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Terrorism poses a direct threat to APEC's vision of secure, open and prosperous economies.

APEC Leaders have pledged to help secure the region's people and its economic, trade, investment and financial systems from terrorist attack or abuse and trade-based money laundering. Their commitments to undertake individual and joint actions to counter terrorism are expressed in two principle statements - the 2001 APEC Leaders Statement on Counter-Terrorism and the 2002 Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth - and in every subsequent annual Leaders' Declaration.

Bearing in mind Leaders' instructions to monitor progress and build capacity in counter-terrorism, the APEC Counter-Terrorism Task Force was established in May 2003 to:

  • coordinate the implementation of Leaders' Statements and commitments on fighting terrorism and enhancing human security
  • assist members to identify and assess counter-terrorism needs
  • coordinate capacity building and technical assistance programs
  • cooperate with relevant international and regional organisations
  • facilitate cooperation between APEC fora on counter-terrorism issues.

In July 2013, recognising that threat of terrorism has a long-lasting nature and the CTTF’s valuable and constructive role in helping to protect the economic systems in the region from disruption; APEC Senior Officials endorsed the proposal to upgrade the task force into a working group. The Counter Terrorism Working Group first mandate is for 2013-2017 in accordance with its strategic plan.

APEC Leaders also emphasise the important role played by the UN and its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and have stressed the need for implementation, where applicable, of UN counter-terrorism measures and the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing.

  • Current Activities
  • Achievements
  • Contacts
  • News
  • Events

The 3rd Counter Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) convened on 8-9 August in Beijing, China and the 2nd CTWG Meeting was held on 6-7 May in Qingdao, China.

On-going/Proposed Projects and Initiatives

Secure Travel

Bus Security Training

The United States conducted a follow-on bus security training on 30-31 July 2014 in Manila, the Philippines as a self-funded project. The Joint APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) and Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) Bus Anti-Terrorism Follow-On Workshop focused on: i) information sharing; ii) case study presentations on the operational and policy aspects of bus security; and iii) developing and disseminating a formal bus security experts list. This follow-on training was based on positive outcomes of the first workshop on bus anti-terrorism in July 2012.

Trusted Traveler and Advance Passenger Information Systems

CTWG is also working on two joint projects with the Business Mobility Group (BMG) and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) to develop trusted traveller characteristics and to develop best practices on implementing Advance Passenger Information Systems. By receiving passenger information in advance of travel, APEC economies could expedite the processing of legitimate travellers through ports of entry and focus on those requiring additional scrutiny. The Trusted Traveller project is aimed at developing consensus on traveller characteristics that should form the basis of trusted traveller programs. The second project is focused on developing a lessons learned document on the challenges economies face in implementing Advanced Passenger Information systems.

Secure Finance

Protecting designated non-financial businesses and professions from terrorist financing

Australia led a self-funded APEC project aimed at protecting designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) from terrorist financing.  These non-financial businesses—such as real estate agents, dealers in precious stones or metals, legal or accounting professionals—can be misused to assist in the financing of terrorism in a number of ways. Money from terrorists’ illicit fundraising activity needs to be laundered, effectively distributed, and used by the organisation, as well as to be kept hidden from authorities. Non-financial professionals provide opportunities to launder funds to achieve these purposes. In this regard, non-financial professionals can be used to transfer or store value outside the heavily regulated financial sectors, or provide advice on how affairs can be structured to minimise the chance of detection. The project produced a final report outlining the level of terrorist financing risk posed to non-financial professionals generally and the current preventative mechanisms in place to combat these risks. The report also presents an overview of the extent of regulation of non-financial businesses and professions in the APEC region.

The project’s key outcomes included:

  • Helped increase the level of stakeholder awareness of terrorist financing risks;
  • Identified the challenges associated with enforcing regulation to protect DNFBPs against these risks;
  • Trained participants on how to adopt reporting measures that can help protect the designated non-financial business and professional (DNFBP) sector from abuse by terrorism financiers; and
  • Contributed a new body of knowledge on the level of terrorist financing risks to DNFBPs.   

Secure Supply Chains

The US-funded joint Trade Recovery Project, with the Transportation Working Group and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, has its background in the 2006 Leader’s Declaration that identified the importance of trade recovery from terrorism or major natural disasters. The goal of trade recovery is to resume supply chain and trade operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a major incident. The project is being developed in coordination with the World Customs Organization and is focused on establishing an information sharing platform system.

Source: Report on the APEC Trade Recovery Programme Pilot Exercise (2010)

Secure Infrastructure

Major Events Security Framework Workshop

CTWG, led by Canada, is developing a Major Events Security Framework that provides APEC economies with common practices and standards to successfully plan, execute and close-out major event security such as high profile events like the Olympics or the World Cup. Canadian experts developed the initial content for the framework.  They then worked with experts from APEC economies, over the course of two workshops, one in Malaysia (June 2013) and one in Chile (October 2013), to review, pilot and finalize the content.  Once complete, all APEC economies will have access to the framework via secure link to the web portal. There is a large gap between economies with respect to common practices and standards for major event security: some are very advanced, with domestic protocols in place to address various facets of project planning to close-out, while others had never had the opportunity to develop this expertise domestically. 

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

This new project, self-funded by the United States, will work on ensuring the security of critical infrastructure required for an economy to function such as power, water, transportation and communications. The project will reduce risks to critical infrastructure caused by attacks, accidents and natural disasters as well as ensure operations can be resumed quickly. A training workshop is scheduled for 16-17 October 2014 in Chinese Taipei.

Secure Finance Workshop on Countering the Financing of Terrorism with New Payment Systems

This new project, also self-funded by the United States, will address the rising concern of new payments systems to finance terrorism, such as mobile phones, internet and electronic value cards. Many of these new payment systems and technologies have yet to be regulated by governments. As a result, these financial transactions fall outside the existing financial regulatory system and can be easily used for terrorist financing. A workshop is planned for spring 2015.

The next CTWG meeting will be held in 2015 during the first APEC Senior Officials' Meeting in Clark, Pampanga, the Philippines (TBC).



Counter Terrorism Action Plans

Counter Terrorism Action Plans were developed in 2003 as a tool for tracking the progress of economies in implementing Leaders' directions on APEC's security and counter-terrorism related work program, and for identifying the capacity building assistance required by member economies to implement these measures.

Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR)

One of APEC's key counter-terrorism priorities is the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative, which aims to secure and enhance the flow of goods and people through measures that protect cargo, ships, international aviation and people in transit. STAR programs are designed to include the private sector, in recognition of the fact that the engagement and active participation of business is fundamental to the success of APEC's secure trade agenda. Annual APEC STAR Conference have been organised since 2003. The conferences bring executives and government officials together to identify impediments to and solutions for promoting trade efficiency while ensuring security.

CTTF activities 2012

The 27th CTTF meeting was held on May 24-25 in Kazan, Russia. Key issues of the meeting included:

  • On capacity building programs: The ‘Friends of the Chair group’ circulated a non-paper, containing recommendations to improve the CTTF’s monitoring and evaluation process. CTTF members approved the non-paper and agreed to maintain the Friends of the Chair Group who will work with the Secretariat to oversee the application of the recommendations to new or existing CTTF projects. To avoid any duplication of efforts, the CTTF will continue to communicate with the Budget and Management Committee (BMC) which is also working on project evaluation.
  • CTTF members approved by consensus the nomination of Indonesia (Ambassador Purwanto) for the CTTF Chairmanship period of 2013-2014. The position of Vice Chair remains open and any economies interested in this position should contact the Secretariat.


3rd APEC Workshop on Counter-Terrorism Finance and the Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Sector (self-funded). Malaysia and the United States implemented the CTTF workshop on the misuse of Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) for terrorist financing in Kuala Lumpur on January 30-31, 2012.

3rd APEC workshop on Air Cargo Security. Vietnam organized the 3rd APEC Workshop on Air Cargo Security, which was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 18-19, 2012.

APEC Bus Anti-Terrorism Workshop (self-funded). A Bus Anti-Terrorism Workshop, co-sponsored by the Philippines and the United States, was held in Manila on 10-11 July 2012.

Regional Food Defense Workshop and Food Defense capacity building programs (self funded). The United States updated CTTF members on its food defense program of work, including two regional food defense events, which were implemented in Bangkok since the last CTTF meeting.

Combating Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering" Australia is working on a self-funded joint CTTF and Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group (ACT) project proposal entitled "Combating Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering."

Joint TPTWG AEG-SEC/CTTF APEC Aviation Security Canine Screening Workshop (self-funded). The United States is working on the “APEC Aviation Security Canine Screening Workshop,” a joint implementation project between the Transportation Working Group (TPTWG), Aviation Experts Group (AEG), and the SEC/CTTF.

The United States is working on a concept for a multi-year APEC project on Trade Recovery Communications Mechanisms. The project would be a joint initiative between the CTTF, the Business Mobility Group (BMG), and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedure (SCCP).

The 26th CTTF meeting was held on 7-8 February 2012 in Moscow, Russia. Key issues discussed included:

  • Adoption of two aviation security workshop proposals: Low Cost/No Cost Security and Checkpoint Optimization and Canine Explosives Detection.
  • Completion of the 2011 Counter-Terrorism Action Plan (CTAP) summary report. Sixteen economies presented their reports.
  • CTTF-1 also featured a Policy Dialogue on Supply Chain Security, in which CTTF members were joined by representatives from the World Customs Organization, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, APEC Business Mobility Group, and APEC Transportation Working Group’s Maritime Security Experts Group. The presentations and discussion focused on identifying security gaps and vulnerabilities in the regional and global supply chain, as well as employing risk assessment tools to effectively address security challenges.

CTTF activities 2011

The 25th CTTF meeting was held in San Francisco, California in September 2011. Key issues discussed include:

  • Members presented their Counter-Terrorism Action Plans (CTAP) updates. Fifteen economies presented their reports, highlighting the need for capacity building and for informing members about their progress and achievements in implementing APEC Leaders’ and Ministers’ commitments in the area of counter terrorism. Based on the CTAP updates, the Secretariat will prepare a Summary Report of APEC economies’ Counter Terrorism Capacity Building Needs.
  • The first CTTF-Tourism Working Group Joint Dialogue on Tourism Security was held at the margins of the meeting. The discussion focused on creating synergies between the two groups on tourism security and explored potential opportunities for APEC going forward in view of the tourism sector’s importance to APEC economies.


APEC Seminar on Protection of Cyberspace (self-funded). Korea organized the 3rd APEC Seminar on Protection of Cyberspace (7-8 September 2011 in Seoul, Korea).  This project was co-endorsed by the Security and Prosperity Steering Group (SPSG). The seminar explored ways to further enhance cooperation in combating cyber threats in the APEC region.

Seminar Preventing Terrorist Activity from Disrupting Major Events: Conducting Preparatory Exercises (self-funded). Canada implemented the CTTF Major Event Security Workshop held in Vancouver from 12-14 September 2011.

8th Secure Trade in the APEC Region Conference (STAR VIII) CTTF implemented the “8th Secure Trade in the APEC Region Conference (STAR VIII)” on 15-16 September 2011 in San Francisco. Many CTTF members attended the Conference, and at CTTF-3 they discussed the Conference proceedings and provided suggestions for strengthening future conferences.

Acting Executive Director
Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center (ATC-PMC)
The Philippines
Tel: +6327844286
Program Director
APEC Secretariat