History of the Committee
Since 1997, France has been an associate member of a unique regional organization, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PECC). Based in Singapore, it was founded in the 1980s to facilitate the integration of South-East Asian countries into the world economy. It has enabled countries on both sides of the Pacific, from the United States to China, from Peru to Indonesia, from Mexico to Thailand, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, to share best practices and existing normative systems at conferences gathering diplomats, entrepreneurs and researchers. This work has fueled, and continues to do so, the key political meetings of APEC, which unites 27 countries in the region accounting for 65% of the world economy.
We owe France's participation in this regional organization to the vision and tenacity of Michel Rocard, the architect of the first Nouméa agreements in 1988 when he was Prime Minister, on behalf of its Pacific territories, namely New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, all of which host local sections of our committee. Since 1997, the France Pacific Territories Committee has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the organization, holding three seminars a year on a variety of economic themes, always closely involving territories in their development as well as French companies seeking to develop in the region.
Under the presidency of Pascal Lamy, who succeeded Michel Rocard in 2016, the committee continues to operate energetically, positioning itself as one of France's main tools of influence in the vast Pacific region. Since the strategic pivot of the United States in response to the geostrategic re-emergence of China, the world's attention is increasingly focused on these areas where the future of world peace and prosperity seems to be at stake. The proliferation of regional strategies and the ongoing redrawing of the borders of this immense maritime space, partly through the new term of the Indo-Pacific, is a particular illustration of it.
Meanwhile, given its apolitical profile - it is economies, not states, that are members of the organization - the Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee has managed to remain largely separate from the geostrategic rivalry between the United States and the People's Republic of China, to the benefit of reflection and, above all, of economic and technical cooperation in the commercial, industrial and scientific fields. In a unique way among regional and international organizations, the PECC hosts economic committees from the PRC, Taipei and Hong Kong, which coexist in the governance of the organization.
It is all the more remarkable that France can convey with constancy and discretion, by the clarity and relevance of its contributions, its vision of the major issues of contemporary economic cooperation, with the prospect of its territories being integrated ever better into the regional economy in the service of a shared and sustainable prosperity. Naturally, with the growing interest of the European Union in the region, the committee also increasingly relays the European vision, whether in environmental or digital governance matters.
Composed of passionate volunteers for French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna as well as for the greater Asia-Pacific region, the committee intends to keep working actively for the integration of these territories in the region, and to promote a vision of sustainable economic development that always puts people at the heart of its concerns.
The next seminars organized in Tahiti, on 30 and 31 May on the blue economy, and on 1 June on sustainable tourism in partnership with the American PECC committee, and then in Chile in October, will provide ample evidence to that effect.