At APEC’s tenth anniversary, global trade liberalisation is at a standstill. Although the financial crisis of 1998 has now retreated, it has undermined the momentum of global policy makers in regard to financial issues. International institutions, including APEC, have come under attack for their lacklustre response to the crisis. Meanwhile, the United States is experiencing huge trade deficits, has failed to fast-track the new trade negotiating authority, and is beginning to yield to political pressures for protection in basic industries. The European Union is similarly yielding to domestic pressures for protection, and has repeatedly confronted the WTO over rulings concerning issues of symbolic, if not economic, importance.