What is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation?

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

 

History

APEC_RetroCredit: Bellavista Taller Estudio
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, was established in 1989. It started as an informal ministerial level dialogue group with 12 members comprising of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, and the United States. The APEC was initiated as an annual meeting of foreign and trade ministers to sustain the momentum of market opening and economic cooperation which are vital to the growth and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

What does APEC do?

APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region. For example, APEC’s initiatives to synchronize regulatory systems is a key step to integrating the Asia-Pacific economy. A product can be more easily exported with just one set of common standards across all economies.

Membership

APEC has 21 members. The word ‘economies’ is used to describe APEC members because the APEC cooperative process is predominantly concerned with trade and economic issues, with members engaging with one another as economic entities. The twenty one (21) member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Korea; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States and Viet Nam.

Member economies

Benefits

APEC has grown to become a dynamic engine of economic growth and one of the most important regional forums in the Asia-Pacific. Its 21 member economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 57 per cent of world GDP and 47 per cent of world trade in 2014. As a result of APEC’s work, growth has soared in the region, with real GDP doubling from just USD 16 trillion in 1989 to USD 31 trillion in 2013. Meanwhile, residents of the Asia-Pacific saw their per capita income rise by 45 per cent, lifting millions out of poverty and creating a growing middle class in just over two decades.

Bringing the region closer together, reducing trade barriers, and smoothing out differences in regulations have boosted trade which, in turn, has led to this dramatic increase in prosperity. Average tariffs fell from 17 per cent in 1989 to 5.2 per cent in 2012. During that same time period, the APEC region’s total trade increased over seven times—outpacing the rest of the world with two-thirds of this trade occurring between member economies.


For further details, please visit: www.apec.org