Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

APEC or the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation was established in 1989 as a regional economic forum to promote sustainable growth and better economic relations among the member countries or economies.

APEC Key Points and Latest Updates

  • APEC 2021 Host Country – New Zealand
  • APEC 2020 Host Country – Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur Declaration)
  • APEC Members – 21 ( India is not a member as of Jan 2021)
  • APEC – 12 founding members established APEC in 1989. By 1998, the full membership was extended to a total of 21 countries.

27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

Since 1993, it has been a convention of APEC to have an annual Economic Leaders’ Meeting. In 2020, due to the pandemic, the APEC had its first ever virtual Economic Leaders’ Meeting and issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration.

APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 was officially launched during the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. It envisions balanced growth, prosperity and a peaceful Asia-Pacific region.

APEC official site:

APEC Member Economies

The 21 APEC Member Countries are:

  1. Australia (founding member)
  2. Canada (founding member)
  3. Japan (founding member)
  4. Malaysia (founding member)
  5. Philippines (founding member)
  6. USA (founding member)
  7. Thailand (founding member)
  8. Singapore (founding member)
  9. Brunei Darussalam (founding member)
  10. Indonesia (founding member)
  11. South Korea (founding member)
  12. New Zealand (founding member)
  13. Hongkong (joined in 1991)
  14. Chinese Taipei (joined in 1991)
  15. China (joined in 1991)
  16. Mexico (joined in 1993)
  17. Papua New Guinea (joined in 1993)
  18. Chile (joined in 1994)
  19. Russia (joined in 1998)
  20. Peru (joined in 1998)
  21. Vietnam (joined in 1998)

Aspirants would find this article on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation helpful for UPSC Exams.

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Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – Origin and Development

The necessity of a permanent body to coordinate the economic relations among the market-oriented nations of the Pacific rim was voiced by the then Australian Prime Minister, Robert Hawke, in January 1989. The Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), which consisted of a group of business, academics and government representatives and had been holding informal discussions since 1980, endorsed this proposal, and the first meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was held in Canberra, Australia, on November 6-7, 1989. The meeting was attended by five Pacific industrial economies (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the US), the then members of ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Brunei) and south Korea.

In the beginning, the forum remained an informal and unstructured arrangement for ‘dialogue’ among participating countries, primarily because ASEAN nations were concerned about being overshadowed by economic giants such as Canada, Japan and the US in a regional organisation. However, as the concept of regional economic groupings gained ground throughout the world, it was decided to institutionalize the grouping. The 1991 Ministerial Meeting at Seoul, South Korea, adopted a declaration outlining the objectives and organizational structure of APEC, and approved the membership of China, Hong Kong (Hong Kong at that time was still under lease to the UK) and Taiwan. The institutionalization of APEC was completed in 1992 when the Bangkok Ministerial Meeting decided to establish a permanent Secretariat in Singapore.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – Objectives

The broad objectives are to provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of economic issues, and to promote multilateral cooperation among the market-oriented economies of the region. Specifically, APEC aims to promote economic and technical cooperation among the members by stimulating flow of goods, services, capital and technology; to develop a liberalized trade and investment regime; to encourage private investment, and to support ‘open regionalism’.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – Structure

APEC consists of Annual Ministerial Meetings, Senior Officials Meeting, Working Groups and a Secretariat. The governing body of APEC is the Annual Ministerial Meeting of the foreign and trade ministers of all the member-states. The chairmanship of the meetings rotates every year among the members. The Senior Officials Meetings, consisting of representatives of all the member-states, are held annually and are responsible for the implementation of policies framed by Ministerial Meetings. There are ten Working Groups dealing with Telecommunications, Trade and Investment Data, Fisheries, Tourism, Transportation, Trade Promotion, Investment and Technology, Human Resource Development, Regional Energy Cooperation and Marine Resource Conservation, and two ad hoc groups dealing with Regional Trade Liberalization and Economic Policy. The Secretariat is headed by the Executive Director who holds a term of one year.

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)


Q 1. What is the full form of APEC?

Ans. APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a regional economic forum to promote sustainable growth and better economic relations among the member countries or economies.

Q 2. How many countries are member of APEC?

Ans. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has 21 member countries and India is not yet a member of APEC.

Related Links

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