APEC - A Multilateral Economic Forum

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) operates as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. It is the only international intergovernmental grouping in the world committed to reducing barriers to trade and investment without requiring its members to enter into legally binding obligations. APEC achieves its goals by promoting dialogue and arriving at decisions on a consensus basis, giving equal weight to the views of all members.

APEC Member Economies report progress towards achieving free and open trade and investment goals through Individual Action Plans (IAPs) and Collective Action Plans (CAPs).

Host Economy

Every year one of the 21 APEC Member Economies plays host to APEC meetings and serves as the APEC Chair. The APEC host economy is responsible for chairing the annual Economic Leaders' Meeting, selected Ministerial Meetings, Senior Officials Meetings, the APEC Business Advisory Council and the APEC Study Centres Consortium. Until 2009, the host has also filled the Executive Director position at the APEC Secretariat. From 2010, the appointment will be made on a fixed-term basis (3 yrs) and will be open to candidates from all Member Economies.


APEC is not a donor organisation. APEC activities are centrally funded by annual contributions from APEC member economies presently totalling US$5 million. These contributions are used to fund a Secretariat in Singapore and various projects which support APEC's economic and trade goals. Member economies also provide voluntary contributions to support projects that advance APEC's trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation goals and to meet capacity-building needs, especially for APEC developing economies. Projects generally -

  • Relate to the priorities of APEC Economic Leaders and APEC Ministers
  • Cover the interest of at least several APEC member economies
  • Build capacity
  • Improve economic efficiency, and
  • Encourage the participation of the business sector, non-governmental institutions and women.

APEC's Project Database contains information about all APEC projects.

APEC Member Economies also provide considerable resources to assist the operation of APEC. These include the secondment of professional staff to the Secretariat; the hosting of meetings; and partial or full funding of some projects.

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