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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 2.9 billion people and make up over 60 per cent of global GDP. APEC partners make up around 75 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's work is guided by the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, which is for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040. This will be achieved by pursuing three economic drivers:

  • trade and investment
  • innovation and digitalisation
  • strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth.

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

APEC members

World map showing APEC member countries highlighted

APEC's 21 member economies are:

Recent APEC Leaders' Declarations and Ministerial-level Statements

Hosting APEC

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

  • 2022 – Thailand
  • 2023 – United States of America
  • 2024 – Peru
  • 2025 – Korea

Australia in APEC

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

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

  • funding projects that target APEC priorities
  • supporting APEC economic policy research and analysis
  • supporting project management reforms within the APEC Secretariat to improve APEC effectiveness.

Australia's 2022 APEC Priorities

Australia's 2022 APEC priorities include:

  • supporting the multilateral trading system and the WTO
  • promoting trade and investment liberalisation, including supporting trade in environmental goods and services, promoting services competitiveness and mutual recognition of professional qualifications in APEC
  • advancing APEC's digital trade agenda
  • leading work on structural reform
  • promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, including through capacity building initiatives on gender data and women's access to markets and supporting indigenous business internationalisation.

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:

APEC and business

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) was formed in 1995. Each of the 21 member economies has up to 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. Further details on ABAC Australia and its business representatives can be found on the ABAC Australia website.

ABAC reports

Key publications

APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC region by streamlining the entry process into APEC economies.

Successful applicants from fully participating economies are issued with a virtual five-year card that serves as the entry authority to other fully participating economies that have granted pre-clearance for short-term business travel of up to 60 or 90 days. The card also enables holders to fast-track immigration processing at each economy’s major international airports.

For more information about the eligibility criteria for Australian applicants, and to determine if you are eligible for an ABTC please refer to Business Travel Card for Australian citizens.

The APEC Business Travel Card is managed by the Department of Home Affairs, for further inquiries please contact ABTC@homeaffairs.gov.au.

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