The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was established in 1989 and has become the pre-eminent economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. Its primary purpose is to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in the region, with the vision of creating a seamless regional economy. APEC pursues these objectives through trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and economic and technical cooperation.
APEC aims to strengthen regional economic integration by removing impediments to trade and investment “at the border”, enhancing supply chain connectivity "across the border" and improving the business environment "behind the border". It endeavours to improve the operating environment for business by reducing the cost of cross-border trade, improving access to trade information and simplifying regulatory and administrative processes. APEC also helps member economies build the institutional capacity to implement and take advantage of the benefits of trade and investment reform. APEC supports the multilateral trade negotiations underway in the World Trade Organization and complements the goals of the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Private-sector engagement is central to APEC's success. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), established in 1995, represents the interests of business in APEC. ABAC is composed of up to three members from each of the 21 member economies, with business representatives appointed by APEC leaders. The annual APEC CEO Summit and regular industry dialogues also provide opportunities for regional business leaders to interact with APEC leaders and address key issues affecting business in the region.
APEC operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus, and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.
The APEC Secretariat is based in Singapore. It provides coordination and technical and advisory support as well as information management, communications and public outreach services. The Secretariat is headed by a fixed-term Executive Director who is appointed for a period of three years. The Secretariat is also home to the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU). The PSU assists APEC's deliberations by providing research, analysis and policy support. More information on APEC, including its structure, committees and activities, can be found on APEC's official website.
Canada in APEC
Canada was a founding member of the APEC forum in 1989 and has been active in helping APEC achieve its current status. Canada has helped advance APEC's core work streams of regional economic integration through its involvement across more than 30 APEC forums, including committees, working groups and sub-forums. Canada hosted APEC in 1997, culminating in the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
APEC's 21 member economies account for over half of global gross domestic product and are home to more than 2.6 billion people. APEC partners account for over 80% of Canada's total trade in merchandise. Total two-way trade between Canada and APEC economies grew from $725.6 billion in 2010 to $750.9 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.5%.
APEC economies accounted for 62.1% of inward stocks of foreign direct investment in Canada in 2011, and 52.1% of Canada’s direct investment abroad in the same period. Investment in Canada by APEC economies rose by 9.8% to reach $377.1 billion in 2011, with outward Canadian investment in the Asia-Pacific region growing by 10.9% to peak at $356.8 billion in 2011.
Canadian Business Involvement in APEC
In addition to Canada's engagement with APEC economies, business interests in the Asia-Pacific region are advanced through Canada's representation to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). ABAC provides a link between APEC and the business community. ABAC representatives, who hail from the private sector, are appointed by each member country's Leader, and collectively prepare an annual report with recommendations on how to improve the business and investment environment within the Asia-Pacific region. Currently Canada is represented by three ABAC members, who are tasked with contributing to the enhancement of Canada's commercial interests and engagement within the region, including the promotion of Canada as an investment destination of choice. Canada's current two representatives to ABAC are Mr. V. Paul Lee, Managing General Partner of Vanedge Capital Partners Ltd., and Mr. Philip Leong, Vice President and Director of RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
For more information on the APEC Business Advisory Council, please visit the ABAC website
- APEC 2013 Summit - Bali, Indonesia
- APEC 2012 Summit - Vladivostok, Russia
- APEC 2011 Summit - Honolulu, Hawaii
- APEC 2010 Summit - Yokohama, Japan
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