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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 1st APEC Counter Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) Meeting convened on 22-23 February 2014 in Ningbo, China.

On-going/Proposed Projects and Initiatives

Secure Travel

Bus Security Training

The United States is planning a follow-on bus security training based on the positive outcomes of the first workshop on bus anti-terrorism held in Manila in July 2012. The Joint APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG) and Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) Bus Anti-Terrorism Follow-On Workshop will focus 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. The workshop will be held in the late spring or early summer of 2014 (dates and venue TBA).

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 traveler 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 travelers through ports of entry and focus on those requiring additional scrutiny. The Trusted Traveler project is aimed at developing consensus on traveler characteristics that should form the basis of trusted traveler programs. The second project is focused on developing a lessons learned document on the challenges economies face in implementing Advanced Passenger Information systems.

High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation in Bali (October 2013)

The dialogue led by the Tourism Working Group (TWG) involved the Business Mobility Group (BMG), Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP). The dialogue included high level participation, such as ministers from APEC economies responsible for travel facilitation, tourism, transportation, immigration and custom, as well as participants from international organizations including the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The four main topics discussed were: Visa Facilitation, Advance Passenger Information, Trusted Travel Program and Tourist Friendly Airport.

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.  Three capacity building workshops were held in Singapore, Jakarta and Manila throughout 2012-13. The core objectives of the project were to raise APEC’s awareness of the terrorist financing risks posed to designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) and to help economies develop suitable policy responses to mitigate these risks.

The research work led to the generation of a draft report that outlines the various regulatory approaches adopted by economies, including the preventative measures and existing guidance that are in place to combat these risks. 

In terms of key outcomes, the project:

  • 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. (Venue and date to be announced)

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.

Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) IX Conference

The Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) IX Conference will be held on the margins of the third Senior Officials Meeting in September 2014 (TBA). The STAR conference focuses on policies and procedures to enhance security and efficiency in the APEC region’s seaports, airports and other access points, including port and airport security, shipping container security and coastal patrol. This year the conference will be conducted under the theme of “Container Transportation Security.” Participants will be not only from CTWG but also from other APEC working groups such as the Transportation Working Group (TPTWG), the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP) and international organizations and representatives from the APEC business community.

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.

Ambassador Harry PURWANTO (Mr)
Deputy for International Cooperation of National Counter Terrorism Agency
Sergio NAREA (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat