Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an inter-governmental forum of 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim region. It is headquartered at Queenstown, Singapore and aims to promote free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Key Points

  • APEC was started as an informal ministerial-level dialogue group in the year 1989 with 12 founding members namely Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; New Zealand; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and the United States.
  • It is the oldest forum in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • All the members of APEC except China attend annual APEC meeting.
  • The organisation has three official observers- the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat, and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

APEC 2020

Malaysia hosted this year’s first virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before this summit, Malaysia hosted APEC in 1998. After this year’s summit, the leaders issued a joint statement, in which they agreed to work toward a massive free trade agreement involving the 21 APEC economies. It is after the year 2017 that APEC members have issued joint statement and agreed for free trade. New Zealand will also host next year’s APEC summit while the 2022 summit will be hosted by Thailand.

Putrajaya Vision 2040

APEC has launched the Putrajaya Vision 2040 in the 2020 meeting aiming for economic growth in next 20 years. It has replaced Bogor Goals that were announced in the year 1994. Areas to be covered under the goal are Trade and Investment, Innovation and Digitalisation and Strong, Balanced, Secure, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.