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The idea of APEC was firstly publicly broached by former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke during a speech in Seoul, Korea on 31 January 1989. Ten months later, 12 Asia-Pacific economies met in Canberra, Australia to establish APEC. The founding members were: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

China, Hong Kong, China and Chinese Taipei joined in 1991. Mexico and Papua New Guinea followed in 1993. Chile acceded in 1994. And in 1998, Peru, Russia and Viet Nam joined, taking the full membership to 21.

Between 1989 and 1992, APEC met as an informal senior official and Ministerial level dialogue. In 1993, former United States President Bill Clinton, established the practice of an annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to provide greater strategic vision and direction to cooperation in the region.

Key APEC Milestones

2013 - Indonesia

APEC economies provide the push needed to conclude the "Bali Package" at the 9th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference to boost global trade. A package of measures to enhance regional connectivity is endorsed, including an APEC Multi-Year Plan on Infrastructure Development and Investment prioritizing public-private partnership projects. A target of one million intra-APEC university students per year by 2020 is also set. The first Joint APEC Ministerial Meeting on Women and SMEs issues directives to promote women entrepreneurship.

2012 - Russia

APEC economies endorse a ground-breaking APEC List of Environmental Goods that directly and positively contribute to green growth and sustainable development objectives. APEC seeks to address transparency as a new next generation trade and investment issue, and Leaders endorse the APEC Model Chapter on Transparency for RTAs/FTAs to be used as a guide by APEC economies.

2011 - United States

APEC Leaders issue the Honolulu Declaration in which they commit to taking concrete steps toward a seamless regional economy; addressing shared green growth objectives; and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence. To reach these goals, APEC resolves to reduce, by the end of 2015, applied tariff rates of environmental goods to 5 percent or less, taking into account economies' economic circumstances, without prejudice to APEC economies' positions in the WTO. APEC sets the goal to reduce aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035. And APEC commits to take specific steps by 2013 to implement good regulatory practices by ensuring internal coordination of regulatory work; assessing regulatory impacts; and conducting public consultation.

2010 - Japan

APEC Leaders issue the Yokohama Vision to provide a roadmap for members to realize an economically-integrated, robust and secure APEC community. This includes the formulation of a comprehensive, long-term growth strategy . APEC completes an assessment of the progress towards the Bogor Goals and finds significant gains in the areas of liberalizing trade in goods, services and investment, as well as trade facilitation. APEC formulates the APEC Strategy for Investment and endorses the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform. APEC holds its first-ever APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security.

2009 - Singapore

APEC resolves to pursue balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth, while Leaders agree to extend their standstill commitment on protectionism until 2010. The first-ever joint meetings of APEC senior trade and finance officials are held to address the economic crisis. APEC launches the Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework and the Ease of Doing Business Action Plan to make doing business in the region 25 percent cheaper, faster and easier by 2015. Member economies also commence work on an APEC Services Action Plan and an Environmental Goods and Services Work Program.

2008 - Peru

APEC focused on the social dimensions of trade and on reducing the gap between developing and developed members, in accordance with the 2008 theme, "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development". Leaders also addressed the global financial crisis in the Lima APEC Leaders' Statement on the Global Economy. They committed to take all necessary economic and financial measures to restore stability and growth, to reject protectionism and to intensify efforts to advance WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations.

2007 - Australia

For the first time, APEC Member Economies issue a Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development outlining future action in support of a new international climate change arrangement and announcing a forward program of practical, cooperative actions and initiatives. Leaders also adopted a major report on closer Regional Economic Integration, including structural reform initiatives, and welcomed the new APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan which will reduce trade transaction costs by a further five per cent by 2010.

2006 - Viet Nam

APEC Economic Leaders endorsed the Ha Noi Action Plan which identifies specific actions and milestones to implement the Bogor Goals and support capacity-building measures to help APEC economies. They also issued a statement on the WTO Doha Development Agenda calling for ambitious and balanced outcomes. To prioritize its agenda, APEC takes a strategic approach to reform working groups and strengthen the Secretariat.

2005 - Korea

APEC adopts the Busan Roadmap, completes the Mid-Term Stocktake which has found that APEC is well on its way to meeting the Bogor Goals, and the APEC Privacy Framework. Leaders issue a stand-alone statement in support of a successful conclusion to the WTO's 6th Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, China and agree to confront pandemic health threats and continue to fight against terrorism which could cause deep economic insecurity for the region.

2004 - Chile

APEC issues a strong statement of support for progress in the WTO Doha Development Agenda and sets a target date for achieving a breakthrough in negotiations: December 2005, the convening of the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference. APEC adopts Best Practices for RTAs and FTAs, the Santiago Initiative for Expanded Trade and a Data Privacy Framework. APEC reiterates its "unmistakable resolve" to confront the threat of terrorism, and takes further action in this regard by identifying key elements of effective export control systems; establishing guidelines on the control of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), and continuing to implement the STAR initiative. APEC makes a political commitment to fight corruption and ensure transparency, and endorses a specific Course of Action towards this end.

2003 - Thailand

APEC agrees to re-energize the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations and stresses the complementary aims of bilateral and regional trade agreements, the Bogor Goals and the multilateral trading system under the WTO. APEC dedicates itself not only to promoting the prosperity of member economies, but also to improving the security of the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region. APEC pledges to take specific actions to dismantle terrorist groups, eliminate the danger of weapons of mass destruction and confront other security threats. Members sign up to the APEC Action Plan on SARS and the Health Security Initiative to further protect personal security. APEC also strengthens its efforts to build knowledge-based economies, promote sound and efficient financial systems and accelerate regional structural reform.

2002 - Mexico

APEC adopts a Trade Facilitation Action Plan, Policies on Trade and the Digital Economy and Transparency Standards. APEC's second Counter-Terrorism Statement is delivered, along with the adoption of the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative.

2001 - People's Republic of China

APEC adopts the Shanghai Accord, which focuses on Broadening the APEC Vision, Clarifying the Roadmap to Bogor and Strengthening the Implementation Mechanism. The e-APEC Strategy is adopted, which sets out an agenda to strengthen market structures and institutions, facilitate infrastructure investment and technology for on-line transactions and promote entrepreneurship and human capacity building. APEC's first Counter-Terrorism Statement is issued.

2000 - Brunei Darussalam

APEC establishes an electronic Individual Action Plan (e-IAP) system, providing IAPs online and commits to the Action Plan for the New Economy, which, amongst other objectives, aims to triple Internet access throughout APEC region by 2005.

1999 - New Zealand

APEC commits to paperless trading by 2005 in developed economies and 2010 in developing economies. APEC Business Travel Card scheme is approved and a Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Electrical Equipment and a Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC is endorsed.

1998 - Malaysia

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

1997 - Canada

APEC endorses a proposal for Early Voluntary Sectoral Liberalization (EVSL) in 15 sectors and decides that Individual Action Plans should be updated annually.

1996 - The Philippines

The Manila Action Plan for APEC (MAPA) is adopted, outlining the trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation measures to reach the Bogor Goals and the first Collective and Individual Action Plans are compiled, outlining how economies will achieve the free trade goals.

1995 - Japan

APEC adopts the Osaka Action Agenda (OAA) which provides a framework for meeting the Bogor Goals through trade and investment liberalisation, business facilitation and sectoral activities, underpinned by policy dialogues, economic and technical cooperation.

1994 - 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."

1993 - United States

APEC Economic Leaders meet for the first time, on Blake Island, Washington, and outline APEC's vision, "stability, security and prosperity for our peoples."

1989 - Australia

APEC begins in Canberra as an informal Ministerial-level dialogue group with 12 members.