Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

12 January 2007

APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), Canberra 15-26 January 2007

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will host Australia’s first meeting as chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2007 in Canberra from 15-26 January.  Around 1000 delegates from APEC’s twenty one member economies will attend the meetings in Canberra.

These meetings mark the return after nearly 18 years of the APEC forum to Canberra where the inaugural APEC Ministerial Meeting was held on 6-7 November 1989. Twelve economies attended the first meeting.

The APEC program in Canberra will commence with a meeting of APEC Senior Officials who are charged with oversighting the development and implementation of APEC’s work program.  Australia’s Ambassador for APEC, Mr David Spencer, will chair the Senior Officials Meeting which will be followed by eight days of expert meetings on issues ranging from trade, economic policy, health, customs, counter-terrorism, biotechnology, business mobility and standards and conformance.

The Senior Officials Meeting is expected to set out the work program for APEC in the lead up to the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Sydney in September.

APEC now comprises 21 economies and is the pre-eminent forum for cooperation in the Asia Pacific region. APEC economies account for 40% of world population, 56% of world GDP and around 48% of world trade.  APEC economies account for 69% of Australia’s total international trade, and Australia’s total trade with APEC members exceeded $250 billion in 2005. Eight out of Australia’s top ten export markets are APEC members. In addition, APEC economies supply 40% of inward investment to Australia, and account for 63% of outward investment.  They are a major source of tourists and students.

* The member economies of APEC are:

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, Vietnam

Media Inquiries:  DFAT Media Liaison on 02 6261 1555