CBC In Depth

CBC News Online | November 19, 2004

The forum for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a group of countries of the Pacific Rim that meet regularly to negotiate economic and political ties.

The organization first got met in Canberra, Australia, in 1989 as an informal dialogue group. Every year, APEC has a summit in one of its member countries.

The 21-member organization has become the major forum for talking about improving economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC's goals are free and open trade among the group's developed nations by 2010 and by 2020 for developing countries.

In 1995, the organization developed its three pillars to achieve that goal:

  • trade and investment liberalization
  • business facilitation
  • economic and technical cooperation

APEC's member nations account for 47 per cent of total world trade and more than half the world's total Gross Domestic Product.

APEC meetings have been popular among protesters. The organization has been accused of being a "rich man's club."

In 1997, the APEC summit was held in Vancouver. The meeting provoked countrywide controversy when RCMP officers used pepper spray against protesters.

A brief history of APEC meetings:

1989 - Canberra, Australia Inaugural APEC meeting with 12 members countries.

1993 - Blake Island, United States APEC's economic leaders meet and define APEC's mandate, "stability, security and prosperity for our peoples."

1994 - Bogor, Indonesia APEC sets the Bogor goals of, "free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies."

1995 - Osaka, Japan APEC adopts the Osaka Action Agenda (OAA). The OAA established the three pillars of APEC activity: liberalization of trade and investment, business facilitation, and economic and technical co-operation.

1996 - Manila, The Philippines The first APEC and country-specific action plans are compiled for meeting the Bogor goals.

1997 - Vancouver, Canada APEC ratifies a proposal for Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) in 15 areas. It also decides that action plans for individual countries should be re-evaluated annually.

1998 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia APEC agrees on the first nine sectors for EVSL and seeks an agreement with non-APEC members at the World Trade Organization.

1999 - Auckland, New Zealand APEC commits to paperless trading by 2005 in developed economies and 2010 in developing economies.

2000 - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam APEC commits to the Action Plan for the New Economy, which aims to triple Internet access throughout APEC region by 2005.

2001 - Shanghai, China APEC adopts the Shanghai Accord, which focuses on broadening the APEC vision and clarifying the roadmap to Bogor. APEC's first counter-terrorism statement is issued.

2002 - Los Cabos, Mexico APEC adopts action plans on trade facilitation, policies on trade within the digital economy and policies on transparency standards. APEC's second counter-terrorism statement is delivered.

2003 - Bangkok, Thailand APEC leaders promised to push ahead with freer trade, intensify the fight on terror and clamp down on health threats. The group also pledged to support negotiations to strip North Korea of nuclear weapons.

2004 - Santiago, Chile U.S. President George Bush seeks more international support to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. Three rounds of talks have yielded little success. In September 2004, North Korea refused to attend a fourth round. Pushing for a conclusion to the the World Trade Organization's current round of talks is also a priority. The global trade treaty aims to slash agricultural subsidies and lower tariff barriers in a bid to boost the world's economy.

Source: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation



Members of APEC

Founding members (1989):
Brunei Darussalam
South Korea
New Zealand
United States

Members since 1991:
Chinese Taipei (Republic of China on Taiwan)
People's Republic of China
Hong Kong, China

Members since 1993:
Papua New Guinea

Member since 1994:

Members since 1998:

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

APEC Chile 2004

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