Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

(The Belt and Road Initiative)

Updated:2017-04-20 |

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is the highest-level mechanism for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. With 21 member economies and three observers – ASEAN Secretariat, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, and Pacific Islands Forum – it covers an extensive part of the world and wields significant influence.


The forum was formally established in November 1989 at a ministerial meeting in the Australian capital of Canberra, attended by Australia, the US, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, and the then six ASEAN countries.


As an economic forum, APEC focuses on global and regional economic issues such as trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, connectivity, economic structural reform and innovative development, global multilateral trade systems, economic and technological cooperation, and capacity of development. Its primary goal is to safeguard the common interests of its member economies in the Asia-Pacific, increase their economic interdependence, create an open multilateral trade system, and reduce regional trade and investment barriers.


APEC operates at five institutional levels: meetings of economic leaders, ministerial meetings, meetings of senior officials, committees and working groups, and the Secretariat. China hosted the 2001 and 2014 APEC economic leaders meetings in Shanghai and in Beijing respectively, and has played an active role in promoting free and open regional trade and investment and stimulating regional and global economic growth.