Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation: APEC Summit, Countries

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

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).

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.,

Year Dates Country City Leader of Host
1989 6-7 November Australia Canberra Prime Minister Bob Hawke
1990 29-31 July Singapore Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
1991 12-14 November South Korea Seoul President Roh Tae-woo
1992 10-11 September Thailand Bangkok Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun
1993 19-20 November United States Blake Island President Bill Clinton
1994 15-16 November Indonesia Bogor President Suharto
1995 18-19 November Japan Osaka Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
1996 24-25 November Philippines Subic President Fidel Ramos
1997 24-25 November Canada Vancouver Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
1998 17-18 November Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
1999 12-13 September New Zealand Auckland Prime Minister Jenny Shipley
2000 15-16 November Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
2001 20-21 October China Shanghai President Jiang Zemin
2002 26-27 October Mexico Los Cabos President Vicente Fox
2003 20-21 October Thailand Bangkok Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
2004 20-21 November Chile Santiago President Ricardo Lagos
2005 18-19 November South Korea Busan President Roh Moo-hyun
2006 18-19 November Vietnam Hanoi President Nguyễn Minh Triết
2007 8-9 September Australia Sydney Prime Minister John Howard
2008 22-23 November Peru Lima President Alan Garcia Perez
2009 14-15 November Singapore Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
2010 13-14 November Japan Yokohama Prime Minister Naoto Kan
2011 12-13 November United States Honolulu President Barack Obama
2012 9-10 September Russia Vladivostok President Vladimir Putin
2013 5-7 October Indonesia Bali President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
2014 10-11 November China Beijing President Xi Jinping
2015 18-19 November Philippines Pasay President Benigno Aquino III
2016 19-20 November Peru Lima President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
2017 10-11 November Vietnam Da Nang President Trần Đại Quang
2018 17-18 November Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Prime Minister Peter O’Neill
2019 16-17 November (cancelled) Chile Santiago President Sebastián Piñera
2020 20 November Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (hosted virtually) Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
2021 16 July New Zealand Auckland (hosted virtually) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
12 November
2022 18-19 November Thailand Bangkok Prime 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

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