|APEC was established
in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific
economies and to the need to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism
and sense of community.
APEC began in 1989, when Australia hosted the first annual Ministerial
Meeting of Foreign and Trade Ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific
economies to discuss ways to increase cooperation in this fast-expanding
region of the world. Canada was a founding member of the APEC
forum, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan,
the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of
the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
In 1993, the United States held the first annual meeting of
APEC Leaders at Blake Island, near Seattle, to give trade liberalization
and economic cooperation further impetus and high level commitment,
to develop a spirit of community in the region and to promote
sustainable growth and equitable development.
Between its establishment in 1989 and the first annual meeting
of APEC Leaders in 1993, APEC accepted six new members. In November
1991, three new members were welcomed into the organization:
the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei.
In November 1993, APEC accepted Mexico and Papua New Guinea
while deciding that Chile would become a full member in November
Peru, Russia and Vietnam were the latest countries to join in
the organization in November 1998.
APEC now comprises 21 member economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam,
Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Japan, Republic of South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand,
Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia,
Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, the United States,
There are three official observers: the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation
Council (PECC), and the South Pacific Forum (SPF).