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Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 Asia-Pacific economies. APEC's member economies are home to more than 2.7 billion people and make up over half of global GDP. APEC partners make up more than 70 per cent of Australia's total trade in goods and services. Closer regional economic integration contributes to Australian economic growth and prosperity.

About APEC

Australia was a founding member of APEC in 1989.

APEC was formed to encourage a growing and prosperous regional economy through:

  • trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation – at the border, across the border and behind the border
  • reduced costs of cross-border trade to assist businesses
  • economic and technical cooperation
  • exchanges of best practice information on trade and investment
  • simplified regulatory and administrative processes
  • improved institutional capacity to implement and take advantage of the benefits of trade and investment reform.

APEC decisions are reached by consensus, and commitments are made on a voluntary basis.

APEC's role in trade

APEC has been a success story on regional economic integration, acting as an incubator for new trade policy approaches. APEC works to combat protectionist pressures. These activities are increasingly important as we work towards economic recovery from COVID-19. We do so by:

  • supporting services integration
  • working towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
  • delivering strong advocacy for global value chains and open markets.

Recent Activities

APEC members

World map showing APEC member countries highlighted

APEC's 21 member economies are:

Australia in APEC

As a founding member, Australia is involved in more than 30 APEC sub-forums and most recently hosted APEC in 2007.

Through APEC, Australia works to drive economic growth within the region by promoting the advancement of regional economic integration and making progress on achieving the Bogor Goals [PDF] of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2020.

Australia supports economic cooperation and capacity-building activities to benefit APEC developing economies by:

  • funding projects (managed by the APEC Secretariat) that target APEC priorities including supply chain connectivity and structural reform
  • supporting APEC economic policy research and analysis
  • supporting project management reforms within the APEC Secretariat to improve APEC effectiveness.

APEC Study Centre Consortium (ASCC)

The APEC Study Centre Consortium (ASCC) is a group of more than 50 institutions undertaking research and academic discussions to support APEC goals for regional economic integration. Australia has two APEC Study Centres:

Hosting APEC

Each year a different member economy hosts the major APEC meetings. This years and future hosting economies are:

  • 2020 – Malaysia
  • 2021 – New Zealand
  • 2022 – Thailand

APEC and business

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) was formed in 1995. Each of the 21 member economies has three business representatives appointed by APEC Leaders. The annual APEC CEO Summit and regular events give APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) members opportunities to provide recommendations to APEC Leaders on key regional issues.

ABAC reports

Key publications


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