Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an intergovernmental forum responsible for facilitating the Asia-Pacific region's economic growth and trade and investment policies. It is notable for not requiring treaty obligations of its member-participants; instead, its members' commitments are voluntary.
Then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke first introduced the idea of an intergovernmental Asia-Pacific forum in a speech he delivered in January 1989.
APEC was established later that year, when twelve Asia-Pacific countries met in an informal Ministerial level dialogue. These countries were Australia, Canada, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand and the United States.
APEC meetings from 1989 to 1992 were largely informal. However, in 1993, then US President Bill Clinton set the practice of an annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.
In 1996, the forum approved and accepted the Manila Action Plan for APEC (MAPA), which outlined the trade liberalization according to the Bogor Goals. Member-countries also outlined their Individual Action Plans for achieving their economic goals.
APEC committed to paperless trading in 1999. That same year, the forum also approved the Travel Card Scheme and endorsed the Framework for Integration of Women in APEC.
In 2007, participating countries issued a Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security, and Clean Development for the first time. They also adopted a new APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan which aimed to decrease trade transaction costs by five percent.
APEC shifted its focus towards the social dimensions of trade in 2008, formulating economic measures aiming to restore stability and growth of member countries' finances.
The main goal of the Asia Pacific Cooperation forum is to support and facilitate economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. It aims to make way for free trade and open investments, as well as regional economic and financial integration.
Since its foundation, APEC has consistently designed measures geared towards reducing tariffs and barriers that would impede free flow of goods.
APEC currently has 21 member countries and economies.
- Brunei Darussalam
- People's Republic of China
- Hong Kong, China
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- The Philippines
- Chinese Taipei
- The United States
Operations and Funding
All the projects of the APEC are funded by voluntary contributions from its members. Its three main sources of funding are the following:
- The APEC Operational Account which consists of the member economies' annual contributions.
- The Trade and Investment Liberalisation and Facilitation Special Account derived from voluntary contributions, which funds cooperational projects that help members attain free trade requirements.
- The APEC Support Fund, funded by donations from other economies, is geared towards capacity-building, including the areas of pandemic solution and development of technology and energy efficiency.
- "About APEC." Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).
- "History." Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).
- "Member Economies." Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).
- "Mission Statement." Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).
- "Projects." Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).