APEC (which stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation according to AbbreviationFinder) was founded in 1989 with the aim of contributing to welfare and development in Asia-Pacific through free trade cooperation between countries. The current issues include attempts to introduce free trade in the region. The organization’s highest leader is called Muhamad Noor. APEC has 21 member countries.


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was started in 1989 as a discussion forum for regional economic cooperation, especially in trade and investment.

An important reason for the formation was also that they wanted to create agreement in connection with the ongoing negotiations on global free trade.

APEC currently has 21 members. When Peru, Russia and Vietnam joined the organization in 1998, APEC decided not to accept any new members for the next ten years.

APEC members promised in 1993 to introduce free trade in the APEC region by 2020 (2010 for the industrialized countries). In recent years, however, tariff cuts and the dismantling of trade barriers have been sluggish. The Asian crisis of 1997–1999 and its severe consequences for several previously successful Asian economies also dampened optimism about cooperation and APEC as an organization diminished in importance.

The structure

APEC acts as a forum for the countries of the Pacific region where they can meet at different levels and discuss trade and economic cooperation. Decisions on important policy issues are made by consensus, ie by consensus.

The highest level at which the members meet is the “economic leadership meetings” with heads of state and government or equivalent. The first leadership meeting was held in 1993 in Seattle.

Ministerial meetings are also held annually with Foreign and Economic Affairs Ministers. In addition to these meetings, ministers responsible for other areas such as energy, environment, telecommunications, transport, etc. also meet.

Officials at lower levels meet several times a year. The working groups involved in the region’s collaborative projects in various areas are helpful. There is a Trade and Investment Committee which, through various measures, seeks to simplify the exchange of goods, services and technology in the region, an Economic Analysis Committee which conducts research on economic trends, a Budget Committee and a Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

The APEC governments are also trying to involve the private sector in their work. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has three representatives from the private sector from each member state.

In 1992, APEC set up a permanent secretariat in Singapore. The secretariat coordinates the work of the committees and working groups and is chaired by a CEO from APEC’s chairmanship during the year.

APEC – The business

At the 1995 ministerial meeting in Osaka, the APEC countries agreed that cooperation should rest on three pillars: liberalizing trade and investment, facilitating investment in other countries, and economic and technical cooperation.

A number of principles would apply to the work, one of which was that the activities would be conducted in accordance with WTO guidelines on, among other things, non-discrimination, which means that APEC members must not be discriminated against in trade between them: the same customs and the same rules should apply to everyone.

The Trade and Investment Committee plays an important role and has, for example, reported on regional barriers to trade and mapped out members’ liberalization measures.

A significant part of the technical and financial cooperation takes place in APEC’s working groups. There are working groups in a number of widely differing areas, such as agriculture, energy, human resource development, fisheries, industrial science and technology, telecommunications and transport.

Tourism is one of the region’s most important industries and within APEC there is a working group that only deals with collecting statistics on tourism and pointing out obstacles to its development.


Brief History

The 1999 meeting was held in September in Auckland, New Zealand. However, economic issues were overshadowed by the situation in East Timor, where pro-Indonesian militias marched and killed and deported East Timorese who were for independence from Indonesia. The APEC meeting in Brunei in November 2000 focused to a large extent on the Internet and electronic commerce. Among other things, it was agreed to strive for more people to have access to the internet and it was decided to draw up an action plan for the new economy. When the finance ministers met in Shanghai in October 2001, security issues came to play an important role in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The countries agreed to jointly fight international terrorism. In the Shanghai agreement, APEC members drew up guidelines for continued cooperation. A special strategy for Internet transactions and security issues in information technology was also adopted. In 2003, a special counter-terrorism group was set up.

When the finance ministers met in Bangkok in 2003, they agreed to help breathe new life into the WTO’s so – called Doha Round. The following year, the Member States expressed their support for the agreements finally reached in the Doha Round in July 2004. At the APEC meeting in Busan, South Korea in 2005, a review was presented of how far the members had come towards achieving the free trade targets set in Bogor. It was all considered to go according to schedule. A roadmap was adopted by the members for the continued work. Other issues raised were again counter-terrorism and how to deal with threatening pandemics, such as bird flu.