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U.S. Department of State
95/07/27 Fact Sheet: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Bureau of Public Affairs
Fact Sheet: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
The Asia-Pacific region, comprising some of the most dynamic economies
in the world, has experienced unprecedented growth in the last two
decades. Economic relations among economies of the region also have
increased dramatically, fueled by growing trade and financial flows.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 to
better manage the effects of growing interdependence in the Pacific
region and sustain economic growth. Originally, APEC was an informal
group of 12 Asia-Pacific economies. In November 1991, APEC admitted
China, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei. In November 1993, Mexico and
Papua New Guinea joined. Chile joined in November 1994, bringing
membership to 18.
APEC provides a forum for discussing a broad range of important regional
economic issues. The APEC chair rotates annually among members and is
responsible for hosting the annual ministerial meeting. Foreign and
economic ministers from the members first met in Canberra, Australia, in
November 1989. Since then, annual ministerial meetings have been held
in Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Seattle, and Jakarta. Upcoming
ministerial meetings will be held in Japan in November 1995, Philippines
(1996), Canada (1997), and Malaysia (1998). Japan hosted periodic
lower-level meetings throughout 1995 to lay the groundwork for the
The United States works closely with members of APEC, which is an impor-
tant part of U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. President
Clinton has underscored that the United States is "committed to making
[APEC] a vehicle for liberalization in the region."
In 1994, U.S. trade with Asia and the Pacific was more than $424
billion, 70% more than trade with Western Europe. U.S. foreign direct
investment in APEC member economies was more than $200 billion in 1994,
about 33% of total U.S. foreign direct investment.
APEC has grown from an informal dialogue group to a more formalized
institution that involves all major economies of the region: China,
Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei joined APEC in 1991; APEC established a
permanent secretariat in Singapore in September 1992; and, at the
Novem-ber 17-19, 1993, ministerial meeting in Seattle, Mexico and Papua
New Guinea joined APEC. In Seattle, ministers also agreed to the
Declaration on an APEC Trade and Investment Framework and action plan,
set up the Committee on Trade and Investment, and extended the non-
governmental Eminent Persons Group's mandate to develop proposals to
effect its long-term recommendations and vision for Asia-Pacific
regional economic cooperation.
APEC economic leaders, meeting on Blake Island near Seattle on November
20, 1993, set forth a vision which recognizes that in the post-Cold War
We have an opportunity to build a new economic foundation for the Asia
Pacific that harnesses the energy of our diverse economies, strengthens
cooperation and promotes prosperity.
The leaders also:
-- Called for a successful conclusion to the Uruguay Round of the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade;
-- Called on APEC to expand its economic dialogue and advance its work
-- Agreed to convene a meeting of APEC finance ministers;
-- Asked business leaders to establish a Pacific Business Forum;
-- Asked APEC to strengthen its policy dialogue on small and medium-
sized business enterprises; and
-- Agreed to establish an APEC Education Program and a Business
In Bogor, Jakarta, in November 1994, APEC economic leaders reached
agreement on strengthening economic cooperation within the region for
the purpose of strengthening the open multilateral trading system,
enhancing trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific
region, and intensifying Asia-Pacific development cooperation. Leaders
also announced their commitment to achieve "free and open trade and
investment in the Asia-Pacific." All barriers to trade and investment
are to be dismantled before 2010 or 2020 by developed and developing
APEC's priority is to encourage market-oriented solutions to the
adjustment problems associated with quickly growing economies. APEC
made significant contributions to negotiations during the Uruguay Round
and is considering moves toward regional trade liberalization.
APEC senior officials oversee 10 working groups, covering broad areas of
economic, educational, and environmental cooperation. In addition, APEC
has a Committee on Trade and Investment with customs and standards and
conformance subcommittees, and an Economic Committee. The working groups
Trade and Investment Data. Develops consistent and reliable data in
merchandise trade, trade in services, and investment.
Trade Promotion. Develops proposals to exchange trade and industrial
information and to promote economic and trade missions among economies
of the region. Organizes international seminars and meetings to promote
trade, an Asia-Pacific trade fair, and a training course on trade
Industrial Science and Technology. Promotes economic growth by
expanding technology flows and focusing on science and technology issues
that network potential partners together in the Asia-Pacific region.
Human Resource Development.
Seeks ways to exchange information among Asia-Pacific economies in such
areas as business administration, industrial training and innovation,
project management, and development planning. In this working group,
the United States hosted an APEC educa-tion ministerial in Washington,
DC, in August 1992 and sponsors the APEC Partnership for Education
Program, which promotes university partnerships among U.S. and
Asian/South Pacific universities, outreach and cooperative education
activities, and private sector training.
Energy Cooperation. Develops cooperative projects, such as a regional
database on energy supply and demand, and exchanges views on, among
other things, coal utilization, technology transfer, and resource
exploration and development.
Marine Resource Conservation. Exchanges information on policy and
technical aspects of marine pollution and advancement of integrated
coastal zone planning. Exchanges information on and develops
recommendations for dealing with red tide/toxic algae pollution
Telecommunications. Compiles annual survey on APEC telecommunications
development activities, including a description of each member country's
telecommunications environment. Explores ways to establish and develop
regional networks, initially by encouraging electronic data interchange.
Exchanges information on policy and regulatory developments in each
member's telecommunications sector. Disseminates a manual on how to
approach training in a telecommunications organization, followed by a
pilot project reviewing needs and recommending solutions in a selected
Transportation. Studies and recommends ways to improve infrastructure,
facilitate movement of passengers and freight, collect and exchange
data, and enhance transportation safety and security. This U.S.-led
working group is one of three added in March 1991. The United States
proposed it because of the importance of improved transportation links
to continued economic growth in the region. In June 1995, the United
States hosted an APEC transportation ministerial.
Tourism. Studies one of the region's most important industries,
focusing on tourism data exchange, barriers to expansion, training
programs, and current projects in APEC member economies.
Fisheries. Surveys the pattern of APEC fisheries cooperation to develop
fisheries resources. Reports on the role of APEC in coordinating and
complementing the work of existing organizations and promoting
cooperative relations among APEC participants.
Papua New Guinea
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