Growth Strategy



Recognizing the need to develop a new growth paradigm, APEC launched the APEC Growth Strategy in 2010 aimed at achieving balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth. 

  • Attaining balanced growth  means that economies function in fair and transparent regulatory systems to create a balanced macroeconomic environment. 

  • Promoting inclusive growth involves enabling all segments of economies—from micro-enterprises to women—to participate in the economy and global trade.

  • Achieving sustainable growth means nurturing green technologies and energy efficiency to maintain economic prosperity while protecting the environment and addressing the effects of climate change.

  • Enhancing innovative growth  is creating the enabling environment that stimulates innovation in science and technology as key growth drivers for economies.

  • Creating secure growth  means minimizing natural and human-made risks to economic well-being from disasters and disease to terrorism and corruption.

The APEC Growth Strategy focuses on specific initiatives under each area. These goals are interconnected and are helpful for APEC to achieve its ultimate objective of sustainable growth and equitable development, as well as strengthening the Asia-Pacific community through economic integration.



The APEC Growth Strategy originated in 2009 as an economic recovery response to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The underlying perception was that growth drivers were not balanced within and across economies; and the benefits of economic growth were not widely felt throughout communities. Moreover, many economies felt that the impacts of climate change and lack of innovation may impede the economic growth in, and over-all well-being of, the region.

It is in this context that the 2009 Leaders’ Declaration acknowledged “the necessity to develop a new growth paradigm for the changed post-crisis landscape.” This new APEC approach focused on achieving balanced growth, fostering inclusive growth and promoting sustainable growth. In 2010, APEC Leaders endorsed the Growth Strategy.


Similar to other APEC initiatives, the Growth Strategy rests on the three pillars of 1) trade and investment liberalization; 2) business facilitation; and 3) economic and technical cooperation. The APEC Growth Strategy and other APEC initiatives share the spirit of contributing in diverse ways to the realization of APEC’s ultimate objectives of sustainable development, equitable growth and strengthening of the Asia-Pacific community.

Balanced Growth

Balanced Growth

We seek growth across and within our economies through macroeconomic policies and structural reforms that will gradually unwind imbalances and raise potential output.”

APEC focuses its effort on achieving a strong, sustainable, and balanced macroeconomic environment. APEC’s size and dynamism, coupled with its strength in consensus-building and implementing multi-year programs, make APEC particularly well-placed to implement a balanced growth strategy.

Balanced Growth

List of Actions in the Growth Strategy

  • Encourage balanced growth across economies
  • Encourage balanced growth within economies
  • Facilitate growth through infrastructure investment


Relevant APEC Initiatives and Groups*

APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR)

The ANSSR was launched in 2010 to advance structural reform with a focus on five broad areas from open and competitive markets to social safety nets. Go to Economic Committee for more information.

Ease of Doing Business

This initiative seeks to make it easier, faster and cheaper to do business in the APEC region by 25% between 2009 and 2015 in five priority areas of 1) starting a business; 2) dealing with construction permits; 3) getting credit; 4) trading across borders; and 5) enforcing contracts. For more information, click here.

Good Regulatory Practice

The promotion of good regulatory practices (GRPs) is a key to building high-quality regulatory environments in APEC economies, which contributes to open, well-functioning and competitive markets. The 2014 APEC Economic Policy Report (AEPR) highlights the progress of APEC economies in reaching its GRP goals. Aside from the Economic Committee, Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance works on promoting GRPs in standards and conformity assessment.

Action Agenda on Promoting Infrastructure Investment Through Public Private Partnership

This Action Agenda, endorsed by Leaders in 2014, identifies actions that will contribute to the overall objectives of APEC cooperation on regional connectivity and infrastructure. Relevant projects are undertaken by the Committee on Trade and Investment and the Investment Experts’ Group, while the Finance Ministers’ Process also works on accelerating infrastructure development and financing.

Investment Facilitation Action Plan (IFAP)

IFAP was endorsed in 2008 and provides a series of principles that aim to facilitate investment. It is closely linked to the balanced growth component as it seeks to improve the transparency in the formulation and administration of investment-related policies and strengthen public private partnership to develop infrastructure.

*Note: The list is indicative. Some initiatives may have varying impacts on multiple growth attributes.

Inclusive Growth

Inclusive Growth

We seek to ensure that all our citizens have the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from global economic growth.”

APEC supports policies that increase opportunities for all workers to benefit from regional economic integration. Efforts are made to improve the business environment for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and to create sufficient opportunities for potentially vulnerable groups, including youth, elderly and women, through better education, training and employment programs.

Inclusive Growth

List of Actions in the Growth Strategy

  • Promote job creation, human resource development, and active labor market policies
  • Promote SMEs, MEs and entrepreneurship development
  • Promote more inclusive access to finance and financial services
  • Enhance social resilience and social welfare through means such as improving social safety nets and supporting vulnerable groups
  • Create new economic opportunities for women, elderly and vulnerable groups
  • Promote tourism


Relevant APEC Initiatives and Groups*

Initiatives for SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group works to encourage the development of SMEs and to build their capacity to innovate and engage in international trade. Go to our page on Inclusive Growth to find out APEC’s SME-related initiatives.  

APEC Scholarship and Internship Initiative

Launched in 2014, this initiative gives students and professionals the opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills by studying in institutions located in the APEC region. It contributes to inclusive growth by promoting human resource development and creating new opportunities for women and other groups.

APEC Digital Opportunity Center

With over 100 centers in 10 APEC economies offering information technology (IT) training to vulnerable communities, the APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) is focused on transforming digital divides into digital opportunities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC’s work on inclusive growth covers many other areas such as human resources development, women’s economic participation, and universal access to ICT.

*Note: The list is indicative. Some initiatives may have varying impacts on multiple growth attributes.

Sustainable Growth

Sustainable Growth

We seek growth compatible with global efforts for protection of the environment and transition to green economies.”

APEC economies encourage green industries and jobs to achieve sustainable growth and address climate change. APEC helps to establish a low-carbon society in order to maintain economic growth while protecting the environment. Steps are being taken to facilitate the diffusion of clean energy technology and systems, including by reducing barriers to trade and investment in energy efficient products and providing appropriate incentives for investment in energy efficient and low-carbon energy supply, buildings, industry and transport.

Sustainable Growth

List of Actions in the Growth Strategy

  • Enhance energy security and promote energy-efficiency and low-carbon policies
  • Develop a low-carbon energy sector
  • Improve access for environmental goods and services (EGS) and develop EGS sectors
  • Promote green jobs education and training
  • Promote private investment in green industries and production processes
  • Promote conservation and more sustainable management of agriculture and natural resources


Relevant APEC Initiatives and Groups*

APEC List of Environmental Goods

APEC members are promoting trade in environmental goods from solar panels to wind turbines by voluntarily reducing the tariffs on a list of 54 environmental goods to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015.

More broadly, many activities related to green growth are underway, such as promoting the harmonization of energy efficiency standards and green technologies for the construction of buildings (Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance) and supporting the development of the Environmental Goods and Services sector (Market Access Group).   

Low-Carbon Model Towns

APEC is helping towns around the Asia-Pacific develop urban plans to lower their carbon footprint from relying on solar energy to installing electric motorbike systems.

APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report

In 2014 the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group and the fourth APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting (AOMM4) endorsed the first ever APEC Marine Sustainable Development Report. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of marine sustainable development in the APEC region as well as a review of the progress made so far, and highlights challenges. 

Click here to read about other initiatives related to sustainable growth. Also, refer to the infographic on APEC’s initiatives to support environmental sustainability in the region.

*Note: The list is indicative. Some initiatives may have varying impacts on multiple growth attributes.

Innovative Growth

Innovative Growth

We seek to create an economic environment that promotes innovation and emerging economic sectors.”

APEC Leaders recognize that technology breakthroughs and information and communications technology (ICT) play a significant role as a primary driver of economic growth. Moreover, innovation in new products and services can enhance progress on critical global issues, including the environment, energy, transportation, agriculture, health care, logistics emergency response, administrative services and education. 

Innovative Growth

List of Actions in the Growth Strategy

  • Realize smart socioeconomic activity through ICT applications
  • Promote digital prosperity
  • Develop a skilled, adaptable and professional APEC workforce
  • Enhance dialogues and information sharing on innovation policy
  • Promote innovation and creativity through effective, comprehensive and balanced intellectual property systems
  • Promote cooperation on standards
  • Promote innovation in Life Sciences


Relevant APEC Initiatives and Groups*

APEC Initiative of Cooperation to Promote Internet Economy

Endorsed by APEC Ministers in 2014, this initiative calls for actions that are conductive to innovative growth including technological exchanges and capacity building, among others. It also aims to leverage the Internet Economy to empower vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

Cross Border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA)

The CPEA aims to promote and enforce information privacy protection to increase trust and confidence in electronic commerce involving cross-border data flows based on the APEC Privacy Framework. Visit Electronic Commerce Steering Group for more information. Click here to read a related article.  

Telecommunications and Information Working Group is also engaged in supporting ICT innovation and advancing the Internet of Things through many projects.

APEC Initiative on Toward Innovation-Driven Growth

Endorsed by APEC Leaders in 2014, this initiative is focused on promoting innovation-driven development through partnerships on collaborative innovation, pro-innovation policy environments and strengthening the link between innovation and economic growth. 

APEC Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Arrangement

The APEC Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TEL MRA)—the world’s first multilateral effort initiated in 1998 to mutually recognize testing and certification of new telecom technologies across borders—has helped fuel this expansion by shepherding innovations to market faster.  Over the last seventeen years, the Asia-Pacific telecom industry has reaped the benefits resulting from this APEC arrangement.

APEC Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mutual Recognition Arrangement (EE MRA)

The purpose of the EE MRA is to enable mutual recognition of conformity assessment with the objective of facilitating trade in regulated electrical and electronic equipment between APEC member economies. The MRA allows for three levels of participation to cater for the different capabilities of member economies such as technical infrastructure and administrative requirements. Click here for more information.

APEC is also working on enhancing intellectual property rights systems through the Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group and the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures.

Business start-up and the development of entrepreneurial skills are other important attributes of the innovative growth. APEC groups working in this area include the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group, Human Resources Development Working Group and Policy Partnerships on Science, Technology and Innovation.

*Note: The list is indicative. Some initiatives may have varying impacts on multiple growth attributes.

Secure Growth

Secure Growth

We seek to protect the region's citizens' economic and physical well-being and to provide the secure environment necessary for economic activity.”

Disease, disasters, terrorism and corruption all impact the economic and physical well-being of people in the region by reducing economic productivity and disrupting commerce and trade. APEC has implemented a number of initiatives to enhance member economies’ capacity to minimize natural and human risks to growth.

Secure Growth

List of Actions in the Growth Strategy

  • Protecting the region’s economic systems from attack, disruption, and misuse is an important component of a safer business environment
  • Prepare for emergencies and natural disasters
  • Enhance infectious diseases preparedness and control of non-communicable diseases, and strengthen health systems
  • Strengthen food security and food safety
  • Combat corruption and promote transparency


Relevant APEC Initiatives and Groups*

Travel Facilitation Initiative

Under this initiative, the Business Mobility Group works closely with relevant APEC to enable more efficient, more secure travel, including the Trusted Traveller initiative. For this and other activities that seek to improve border control against terrorism or illegal activities while facilitating the movement of business people across borders, click here.

Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) systems

The AEO system supports secure trade through authorization of operators, thereby facilitating trade for low risk operators and ensuring Customs can focus inspection resources on more high-risk parties. The Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures carries out capacity building for the economies that have not established the AEO program and further advancing the formulation of the minimum standards for AEO enterprises, including the SMEs.

APEC Counter-Terrorism and Secure Trade Strategy

Endorsed in 2011, this Strategy identifies four cross-cutting areas of secure supply chains, secure travel, secure finance and secure infrastructure, which require close cooperation among government agencies, private sector stakeholders and multilateral organizations. The Counter Terrorism Working Group undertakes capacity building activities in these areas.

Energy Security Initiative (ESI)

The ESI consists of short-term measures to respond to temporary energy supply disruptions and longer-term policies that address the broader challenges facing the region’s energy supply. For more information on APEC’s work on energy, click here.

Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020

Endorsed in 2014, this initiative identifies the areas that APEC will focus on through 2020 including: continued work on unfinished health-related MDGs, non-communicable diseases, health system strengthening, and response to public health emergencies and disasters.

Action Plan on Food Security

Endorsed in 2010, the Action Plan identifies the activities aimed at assisting APEC to achieve 1) sustainable development of the agricultural sector, and 2) facilitation of investment, trade and markets. Based on the Action Plan, APEC implements various projects to strengthen regional food security.

APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET)

The ACT-NET was endorsed in 2014 and its goal is to establish a mechanism of cross-border cooperation among anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies in charge of investigations and prosecution of crimes such as corruption, bribery, money laundering and illicit trade. Click here for more information.

*Note: The list is indicative. Some initiatives may have varying impacts on multiple growth attributes.