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Secure Trade in the APEC Region

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In Los Cabos, Mexico 2002, APEC Leaders agreed that terrorism represented a severe threat to the region, and decided that a new Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative would be introduced as a matter of urgency.

Discussions at the STAR Conference have focused 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; coastal patrol; capacity building; financial assistance, and private sector initiatives. The STAR initiative is also fostering coordination between public and private entities that it is highly necessary to counteract terrorist threats through the supply chain.

The STAR Conferences have had the active participation of all 21 APEC member economies, senior executives from major private sector companies, and representatives from international organizations.


The 11th Secure Trade in APEC Region (STAR XI) Conference was hosted virtually by Malaysia on 20–21 October 2020 under the theme “Counter-terrorism and Safe Trade Strategy: Balancing Trade Security and Trade Facilitation in the APEC Region.” The event aimed to share the risks of terrorism, reinforce the importance of establishing security trade control (STC) and recognize the role of trade facilitation in the implementation of strategic trade controls.

On average, 340 registered participants attended the two-day conference. Officials from governmental agencies attended the event, as well as representatives from the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP), industry representatives and non-proliferation organizations. The conference addressed non-proliferation measures complementing counter-terrorism efforts and covered non-proliferation measures through STC, encompassing experience sharing by both public and private sectors, as well as supply chain challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  STAR X  The  10th APEC Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Conference was held on 20 August 2016 in Lima, Peru. The theme was “Secure Supply Chain in the APEC Region: Challenges and Opportunities.” The conference aimed at providing an appropriate forum to update the terrorism situations and counter-measures in the field of international supply; to boost counter-terrorism cooperation and overall resilience of supply chains in the APEC Region; to update participants’ knowledge on ongoing and planned APEC activities, including the APEC Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, which contributes to counter-terrorism; as well as deepen the delegates’ understanding of challenges and opportunities of public and private collaboration to suppress the terrorism threats while addressing interests of securing open, free and facilitated supply chains.

More than 100 participants attended the conference. He participants consisted of officials from APEC Economies from Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Peru; Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States; and Viet Nam—who are responsible for counter-terrorism, transportation, law enforcement, customs, Immigration and Border Protection as well as people from business sectors and Representatives from ABAC.


The STAR IX Conference was held in Beijing on 67 August 2014 under the theme “Transportation Security in APEC Region: Challenges and Opportunities." More than a hundred APEC officials, representatives of the private sector and 26 speakers gathered for the APEC IX STAR Conference, jointly organized by China, Indonesia and the Russian Federation.

The conference explored challenges and opportunities on key security issues of transportation systems in the Asia-Pacific, including initiatives and measures to strengthen transportation system to facilitate movement of people, such as Trusted Traveler Programs, advanced passenger information systems, etc. The conference also addressed APEC economies initiatives to control threats in marine transportation and dedicated one session to share experiences and best practices in ensuring container transportation security. During the last session representatives from the private-sector maritime transportation industry shared practices and partnerships to enhance transportation security.


The STAR VIII Conference was held on 15–16 September 2011 in San Francisco, United States. The event fostered broad-based dialogue on how APEC could move forward to better secure trade and travel in the region and convened over 150 officials from APEC economies—including those responsible for transportation security, customs, immigration, border protection, and counter-terrorism—as well as participants from the private sector and relevant international organizations.

Participants agreed that a risk-based approach with multiple layers of security is the shared APEC goal for secure trade and secure travel systems. Participants recommended that APEC should seek to facilitate the sharing of advance information in the region and recognized that collaboration between governments and the private sector is critical to ensuring the security of supply chains. They agreed that APEC can and should continue to take the lead on advancing trade recovery, and to include closer partnerships with a broader range of relevant APEC sub-fora and multilateral organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization and the World Customs Organization.


The STAR VII conference held in Singapore on 30–31 July 2009 focused on APEC’s secure trade agenda, in particular the need to strike a balance between the necessity to ensure that supply chains are as secure as possible with the need to facilitate the continuous flow of trade. The conference was conducted in five sessions with a total of 27 speakers from government, international organizations and the private sector. More than 250 participants from all APEC Economies and the private sector attended the conference, of which approximately 80 participants participated in an industry visit to the Port of Singapore Authority’s Keppel Container Terminal, the Keppel DistriPark and FPS Global Logistics’ warehouse at DistriPark.

The conference’s theme was "Enhancing Trade Security and Economic Resilience," and covered five topics: (1) security threats to the global economy; (2) toward trade security; (3) resilience and effective trade recovery; (4) an integrated approach to secure trade; and (5) building trust and transparency.


The Sixth Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR VI) Conference took place in Lima from 20 to 21 August 2008. It was hosted by Peru. The conference reinforced APEC's secure trade agenda by identifying practical ways to implement the mandate of Leaders' and Ministerial statements and, in partnership with the private sector, identifying ways of mitigating risks to the supply chain, without compromising the flow of trade. Participants shared information and exchanged ideas on the vulnerabilities of the region; identified successful experiences in other regions and explored ideas on how to strengthen international cooperation and legal and political measures to combat international terrorism.


The Fifth Secure Trade in the APEC Region Conference took place in Sydney from 27 to 28 June 2007, hosted by Australia. The theme "Mitigating Risks: Containing Costs," was a recognition that enhancing safety and security for people and cargo between APEC economies brings with it increased costs. The conference underlined the need for governments to work with industry in public-private partnerships if this challenge is to be met. There was considerable participation in STAR V from public and private sector representatives from APEC economies. The key conclusion was that there was scope to further harmonize, identify and supply chain security measures across APEC economies and this could contribute to broader international efforts.


The Fourth STAR Conference held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, on 23–24 February 2006 attached great importance to enhancing public-private partnership as an effective way in ensuring secure trade, human security and reducing any adverse impacts of anti-terrorism activities on the trade and investment development in the APEC region. The Conference recommended that enhancing public-private partnership is crucial for effectively and efficiently promoting secured trade in the region; that the private sector, including small and medium enterprises, should not be viewed simply as fund providers but as a partner in implementing security measures.


The Third STAR Conference held in Incheon, Korea on 25–26 February 2005, focused on development of trade while enhancing security as well as cooperation and capacity building through public-private partnership. The conference addressed the issues of aviation and maritime security, and encouraged the active participation by the business sector. The conference also recommended future programs that are intended to encourage greater private sector participation in trade and security issues.


The Second STAR Conference held in Viña del Mar, Chile from 4 to 6 March 2004 initiated a series of actions that were then endorsed by APEC Leaders. These included steps to advance compliance with the International Maritime Organization's new Ship and Port Security Standards through cooperative efforts; financial contributions made to the Asian Development Bank's Regional Trade and Financial Security Initiative; progress in implementing business mobility initiatives, including the Advance Passenger Information Systems; the development of a Regional Movement Alert List System; and cooperation for the issuance of machine readable travel documents by 2008.


The First STAR Conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 23–25 February 2003, discussed how to advance trade efficiency and trade security in the Asia-Pacific and set important directions of the future STAR activities in addressing maritime security, aviation security, passenger information processing technology, capacity building, project planning and financing as well as supply chain security. It was agreed by member economies that the successful implementation of STAR measures requires strong partnership between government and business. The meeting also recognized that all economies have different levels of resources and skills to implement these measures and that well-planned capacity building measures would be thus useful for certain economies.