The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989. Its primary purpose is to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in the region, with the vision of creating a seamless regional economy. APEC pursues these objectives through trade and investment liberalisation, business facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation.
APEC aims to strengthen regional economic integration by removing impediments to trade and investment “at the border”, enhancing supply chain connectivity "across the border" and improving the business environment "behind the border". It endeavours to improve the operating environment for business by reducing the cost of cross-border trade, improving access to trade information and simplifying regulatory and administrative processes. APEC also assists member economies build the institutional capacity to implement and take advantage of the benefits of trade and investment reform. APEC supports the multilateral trade negotiations underway in the WTO, and complements the goals of the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Private sector engagement is central to APEC's success. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), established in 1995, represents the interests of business in APEC. ABAC is composed of up to three members from each of the 21 member economies, with business representatives appointed by APEC Leaders. The annual APEC CEO Summit and regular Industry Dialogues also provide opportunities for regional business leaders to interact with APEC and address key issues affecting business in the region.
APEC operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.
The APEC Secretariat is based in Singapore. It provides coordination, technical and advisory support as well as information management, communications and public outreach services. The Secretariat is headed by a fixed-term Executive Director, appointed for a period of three years. The Secretariat is also home to the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU). The PSU assists APEC's deliberations by providing research, analysis and policy support. More information on APEC, including its structure, committees and activities, can be found on APEC's official website.
APEC has 21 member economies:
Indonesia, China and the Philippines hosted APEC in 2013, 2014 & 2015 respectively. Peru will host APEC in 2016.
Australia in APEC
Australia was a founding member of the APEC forum in 1989 and has been active in helping APEC achieve its current status. Australia has helped advance APEC's core work streams of regional economic integration, structural reform and targeted capacity building through its involvement across more than 30 APEC forums (including committees, working groups and sub-forums). Australia played host to APEC in 2007.
APEC makes an important contribution to the promotion of open trade and investment, economic development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Australia has benefited from APEC's dynamism. Significant progress has been made by Australia and the region towards achieving the Bogor Goals [PDF 1.19 MB] of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2020. APEC's 21 member economies account for over half of global GDP and are home to more than 2.7 billion people. APEC partners account for over two-thirds of Australia's total trade in goods and services.
Publication: The APEC Region Trade and Investment
Australia supports economic cooperation and capacity-building activities for the benefit of APEC developing members. In addition to Australian led activities, the Australian aid program contributes to APEC Secretariat managed project funding, targeting supply chain connectivity, structural reform and other high APEC priorities. This work is complemented by support for APEC economic policy research and analysis and project management reforms within the APEC Secretariat to maximise the effectiveness of APEC activities.
Publication: Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14 East Asia Regional Program
Upcoming APEC meetings
||Type of meeting
|15-28 August 2016
||Third Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings (SOM3)
|9 September 2016
||Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting
|26-27 September 2016
||Food Security Ministerial Meeting
|4-6 October 2016
||Education Ministerial Meeting
|14-15 October 2016
||Lima (TBC), Peru
||Finance Ministerial Meeting
|14-15 November 2016
||Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting (CSOM)
|17-18 November 2016
||APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM)
|17-19 November 2016
||APEC CEO Summit
|19-20 November 2016
||APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM)
A full calendar of APEC events is available on APEC's official website.
Declarations and statements by APEC leaders and ministers
- APEC 2015 Leaders’ Declaration and annexes, Manila, Philippines, 19 November 2015
- APEC Ministerial Meeting Statement and annexes, Manila, Philippines, 17 November 2015
- APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement, Boracay, Philippines 23-24 May 2015
- Statement on supporting the Multilateral Trading System, Boracay, Philippines, 23-24 May 2015
- Statement on the 25th Anniversary of APEC - Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership, Beijing, China, 11 November, 2014
- APEC 2014 Leaders’ Declaration and annexes, Beijing, China, 10-11 November 2014
- APEC Ministerial Meeting Statement and annexes, Beijing, China, 7-8 November 2014
- APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement, Qingdao, China, 17-18 May 2014
- Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System, Qingdao, China, 17 May 2014
Media releases by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade and Investment
- Visit to Manila for APEC ministerial meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 15 November 2015
- Robb departs for APEC and Indonesia, Minister for Trade and Investment, 15 November 2015
- Infrastructure and APEC focus of Robb’s Philippines visit, Minister for Trade and Investment, 21 May 2015
- Foreign Minister visit to China for APEC Ministerial Meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 6 November 2014
- Robb departs for China FTA and APEC talks, Minister for Trade and Investment, 6 November 2014
- Trade Minister in APEC and TPP talks, Minister for Trade and Investment, 16 May 2014
APEC Business Advisory Council