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The idea of APEC was firstly publicly broached by former prime minister of Australia Bob Hawke during a speech in Seoul, Korea, on 31 January 1989. Ten months later, 12 Asia-Pacific economies met in Canberra to establish APEC. The founding members were Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; New Zealand; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and the United States.

China; Hong Kong, China; and Chinese Taipei joined in 1991. Mexico and Papua New Guinea followed in 1993. Chile acceded in 1994. And in 1998, Peru; Russia; and Viet Nam joined, taking the full membership to 21.

Between 1989 and 1992, APEC met as an informal senior official- and ministerial-level dialogue. In 1993, former US President Bill Clinton established the practice of an annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to provide greater strategic vision and direction for cooperation in the region.

The following is a timeline of host economies and milestones.

2022 • Bangkok, Thailand

Open. Connect. Balance

As APEC emerges from COVID-19, economies work to reopen, reconnect and rebalance the region. In Thailand, APEC officials, ministers and leaders meet in person for the first time since 2020 to prepare for the post-pandemic era. Aware of the need for an inclusive and sustainable recovery, as well as for the need to address head on climate change and other environmental challenges in a meaningful way, leaders endorse the Bangkok Goals on the Bio-Circular-Green  Economy—a comprehensive framework to further APEC’s sustainability objectives.

2021 • Wellington, New Zealand

Join, Work, Grow. Together. Haumi ē, Hui ē, Tāiki ē.

Faced with an ongoing pandemic and the biggest downturn in 75 years, APEC economies take extraordinary measures to respond to the economic and health crisis and work towards recovery. Leaders meet twice over the course of APEC’s first fully virtual year—first for an extraordinary informal retreat in July, to invigorate efforts to beat back the pandemic, and again in November. With success in facilitating trade in COVID-19 vaccines and related essential medical products and responding to the immediate challenge of climate change, the 2021 agenda also builds on the previous year’s launch of the Putrajaya Vision 2040 by setting out a plan for APEC's work through the next two decades. The Aotearoa Plan of Action advances trade and economic growth in the present, while underpinning policy directions to support future generations.

2020 • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Optimising Human Potential towards a Future of Shared Prosperity

Amid a global pandemic, APEC leaders meet virtually for the first time, determined to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and emerge from the crisis through coordinated action and cooperation. They commit to protecting people’s lives and recognize the importance of working together to ensure trade and investment continue to flow as well as equitable access to vaccines and other medical countermeasures. In recognition of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on those with untapped economic potential, they announce that they will pursue inclusive economic policies, and as such, welcome the implementation of the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth. They welcome the significant progress made under the Bogor Goals and announce the Putrajaya Vision 2040, for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community.

2019 • Santiago, Chile

Connecting People, Building the Future

The APEC Chair releases the Host Economy Leader’s Statement, which commemorates the 30th year of APEC and lays out the year’s achievements, notably in putting people at the center of the forum’s agenda, as well as issues important to people, such as inclusivity and the environment. The La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth is finalized this year, which acknowledges the urgent need to lift the role of women in the economy. Two significant ocean-related roadmaps are developed, for addressing marine debris and  combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The chair recognizes that, working together, economies strengthen each other and rules-based international trade. The chair recognizes that the needs of people in the Asia-Pacific are evolving and encourages inclusive and sustainable solutions for future work.

2018 • Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future

The APEC chair releases the Era Kone Statement, reflecting the work of member economies throughout 2018. It states that leaders reaffirm the importance of trade liberalization and facilitation in achieving sustainable economic growth and in creating jobs. They recognize the contributions of the rules-based multilateral trading system in achieving this. APEC leaders commit to advancing inclusive growth through innovation, such as the use of digital technologies. They recognize that digital technologies are changing the way businesses and government operate, and although they come with challenges, they have the potential to provide significant widespread gains. To further APEC’s ability to meet these challenges, they endorse the Action Agenda for the Digital Economy which lays out clear commitments to meet the digital future.

2017 • Da Nang, Viet Nam

Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future

Leaders underline APEC’s crucial role in supporting a rules-based, free, open, fair, transparent and inclusive multilateral trading system. APEC commits to strengthening the ability of micro and small enterprises to compete in international markets and endorsed a strategy to create an environment that enables them to go green and sustainable. The forum aims to meet the potential of the internet and digital economy through regulation and policy and seeks to prepare workers—especially those in vulnerable groups—for the  changing world of work through human resource development. To ensure food security in and beyond the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the context of climate change and rural-urban development, the forum adopts the Food Security and Climate Change Multi-Year Action Plan 2018-2020. And through the creation of the APEC Vision Group, leaders show their commitment to a strategic and ambitious post-2020 vision that will position APEC to aim for 21st Century opportunities after the Bogor Goals are met.

2016 • Lima, Peru

Quality Growth and Human Development

APEC leaders reaffirm the member economies’ confidence in international trade as a mechanism for achieving positive economic and social change. This is after throwing their support behind an agenda that pursues inclusive growth as the Asia-Pacific region takes strides to achieve a free and open trade area. Specifically, they express support for advancing the regional economic integration and growth agenda; developing human capital; modernizing micro, small, and medium business; and enhancing regional food systems. In line with these priorities, APEC put forward policy commitments for members towards sustainable economic integration in the region.

2015 • Manila, Philippines

Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World: A Vision for an Asia-Pacific Community

APEC leaders unite behind the opportunity to build inclusive economies in a bid to make economic growth felt broadly by more sectors in society. Acknowledging uneven global growth and the presence of risks and uncertainties in the global economy, the leaders agree to set forth policy enablers for integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in regional and global markets; for building sustainable, and resilient communities; developing human capital; and enhancing the regional economic integration agenda. They also express support for the achievement of quality growth, and endorse a network on services cooperation, recognizing that the services sector represents a significant percentage of businesses in the region.

2014 • Beijing, China

Beijing Agenda for an Integrated, Innovative and Interconnected Asia-Pacific

APEC leaders commit to taking a concrete step towards greater regional economic integration by endorsing a roadmap to translate the vision of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) into a reality. Members implement the first-ever APEC Connectivity Blueprint to achieve targets for better physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages across the region by 2025. In order to capture higher value-added growth, policies to promote innovation, human resource development and sustainability are part of the new  APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth. Recognizing the importance of promoting diversified energy supplies, APEC economies agree to work toward doubling the share of renewables by 2030 in the region’s energy mix, including in power generation.

2013 • Bali, Indonesia

Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth

APEC leaders reaffirm their commitment to the rules-based multilateral trading system and achieving the successful Doha Round outcome at the World Trade Organization (WTO) 9th Ministerial Conference. APEC leaders endorse a multi-year plan on infrastructure development and investment. As a first step under this plan, a Public Private Partnership Centre in Indonesia will be established. To encourage people-to-people connectivity, APEC seeks to promote cross-border cooperation with the target of 1 million intra-APEC university students per year by 2020. APEC holds its first joint Ministerial Meeting on Women and SMEs to promote women entrepreneurship.

2012 • Vladivostok, Russia

Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper

APEC leaders endorse an APEC List of Environmental Goods that directly and positively contribute to green growth and sustainable development objectives. APEC seeks to address transparency as a new next generation trade and investment issue, and leaders endorse the APEC Model Chapter on Transparency for RTAs/FTAs to be used as a guide by APEC economies.

2011 • Honolulu, United States

Toward a Seamless Regional Economy

APEC leaders commit to taking concrete steps towards a seamless regional economy; addressing shared green growth objectives; and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence. To reach these goals, APEC resolves to reduce, by the end of 2015, applied tariff rates of environmental goods to 5 percent or less, taking into account economies' circumstances, without prejudice to APEC members’ positions in the WTO. APEC sets the goal to reduce aggregate energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035. In addition, APEC commits to take specific steps by 2013 to implement good regulatory practices by ensuring internal coordination of regulatory work; assessing regulatory impacts; and conducting public consultation.

2010 • Yokohama, Japan

Change and Action

APEC leaders provide a roadmap for members to realize an economically integrated, robust and secure APEC community. This includes the formulation of a comprehensive, long-term growth strategy. APEC completes an assessment of its progress towards the Bogor Goals and finds significant gains in the areas of liberalizing trade in goods, services and investment, as well as trade facilitation. APEC formulates the APEC Strategy for Investment and endorses the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform. APEC holds its first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security.

2009 • Singapore

Sustaining Growth, Connecting the Region

APEC resolves to pursue balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth, while leaders agree to extend their standstill commitment on protectionism until 2010. The first-ever joint meetings of APEC senior trade and finance officials are held to address the economic crisis. APEC launches the Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework and the Ease of Doing Business Action Plan to make doing business in the region 25 percent cheaper, faster and easier by 2015. Member economies also commence work on an APEC Services Action Plan and an Environmental Goods and Services Work Program.

2008 • Lima, Peru

A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development

APEC economic leaders address the global financial crisis in the Lima Statement on the Global Economy, in which they commit to take all necessary economic and financial measures to restore stability and growth, to reject protectionism and to intensify efforts to advance the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda negotiations. APEC focuses on the social dimensions of trade, reducing the gap between developing and developed members and corporate social responsibility. Leaders welcome the APEC Investment Facilitation Action Plan aimed at improving the investment environment in the region.

2007 • Sydney, Australia

Strengthening Our Community, Building a Sustainable Future

For the first time, APEC member economies issue a Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development outlining future action in support of a new international climate change arrangement and announcing a forward program of practical, cooperative actions and initiatives. Leaders also adopt a major report on closer regional economic integration, including structural reform initiatives, and welcome the second APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan which aims to reduce trade transaction costs by a further 5 percent by 2010.

2006 • Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Towards a Dynamic Community for Sustainable Development and Prosperity

APEC economic leaders endorse the Ha Noi Action Plan which identifies specific actions and milestones to implement the Bogor Goals. Leaders conclude that the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan has achieved its target of a 5 percent reduction in trade transaction costs in the region between 2002 and 2006. APEC takes a strategic approach to reform fora and strengthen the Secretariat.

2005 • Busan, Korea

Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change

APEC completes the Mid-Term Stock-take of Progress towards the Bogor Goals. The stock-take finds that average tariffs in the APEC region have been reduced to 5.5 percent, down from 16.9 percent when APEC was established in 1989, and that APEC is on schedule to meet the Bogor Goals. It also outlines the Busan Roadmap to the Bogor Goals. The APEC Privacy Framework is launched.

2004 • Santiago, Chile

One Community, Our Future

APEC adopts best practices for RTAs and FTAs, a reference guide for APEC members undertaking RTA/FTA negotiations. The Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) is launched. It addresses five priority areas: regulatory reform; corporate governance; public governance; competition policy; and strengthening economic legal infrastructure. Leaders endorse the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency.

2003 • Bangkok, Thailand

Partnership for the Future

Members undertake to implement the APEC Action Plan on SARS and the Health Security Initiative to help the region prevent and respond to health threats. Leaders pledge to strengthen regional efforts to promote sound and efficient financial systems and encourage the development of domestic and regional bond markets.

2002 • Los Cabos, Mexico

Expanding the Benefits of Cooperation for Economic Growth and Development - Implementing the Vision

APEC adopts a Trade Facilitation Action Plan and the Statement to Implement APEC Policies on Trade and the Digital Economy. The Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative is launched and a Statement to Implement APEC Transparency Standards is endorsed.

2001 • Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Meeting New Challenges in the New Century

Leaders issue APEC’s first Statement on Counter-Terrorism and pledge to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation. Leaders also adopt the Shanghai Accord which focuses on: broadening the APEC vision to reflect changes resulting from the digital economy; clarifying the roadmap to reach the Bogor Goals; and strengthening the IAP Peer Review Process and capacity building activities. An e-APEC Strategy, identifying the necessary policy environment and specifying appropriate goals and actions to maximize the benefits of the digital economy, is also endorsed.

2000 • Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Delivering to the Community

APEC commits to the Action Agenda for the New Economy. Leaders set the goals of tripling internet access throughout the APEC region by 2005 and achieving universal access by 2010.

1999 • Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland Challenge

APEC leaders endorse the APEC Principles to Enhance Competition and Regulatory Reform, aimed at addressing the structural and regulatory weaknesses that contributed to the Asian Financial Crisis. APEC commits to paperless trading by 2005 in developed economies and 2010 in developing economies. The APEC Business Travel Card scheme is approved and a Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Electrical Equipment and a Framework for the Integration of Women in APEC are endorsed. 

1998 • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Strengthening the Foundations for Growth

APEC ministers agree on a Blueprint for Action on Electronic Commerce, including a commitment to paperless trading by 2005 in developed economies and by 2010 in developing economies. Peru; Russia; and Viet Nam join APEC, taking the full membership to 21.

1997 • Vancouver, Canada

Connecting the APEC Community

APEC endorses a proposal for early voluntary sectoral liberalization in 15 sectors and decides that individual action plans should be updated annually.

1996 • Manila, Philippines

From Vision to Action

The Manila Action Plan for APEC is adopted, outlining the trade and investment liberalization and facilitation measures required to reach the Bogor Goals. The first collective and individual action plans are compiled, outlining how economies will achieve the free trade goals.

1995 • Osaka, Japan

APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration for Action

APEC adopts the Osaka Action Agenda which provides a framework for meeting the Bogor Goals through trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and sectoral activities, underpinned by policy dialogues and economic and technical cooperation. The APEC Business Advisory Council is established to inject a business perspective into APEC deliberations and to give advice on business sector priorities.

1994 • Bogor, Indonesia

APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration of Common Resolve

APEC sets the Bogor Goals of “free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies.” The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations conducted under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is concluded. APEC is widely considered to have been a significant force in bringing the Uruguay Round to a conclusion. Chile joins APEC.

1993 • Blake Island, United States

APEC Leaders’ Economic Vision Statement

APEC economic leaders meet for the first time and outline APEC’s vision of “stability, security and prosperity for our peoples.” Mexico and Papua New Guinea join APEC.

1992 • Bangkok, Thailand

APEC ministers hold their fourth ministerial meeting.

1991 • Seoul, Korea

APEC ministers hold their third meeting. The People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; and Chinese Taipei enter the forum.

1990 • Singapore

APEC ministers hold their second meeting and prepare for expanding the membership.

1989 • Canberra, Australia

APEC begins as an informal ministerial-level dialogue group with 12 founding members: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; New Zealand; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and the United States.

[Read more about APEC’s beginnings here.]