What is Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation?

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

APEC has 21 members. The word ‘economies’ is used to describe APEC members because the APEC cooperative process is predominantly concerned with trade and economic issues, with members engaging with one another as economic entities.

What Does APEC Do?

APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region. For example, APEC’s initiatives to synchronize regulatory systems is a key step to integrating the Asia-Pacific economy. A product can be more easily exported with just one set of common standards across all economies.

Sustainable and Inclusive Asia-Pacific

APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. For example, APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad. Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.

The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

APEC: Cooperation and Consensus

APEC operates as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. Member economies participate on the basis of open dialogue and respect for views of all participants. In APEC, all economies have an equal say and decision-making is reached by consensus. There are no binding commitments or treaty obligations. Commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis and capacity building projects help members implement APEC initiatives.

APEC’s structure is based on both a “bottom-up” and “top-down” approach. Four core committees and their respective working groups provide strategic policy recommendations to APEC Leaders and Ministers who annually set the vision for overarching goals and initiatives. The working groups are then tasked with implementing these initiatives through a variety of APEC-funded projects. Members also take individual and collective actions to carry out APEC initiatives in their individual economies with the assistance of APEC capacity building projects.

APEC Capacity Building Projects

Capacity building projects play an important role in helping translate APEC’s goals into reality. By enhancing members’ capacity through skills training and technological know-how, APEC-funded projects strengthen members’ readiness to adopt new initiatives from electronic customs processing to regulatory reform. APEC projects also target specific policy areas from enhancing small and medium enterprise competitiveness to facilitating the adoption of renewable energy technologies in the region.

The APEC Project Management Unit oversees APEC-funded projects in collaboration with working groups. Funding for projects is made possible by contributions from APEC members.

The APEC Policy Support Unit provides policy research, analysis and evaluation to assist in the implementation of APEC’s agenda.
The APEC process is supported by a permanent secretariat based in Singapore.

Independent Assessment of the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI)
Published DateOctober 2015
Type of PublicationReports
Publication UnderSOM Steering Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (SCE), Committees, Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI)
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This report contains an independent assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of APEC’s Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI).

APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040

Abstract: Putrajaya – Putrajaya, adjacent to Kuala Lumpur, is the administrative center of the Federation of Malaysia, where the Prime Minister’s Office and various government departments are located.

Our vision is an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations.

Remaining committed to APEC’s mission and its voluntary, non-binding and consensus-building principles, we will achieve this vision by pursuing the following three economic drivers:

Trade and Investment: To ensure that the Asia-Pacific remains the world’s most dynamic and interconnected regional economy, we acknowledge the importance of, and will continue to work together to deliver, a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment. We reaffirm our support for agreed upon rules of the WTO in delivering a well-functioning multilateral trading system and promoting the stability and predictability of international trade flows. We will further advance the Bogor Goals and economic integration in the region in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which contributes to high standard and comprehensive regional undertakings. We will promote seamless connectivity, resilient supply chains and responsible business conduct.

Innovation and Digitalisation:To empower all our people and businesses to participate and grow in an interconnected global economy, we will foster an enabling environment that is, among others, market-driven and supported by digital economy and innovation. We will pursue structural reforms and sound economic policies to promote innovation as well as improve productivity and dynamism. We will strengthen digital infrastructure, accelerate digital transformation, narrow the digital divide, as well as cooperate on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening consumer and business trust in digital transactions.

Strong, Balanced, Secure, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth: To ensure that the Asia-Pacific region is resilient to shocks, crises, pandemics and other emergencies, we will foster quality growth that brings palpable benefits and greater health and wellbeing to all, including MSMEs, women and others with untapped economic potential. We will intensify inclusive human resource development as well as economic and technical cooperation to better equip our people with the skills and knowledge for the future. We will promote economic policies, cooperation and growth which support global efforts to comprehensively address all environmental challenges, including climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters, for a sustainable planet.

To maintain APEC’s unique position as the premier forum for regional economic cooperation as well as a modern, efficient and effective incubator of ideas, we will embrace continuous improvement of APEC as an institution through good governance and stakeholder engagements. We will advance the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 with a spirit of equal partnership, shared responsibility, mutual respect, common interest, and common benefit. We will achieve the vision by 2040, with an appropriate implementation plan and review of its progress.