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From Seattle to Singapore

Business Times - 10 Nov 2009


From Seattle to Singapore

America's free market model has, since 1993, been challenged by major geo-strategic setbacks and the global financial crisis. By LEON HADAR

WHEN then US President Bill Clinton convened the first APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Blake Island near Seattle, Washington, on Nov 19-20, 1993, America and the world seemed to be going through very dramatic political changes - not unlike today, when the 17th annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting opens in Singapore.

In 1993, the end of the Cold War, coupled with the ushering of the era of globalisation, had driven Washington to assert its leadership role in promoting free markets around the world and in liberalising global trade and investment. And the Pacific region was becoming a central arena for promoting this ambitious American geo-economic agenda.

Sixteen years later, in the aftermath of major geo-strategic setbacks and against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, America…