About APEC


APEC leaders at APEC Philippines in 2015

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 in recognition of the growing inter-dependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the need to encourage economic dynamism and a sense of community in the region.

Today APEC has 21 member economies, all of which can claim a Pacific coastline. APEC is a key forum for facilitating economic cooperation, and liberalising trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Chairmanship – and primary responsibility for identifying and coordinating policy priorities – changes from member to member on an annual basis. 

In 2014, China is providing chairmanship, following Indonesia in 2013 and Russia in 2012. After the Bali Leaders’ meeting in October 2013, chairmanship will pass to China.

In contrast with the legally binding commitments at the heart of the World Trade Organisation, or in regional or bilateral trade agreements, APEC members work together on a cooperative and non-binding basis. This has enabled the wide variety of its membership to participate with flexibility and openness that would be difficult in organisations aimed at legally binding commitments. It enables focus on best practices, on capacity-building, and on a recognition of the different tracks members may follow to achieve liberalising ends.


Photo Courtesy of the APEC Secretariat (www.apec.org).