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.
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's 21 member economies are:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Chinese Taipei
- Hong Kong, China
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- People's Republic of China
- Republic of Korea
- The Republic of the Philippines
- The Russian Federation
- United States of America
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.
- APEC Economic Leaders' Statement: Overcoming COVID-19 and Accelerating Economic Recovery
- APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement (5 June 2021)
- APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting – 2020 Kuala Lumpur Declaration (20 November 2020)
- APEC Ministerial Meeting 2020 – Joint Ministerial Meeting (16 November 2020)
- Ministers Responsible for Trade Virtual Meeting Joint Statement 2020 (25 July 2020)
- Statement on COVID-19 by APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (5 May 2020)
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 free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific.
Australia supports economic cooperation and spends $4.58 million annually in capacity-building activities to benefit APEC developing economies by:
- funding projects 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.
Australia's 2021 APEC Priorities
Australia's 2021 APEC priorities include:
- supporting COVID-19 recovery, including through the Statement on Services to Support the Movement of Essential Goods
- promoting trade and investment liberalisation, including updating the APEC Environmental Goods List, promoting services 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.
Building Resilient Global Supply Chains in the Asia-Pacific
Australia and the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA), led the APEC Global Supply Chains Resiliency Survey in 2020. With over 1,500 survey responses received from business, industry and governments across the Asia-Pacific, the survey examined the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains and its impact on SMEs and large businesses.
The survey highlights the transformation of supply chains, as a result of multiple disruptions, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the adoption of digital technologies. The report can be downloaded at: www.gtpalliance.com.
Handbook on Obligations in International Investment Treaties
The Australian-funded APEC Handbook is designed to help non-specialist government officials understand investment treaty obligations and the way they are applied to the day-to-day business of government. It is the first international resource of its kind and provides a valuable tool to help APEC economies manage their international obligations and take steps to avoid investment treaty disputes.
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:
Each year a different member economy hosts the major APEC meetings. This year's and future hosting economies are:
- 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 two business representatives appointed by APEC Leaders – Robert Milliner and Tom Harley. Further details on ABAC Australia and its business representatives can be found here. 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.
- Integration, Innovation, Inclusion: Moving Towards Economic Recovery and Resilience – Report to APEC Leaders 2020 [PDF]
- Inclusive and Collaborative Growth in the Digital Era – Report to APEC Leaders 2019 [PDF]
- Digitization and Innovation: Advancing Social Harmony – Report to APEC Leaders 2018 [PDF]
- Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future – Report to APEC Economic Leaders [PDF]
- Previous ABAC reports
- APEC Business Travel Card Scheme
- Australian Tariffs and Rules of Origin for APEC Economies – an APEC WebTR initiative
- APEC Trade Repository
- APEC Virtual Knowledge Centre on Services
- Media releases by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
- Handbook on Obligations in International Investment Treaties