Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)


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.

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 Chief Executive Officer (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 members

World map showing APEC member countries highlighted

APEC has 21 member economies:

China, the Philippines, Peru and Viet Nam hosted APEC in 2014, 2015,  2016 and 2017 respectively. Papua New Guinea is hosting APEC in 2018.

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 hosted APEC in 2007.

APEC makes an important contribution to the promotion of open trade and investment, economic development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. 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 member economies. 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.

A full calendar of APEC events is available on APEC's official website.

Declarations and statements by APEC leaders and ministers

Media releases by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC)

Last Updated: 8 December 2017