental actors (“the decorative powder and toppings, but the cake is edible without them”) present their proposals and initiatives to the states, which states reflect on in their official documents. These proposals and initiatives tend to be mainly aligned with the states’ policies. This dialogue is important in making the international decision-making process legitimate, but does not mean that non-governmental actors are fully engaged in designing the international cooperation agenda. In this article the author tests this hypothesis through studying the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).The author explores how the Asia-Pacific business priorities promoted by ABAC since its establishment in 1996 correspond with the key objectives and policies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum as well as ABAC’s internal and external communication model to access the ABAC actorness. The official ABAC and APEC documents constituted the evidence base for the analysis. Research methods include qualitative content and comparative historical analyses. The author concludes that ABAC has the characteristics of a formal actor in Asia-Pacific regional governance. It could therefore be considered a full-fledged partner in the APEC leaders’ documents although ABAC has no capacity to change the regional agenda. From an economic perspective, this phenomenon could be explained by the fact that the states and businesses in the region have common interests because states need business-led growth and business needs the robust competition that trade and investment liberalization can provide.
Citation: Safonkina E. (2016) The Role of Business in Regional Governance: The Case of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in APEC. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 11, no 3, pp. 37-66 (in Russian and English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2016-03-37.
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