Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation: APEC Summit, Countries

By Ritesh|Updated : July 23rd, 2022

The APEC, popularly known as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, was formed in 1989 to promote sustainable growth in Asia-Pacific Region in trading and investment and to bring economic prosperity to this region. APEC is a group of 21 countries that allows and promotes free trading throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. The APEC Headquarters are situated in Singapore.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation - APEC is an important topic for International Relations of UPSC GS Paper 2 for Prelims and Mains exam. Here we cover this topic in a very comprehensive way, i.e. cover all subtopics of APEC, such as its Background, Members, Objectives, Criticism, FTAAP, etc. And we have also covered the Previous Year's Question regarding the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Table of Content

What is APEC?

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is a major multilateral economic trade forum. APEC was established as a regional economic forum to foster better economic relations and sustainable growth among the members of the countries.

The International intergovernmental grouping assures free trade and investment for its members without being involved in any legally binding obligation.

Asia Pacific economic cooperation accounts for 50% of trade and half of the world's trade. It is one of the most vibrant and dynamic regions. Its membership claims about 42% of the world's population and more than 60% of its GDP.

Download Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Notes PDF

History of APEC

In January 1989, the then Australian Prime Minister, Robert Hawke, proposed a permanent body. He offered this to coordinate better economic relations among the nations of the Pacific Rim (considering their market-based economy). And this proposal was endorsed by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), which included government representatives, academicians, and a group of business people.

  • The Pacific Economic Cooperation Council also had been holding the informal discussion since 1980. The first meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC) was with the five Pacific industrial economies: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the United State of America. The meeting of members of (ASEAN) Association of Southeast Asian Nations that is Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Brunei, and South Korea, was held in Canberra, Australia, in November 1989.
  • Earlier, the Association of Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum remained informal and unstructured due to the fear of the domination of Advanced countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. ASEAN nations preferred east-Asian economic groups to exclude Non-Asian countries. Gradually they started participating in the idea because of the growth of the process of regional integration and economic liberalization becoming necessary for economic prosperity and security during the post cold war.
  • The ministerial meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in 1991 adopted a definite objective and organizational structure for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. It also included China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in APEC membership. Finally, when the Bangkok ministerial meeting decided to establish a permanent Secretariat in Singapore, the institutionalization of the APEC was completed in 1992.

APEC Meetings [1989-2022]

Check Below for the complete details of APEC Meetings like where it is happened, when it is happened, Leader of Host etc.,

YearDatesCountryCityLeader of Host
19896-7 November AustraliaCanberraPrime Minister Bob Hawke
199029-31 July SingaporeSingaporePrime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
199112-14 November South KoreaSeoulPresident Roh Tae-woo
199210-11 September ThailandBangkokPrime Minister Anand Panyarachun
199319-20 November United StatesBlake IslandPresident Bill Clinton
199415-16 November IndonesiaBogorPresident Suharto
199518-19 November JapanOsakaPrime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
199624-25 November PhilippinesSubicPresident Fidel Ramos
199724-25 November CanadaVancouverPrime Minister Jean Chrétien
199817-18 November MalaysiaKuala LumpurPrime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
199912-13 September New ZealandAucklandPrime Minister Jenny Shipley
200015-16 November BruneiBandar Seri BegawanSultan Hassanal Bolkiah
200120-21 October ChinaShanghaiPresident Jiang Zemin
200226-27 October MexicoLos CabosPresident Vicente Fox
200320-21 October ThailandBangkokPrime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
200420-21 November ChileSantiagoPresident Ricardo Lagos
200518-19 November South KoreaBusanPresident Roh Moo-hyun
200618-19 November VietnamHanoiPresident Nguyễn Minh Triết
20078-9 September AustraliaSydneyPrime Minister John Howard
200822-23 November PeruLimaPresident Alan Garcia Perez
200914-15 November SingaporeSingaporePrime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
201013-14 November JapanYokohamaPrime Minister Naoto Kan
201112-13 November United StatesHonoluluPresident Barack Obama
20129-10 September RussiaVladivostokPresident Vladimir Putin
20135-7 October IndonesiaBaliPresident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
201410-11 November ChinaBeijingPresident Xi Jinping
201518-19 November PhilippinesPasayPresident Benigno Aquino III
201619-20 November PeruLimaPresident Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
201710-11 November VietnamDa NangPresident Trần Đại Quang
201817-18 November Papua New GuineaPort MoresbyPrime Minister Peter O'Neill
201916-17 November (cancelled) ChileSantiagoPresident Sebastián Piñera
202020 November MalaysiaKuala Lumpur (hosted virtually)Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
202116 July New ZealandAuckland (hosted virtually)Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
12 November
202218-19 November ThailandBangkokPrime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

Important Declaration of APEC

  • Bogor declaration - It emerged in 1994, intending to establish a free and open trade and investment regime in the Asia Pacific.
  • In 1995, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation established the APEC Business Advisory Council.
  • In 1996, Manila Action Plan came in which different countries were to provide a blueprint of a roadmap to achieve Bogor's free trade goals.
  • Further, in 2003, at the Bangkok Summit, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation added the security agenda to the economic agenda. Now APEC has become a platform for political and economic cooperation. This declaration emerged in the context of the growing threat of terrorism to member economies.
  • In 2008, there was a declaration for reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies. This declaration took place after the financial meltdown of 2008. It called for enhancing food security and corporate social responsibility.

Objectives of APEC

  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is a platform to discuss the regional economy, cooperation, trade, and investment. The three pillars of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation are-
    • Liberalization of trade and investment.
    • Business facilitation
    • Technological and economic cooperation
  • To promote interdependence economics in the Asia-Pacific region and inspire other regions to follow the same.
  • To foster Asia-Pacific regional economic integration by establishing new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.
  • To enhance the prosperity of the people of Asia-Pacific by promoting balanced, inclusive, and sustainable development.

Structure of APEC

  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is based on the bottom-up and trickle-down approaches.
  • There are 4 core committees and their respective working groups which provide strategic policy recommendations to Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders and ministers.
  • In Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the decision-making is reached by consensus means, with No binding commitments/ Treaty of obligation.
  • Commitments are taken voluntarily.
  • The chairmanship of meetings rotates every year among the member-states.

There are 10 working groups: Telecommunication, Trade and Investment Data, Fisheries, Tourism, Transportation, Trade Promotion, Investment and Technology, Human Resource Development, Regional Energy Cooperation, and Marine Resource Conservation. There are also two Ad Hoc groups dealing with Economic Policy and Regional Trade Globalisation.

APEC Members

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is the regional economic forum of the 21 Pacific Rim member countries that is Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, USA, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Darussalam, Indonesia, South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Russia, Peru, and Vietnam.

India had requested Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation membership and initially also got support from the United State of America, Japan, and Papua New Guinea, but as India does not share a border with the Pacific oceans, like all the current members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation do, officials had decided not to allow India to join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

India was invited for the first time as an observer of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in November 2011.

APEC Trade Agreement -FTAAP

In the backdrop of the progress of the Doha round of talks in the World Trade Organisation, the proposal for the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) was to overcome the conflicting and overlapping elements of the Free Trade Agreement.

  • More than 60 Free Trade Agreements had already been concluded by 2007, and approximately 117 were in the negotiation process in South East Asia and the Asia Pacific region.

The Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) was to create a Free Trade Zone to help increase trade, commerce, and economic growth in the region. But due to the popular agitation and lobbying against the Free Trade Agreement in domestic politics, there was no political interest in moving forward.

Criticism of APEC

The Free Trade Agreement imposes restrictions on decision-making on domestic laws and regulations, which include Labour rights, Environment protection, Domestic industries, and essential commodities like medicine. According to some European countries, it might not accomplish much, and Pacific Island nations which are also not a member, may suffer its consequences.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation UPSC

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) UPSC Topic is a part of the UPSC Syllabus. It is relevant for both UPSC Prelims & Mains Exam. As it is a part of the International Relations section, aspirants must cover the current affairs section in a comprehensive manner.

You can download the UPSC Previous Year Question Paper and UPSC Study Materials to add value to your exam preparation. To ensure that you cover all related topics, check the UPSC Books list.

Download Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) UPSC Notes PDF

APEC UPSC Sample Prelims Questions

Question - In which of the following groups of countries all are members of APEC?

  1. Australia, Newzealand, Mexico.
  2. Philippines, China, India.
  3. France, Germany, USA.
  4. Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia.

Answer - A

Question - Which of the following is correct regarding APEC?

  1. The USA and Japan are founding members of the APEC.
  2. The headquarters is located in Singapore.
  3. India has been an observer member since 2011.

Choose the correct option.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer - D

Other Important UPSC Notes
Ramsar Sites in IndiaCenter-state Relations
Masala BondsNo Confidence Motion
Financial Action Task Force (FATF)Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code [IBC]
SEBI UPSCIndia-China Relations
Attorney General of IndiaSimon Commission
Wahabi MovementPESA ACT 1996
National Investigation AgencyGanga River System

Comments

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FAQs for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation is a major multilateral economic trade forum. APEC was established as a regional economic forum to bolster better economic relations and sustainable growth among the members of the countries in 1989. APEC headquarters are situated in Singapore.

    • To promote interdependence economics in the Asia-Pacific region and inspire other regions to follow the same.
    • To foster Asia-Pacific regional economic integration by establishing new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.
  • In the backdrop of the progress of the Doha round of talks in the World Trade Organisation, the proposal for the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) overcame the conflicting and overlapping elements of the Free Trade Agreement.

  • The three pillars of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation are-

    1. Liberalisation of trade and investment.

    2. Business facilitation.

    3. Technological and economic cooperation.

  • There are 21 countries as members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. They are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Tiepie, Thailand, and The United States of America.

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