The United States is currently in the process of concluding a multilateral agreement with Canada and Mexico, one of the largest in the world. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) increased trade by 300 per cent between 1994 and 2009. Multilateral agreements have many advantages, including reducing tariffs and facilitating the import and export of goods for businesses. The main drawback of multilateral agreements is that they are complex. This makes them difficult and tedious to negotiate. Sometimes the length of the negotiations means that it will not take place at all. Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) for Clean Development and Climate was founded in July 2005. Aspects of Taplin and McGee`s (2010) discussion on the development and implications of the APP are repeated here. The APP is a multilateral agreement between Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea (Korea) and the United States. At the international level, partnership is a soft right, a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding for international cooperation in the fields of development, energy, the environment and climate change (Taplin and McGee, 2010). Cooperation involves transferring clean technologies and facilitating procedures that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, this agreement allows Member States to voluntarily set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, without any binding implementation mechanism or obligation to achieve these targets.
The partnership also promotes the national goal, based on greenhouse gas intensity targets, i.e. the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per economic unit. The United States and Australia encouraged the creation, with the partnership supported by Canada in October 2007. It has been touted as a new model for an international climate agreement and as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol. In recent years, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the implementation in relation to the Kyoto Protocol and whether the partnership is a model of multilateral action against climate change that could replace the protocol, particularly in the months leading up to COP15. However, as a model opposed to kyoto, it violates the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) common but differentiated responsibilities and hence the symbolic contribution to the disintegration of climate policy (Taplin and McGee, 2010). Cooperation rather than competition should ideally be the future of the relationship between the APP and the UNFCCC/KYOTO. Industry is already involved in clean development, emissions trading and technology transfer under the UN climate regime, which allows for a certain synchronization between the APP and Kyoto. For example, APP countries outside the Kyoto Protocol architecture could be involved in the multilateral emissions trading system.