What Is APEC?
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, better known as APEC, is the most influential economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. With 21 member economies, it accounts for nearly 50% of the world trade, and about 60% of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In total, APEC houses 2.8 billion people or about 40% of the world’s population.
Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies, APEC aims to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in the region. Over the years, it has developed various meetings, including Economic Leaders’ Meeting and Ministerial Meeting. Ministers, delegates and technical experts gather together on different occasions, trying to find consensus on doing business.
With time, APEC has become a dynamic engine of economic growth. Real GDP in the region increased from USD$16 trillion in 1989 to USD$20 trillion in 2015. Residents of the Asia-Pacific witness their per capita income rise by 74 percent, lifting millions out of poverty and widening the middle class in a little less than two decades.
China joined the organization in 1991, and has since hosted APEC twice – the first time in 2001, in shanghai, and in 2014, in Beijing. Economic and financial cooperation aside, APEC member economies have increasingly worked closely on issues like climate change, anti-terrorism, health and energy as well as communication and cultural sectors.