Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Under the theme “Quality Growth and Human Development”, the most recent APEC Summit was held in Lima, Peru from November 19-20, 2016. At APEC 2016, ministers and leaders focused their attention on trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region and how to support  sustained and quality growth. Other considerations included  how to promote social inclusion, institution building and environmental responsibility in order to foster growth for the future.

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.

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 more than half (59%) of global GDP and they are home to more than 2.8 billion people. In 2015, APEC total merchandise trade exports were valued at USD8.3 trillion and APEC partners accounted for more than 84% of Canada's total merchandise trade. Foreign direct investment from APEC economies in Canada was $461.1 billion in 2015.

Canadian Business Involvement in APEC

Canada’s representation on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) helps advance Canadian business interests in the Asia-Pacific region. 

ABAC was set up to provide a link between APEC and the business community. Drawn from the private sector, ABAC representatives are appointed by each APEC leader and collectively prepare an annual report with recommendations on how to improve the business and investment environment within the Asia-Pacific region.

Canada currently has one ABAC representatives, who is tasked with helping to strengthen Canada’s commercial interests and engagement within the region, including by promoting Canada as an investment destination of choice.

Canada’s ABAC representative is Suzanne Benoît, President of Aéro Montréal.

It is expected that the appointment of the two vacant positions will be announced in spring 2017.

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada acts as ABAC’s secretariat in Canada. For more information about  ABAC, please visit the ABAC website.