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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the leading forum in the Asia-Pacific to facilitate trade and investment, economic growth, and regional cooperation.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Leadership team

Anthony Albanese (Prime Minister, Australia)

Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan, Brunei)

Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Canada)

Gabriel Boric (President, Chile)

Xi Jinping (President, China)

John Lee (Chief Executive, Hong Kong)

Joko Widodo (President, Indonesia)

Fumio Kishida (Prime Minister, Japan)

Yoon Suk-yeol (President, South Korea)

Anwar Ibrahim (Prime Minister, Malaysia)

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (President, Mexico)

Chris Hipkins (Prime Minister, New Zealand)

James Marape (Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea)

Dina Boluarte (President, Peru)

Bongbong Marcos (President, Phillipines)

Vladimir Putin (President, Russia)

Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister, Singapore)

Tsai Ing-wen (President, Taiwan)

Prayut Chan-o-cha (Prime Minister, Thailand)

Joe Biden (President, United States)

Võ Van Thoung (President, Vietnam)

Headquarters
Singapore
Region served
Asia-Pacific
Year stablished
1989
Address
35 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore , Singapore, Singapore 119616, SG
Social Media
Summary

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC is an intergovernmental grouping that operates on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

APEC's 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Republic of the Philippines, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America, and Viet Nam.

The APEC Secretariat is based in Singapore and operates as the core support mechanism for the APEC process. It provides coordination, technical and advisory support as well as information management, communications and public outreach services.

The APEC Secretariat performs a central project management role, assisting APEC Member Economies and APEC fora with overseeing more than 250 APEC-funded projects. APEC's annual budget is also administered by the APEC Secretariat.


History

APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, was established in 1989 with the participation of 12 economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. The idea of APEC was initially proposed by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke in a speech in Seoul, Korea, in January 1989. In the following months, the founding members convened in Canberra to establish APEC officially.

During the period from 1989 to 1992, APEC operated as an informal dialogue among senior officials and ministers. However, in 1993, former US President Bill Clinton initiated the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to provide a higher level of strategic direction and cooperation in the region.

Over the years, APEC expanded its membership, with China, Hong Kong, China, and Chinese Taipei joining in 1991, followed by Mexico and Papua New Guinea in 1993, and Chile in 1994. In 1998, Peru, Russia, and Viet Nam became APEC members, bringing the total membership to 21 economies.

Each year, APEC holds a summit in which leaders gather to discuss key issues and set the agenda for the organization. The host economy takes the lead in organizing the summit and shaping the discussions. Here are some significant milestones from recent APEC summits:

In 2021, the APEC summit was held virtually, hosted by Wellington, New Zealand. The focus was on responding to the economic and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders worked toward recovery, facilitated trade in COVID-19 vaccines, and addressed climate change. They also launched the Putrajaya Vision 2040 and developed the Aotearoa Plan of Action.

The 2020 APEC summit, hosted by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, took place virtually due to the global pandemic. Leaders aimed to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 through coordinated action and cooperation. They committed to protecting lives, ensuring trade and investment continuity, and promoting inclusive economic policies. The La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth was implemented, and the Putrajaya Vision 2040 was introduced.

Santiago, Chile hosted the 2019 APEC summit, which emphasized the importance of inclusivity and environmental concerns. The La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth was finalized, focusing on empowering women in the economy. Efforts to address marine debris and combat illegal fishing were also significant achievements.

The 2018 APEC summit was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, under the theme of "Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future." Leaders emphasized the importance of trade liberalization and facilitation, as well as inclusive growth through innovation and digital technologies.

In 2017, the APEC summit took place in Da Nang, Viet Nam, with the theme "Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future." Leaders emphasized the importance of a rules-based multilateral trading system and committed to strengthening micro and small enterprises, harnessing the potential of the internet and digital economy, and ensuring food security.

In April 2001, APEC, in collaboration with five other international organisations (Eurostat, IEA, OLADE [es], OPEC and the UNSD) launched the Joint Oil Data Exercise, which in 2005 became the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI).


Goals and Purpose

The goals and purposes of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) are centered around promoting economic growth, trade liberalization, and regional integration in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC aims to foster sustainable economic development and prosperity for all its member economies.

One of the primary goals of APEC is to enhance trade and investment among its member economies. APEC works towards reducing trade barriers, eliminating tariffs, and simplifying customs procedures to facilitate the flow of goods, services, and capital across borders. By promoting regional economic integration and trade liberalization, APEC aims to create a seamless and efficient business environment that benefits all participating economies.

APEC also recognizes the importance of structural reforms to improve the business climate and enhance competitiveness. It focuses on regulatory reform, corporate governance, transparency, and the development of legal infrastructure. By promoting transparent and predictable regulatory practices, APEC aims to create a level playing field for businesses, attract investments, and foster a supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Connectivity is another key aspect of APEC's goals. APEC seeks to strengthen physical infrastructure linkages, improve transportation networks, and enhance information and communication technology within the region. By connecting economies and facilitating the movement of people, goods, and ideas, APEC aims to promote economic integration and regional cooperation.

APEC is committed to sustainable and inclusive growth. It recognizes the importance of addressing environmental challenges and promoting clean technologies. APEC endeavors to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It also focuses on promoting inclusive growth by nurturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and ensuring the participation of all members of society in the benefits of economic development.


Impact

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has emerged as a dynamic force for economic growth and a crucial regional forum in the Asia-Pacific. Comprised of 21 member economies with a combined population of around 2.9 billion people, APEC represents approximately 60 percent of global GDP and 48 percent of global trade in 2018. APEC's efforts have fostered substantial growth in the region, with real GDP soaring from USD 19 trillion in 1989 to USD 46.9 trillion in 2018. This economic progress has led to a 74 percent increase in per capita income, lifting millions out of poverty and establishing a burgeoning middle class in less than three decades.

A key factor behind this prosperity has been APEC's focus on reducing trade barriers, promoting regional economic integration, and harmonizing regulations among member economies. Average tariffs within the APEC region dropped from 17 percent in 1989 to 5.3 percent in 2018. The region's total trade expanded more than sevenfold during this period, surpassing global growth rates, with two-thirds of this trade occurring between member economies.

APEC has implemented various initiatives to integrate economies, facilitate trade, and address sustainability and social equity concerns. One of its notable achievements is the progress made in achieving the Bogor Goals, which aim for free and open trade and investment in the region by 2020. APEC has focused on trade facilitation, streamlining customs procedures, and reducing costs at the border. The Trade Facilitation Action Plan, launched in 1994, successfully achieved a region-wide 5 percent reduction in costs at the border between 2004 and 2006, and an additional 5 percent decrease between 2007 and 2010. These efforts have resulted in substantial savings of USD 58.7 billion for businesses in the Asia-Pacific.

APEC also prioritizes improving the ease of doing business across the region. Its Ease of Doing Business Action Plan, initiated in 2009, aims to make business operations cheaper, easier, and faster. Between 2009 and 2013, APEC member economies collectively improved the ease of doing business by 11.3 percent in various areas, including starting a business, obtaining credit, and acquiring permits. Notably, APEC has expedited the process for constructing new facilities, reducing the time required for obtaining construction permits by 18.7 percent over four years.

APEC has implemented several initiatives to streamline customs procedures and improve trade facilitation. One such initiative is the Single Window system, which allows companies to submit export-import documents electronically, reducing bureaucracy and eliminating the need for multiple agency visits. By 2013, 14 APEC economies had adopted various stages of the Single Window system, with the aim of having all 21 members on board by 2020.

APEC also focuses on structural reforms to address behind-the-border barriers to trade. It promotes transparency, competition, and better functioning markets through regulatory reform, improved governance, and strengthened legal infrastructure. APEC has made progress in ensuring new government laws are communicated publicly and their costs and benefits are assessed.

Connectivity is a key area of focus for APEC, aiming to improve physical infrastructure linkages, people mobility, and institutional ties across the Asia-Pacific. The Connectivity Blueprint outlines initiatives to enhance information technology, transportation infrastructure, and travel facilitation for students, business people, and tourists.

To simplify business travel, APEC introduced the APEC Business Travel Card, which provides pre-approved frequent business travelers with visa clearance and fast-track entry at major international airports. Additionally, APEC is working on improving supply chain connectivity, addressing regulatory impediments, customs procedures, and infrastructure bottlenecks to enhance the efficiency of regional supply chains.

APEC is committed to promoting clean technologies and greener growth. It has lowered tariffs on environmental goods, encouraging the development and trade of products such as solar panels and wind turbines. APEC member economies have also committed to reducing energy intensity and increasing the share of renewables in the region's energy mix. Efforts are underway to develop low-carbon model towns and support the integration of clean power sources into existing grids.

Nurturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is a crucial aspect of APEC's agenda. It has launched various initiatives to enhance SME competitiveness, promote entrepreneurship, and improve business ethics. APEC has also focused on enhancing social equity by providing computer skills training to vulnerable communities through the APEC Digital Opportunity Center, empowering individuals and improving livelihoods.


References
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Leadership team

Anthony Albanese (Prime Minister, Australia)

Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan, Brunei)

Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister, Canada)

Gabriel Boric (President, Chile)

Xi Jinping (President, China)

John Lee (Chief Executive, Hong Kong)

Joko Widodo (President, Indonesia)

Fumio Kishida (Prime Minister, Japan)

Yoon Suk-yeol (President, South Korea)

Anwar Ibrahim (Prime Minister, Malaysia)

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (President, Mexico)

Chris Hipkins (Prime Minister, New Zealand)

James Marape (Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea)

Dina Boluarte (President, Peru)

Bongbong Marcos (President, Phillipines)

Vladimir Putin (President, Russia)

Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister, Singapore)

Tsai Ing-wen (President, Taiwan)

Prayut Chan-o-cha (Prime Minister, Thailand)

Joe Biden (President, United States)

Võ Van Thoung (President, Vietnam)

Headquarters
Singapore
Region served
Asia-Pacific
Year stablished
1989
Address
35 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore , Singapore, Singapore 119616, SG
Social Media