APEC - Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 17, 2022, 7:35

The APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is an inter-governmental panel that was launched in Singapore.

In 1989, the APEC forum began as an informal discussion with economic leaders in Canberra, Australia, to capitalize on the Asia-Pacific's expanding interconnectivity. It was formally constituted in 1993 with 12 members and now has 21 Pacific Rim economies as members.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Objectives

  • To foster the interdependence of the Asia-Pacific economies and encourage the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world
  • To establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe by accelerating Asia-Pacific regional economic integration
  • To create more prominent prosperity for the people of the Asia-Pacific region by promoting balanced, inclusive, innovative, secure, and sustainable growth

APEC Functions and Goals

  • APEC seeks to ensure that all Asian-Pacific inhabitants may benefit from the region's rising economy. APEC initiatives teach rural communities digital skills and assist indigenous women in exporting their goods.
  • Recognizing the effects of climate change, APEC members are working to improve energy efficiency and promote sustainable forest and marine resource management.
  • The forum evolves to allow participants to address significant new economic concerns in the area. This encompasses catastrophe preparedness, pandemic preparation, and terrorist prevention.

APEC Member Countries

APEC's 21 member countries are as follows:

APEC 21 Members

1. Australia

8. New Zealand

15. People's Republic of China

2. Brunei (Brunei Darussalam)

9. The Philippines

16. Mexico

3. Canada

10. Singapore

17. Papua New Guinea

4. Indonesia

11. Thailand

18. Chile

5. Japan

12. The United States

19. Peru

6. South Korea (Republic of Korea)

13. Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)

20. Russia

7. Malaysia

14. Hong Kong

21. Vietnam

Note: India is not a member of the APEC. Member countries like the United States, Japan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea initially supported India's proposal for APEC participation. But officials ruled it out, stating that since India does not border the Pacific Ocean, India will not be allowed to join the APEC.

APEC Achievements

Regional Growth and Development

  • The area has experienced a spike in growth as a reward of APEC's efforts, with real GDP rising from USD 19 trillion in 1989 to USD 42 trillion in 2015.
  • Furthermore, the region's per capita income increased by 74%.

Regional Economic Integration and Trade Promotion

  • The APEC has reduced trade barriers between members, harmonized standards and laws, and simplified customs procedures, allowing commodities to flow more freely across borders.
  • APEC has been trying to remove behind-the-border trade obstacles in the Asia-Pacific by promoting transparency, competitiveness, and better-functioning markets via regulatory reform, improved public sector and corporate governance, and strengthened legal infrastructure.
  • Commerce operations of the APEC area rose seven times faster than the rest of the globe, with two-thirds of trade taking place between member states.

Business Ease

  • In 2009, APEC introduced its Ease of Doing Action Plan to make business in the region cheaper, simpler, and faster.
  • Between 2009 and 2015, the ease of doing business in member countries increased by 14.8% throughout the initiative's several categories.

Inclusive Growth

  • APEC has initiated several measures to support the growth of SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The APEC SME Innovation Center was founded in Korea in 2005 to help SMEs in the region enhance their competitiveness via hands-on business counselling.
  • The APEC Start-up Accelerator Network was established in 2013 to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation by linking technology start-ups with funds and mentors.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a high-level multinational group and one of the oldest forums in Asia-Pacific, with a large worldwide effect. However, the APEC has also faced criticism for supporting free trade agreements that restrict regional and national regulations by the European countries and Pacific Island countries that are unable to participate but are impacted by APEC's decisions.

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FAQs on APEC

Q1. What is the full form of APEC?

Ans. APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Q2. Where is the headquarters of APEC?

Ans. The headquarters of APEC is in Singapore.

Q3 When was the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation launched?

Ans. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation was launched in 1989.

Q4. How many countries are APEC members?

Ans. APEC has 21 member countries.