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Backgrounder: Basic facts about APEC

by November 18, 2016 General

LIMA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — Leaders from the Pacific Rim economies are gathering in Peru’s capital Lima for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week on Nov. 14-20.

The week-long get-together is held under the theme “Quality growth and human development,” with four events, namely the APEC Concluding Senior Officials’ Meeting on the 14th and 15th, the APEC Ministerial Meeting on the 17th and 18th, the APEC CEO Summit from the 17th to 19th, and finally the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on the weekend.

With its 21 members accounting for around 39 percent of the world’s population, 57 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP), and 49 percent of world trade, APEC is working on areas such as trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, human security, and economic and technical cooperation, aiming to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity in the region.

The notion of establishing a forum for promoting sustainable economic growth and regional cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region was first raised by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of the region and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world.

The first APEC Ministerial Meeting was held later that year, in Canberra, Australia, which marked the official establishment of the mechanism.

In November 1991, the third Ministerial Meeting was held in the South Korean capital of Seoul with the approval of the Seoul APEC Declaration, which finalized APEC’s objectives of developing and strengthening the open multilateral trading system, and reducing barriers to trade in goods, services and investment.

In 1993, APEC established a secretariat in Seattle, which provides support and services for the forum’s activities at various levels.

In 1994, at the Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Declaration of Common Resolve was adopted. The declaration pledged APEC’s intent to achieve free and open trade and investment by 2010 for industrialized economies, and 2020 for developing economies. [ APEC’s institutional framework includes the Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the Ministerial Meeting, the Senior Officials’ Meeting, committees and working groups.

APEC currently has 21 members, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China’s Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

It has three observers, namely the ASEAN Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Pacific Islands Forum.