History and Membership of APEC


APEC was established in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies and to the need to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community.

APEC began in 1989, when Australia hosted the first annual meeting of Foreign and Trade Ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific economies to discuss ways to increase cooperation in this fast-expanding region of the world. Canada was a founding member of the APEC forum, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

In 1993, the United States held the first annual meeting of APEC Leaders at Blake Island, near Seattle, to give trade liberalization and economic cooperation further impetus and high level commitment, to develop a spirit of community in the region and to promote sustainable growth and equitable development.

Between its establishment in 1989 and the first annual meeting of APEC Leaders in 1993, APEC accepted six new members. In November 1991, three members were welcomed into the organization: the People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; and Chinese Taipei. In November 1993, APEC accepted Mexico and Papua New Guinea while deciding that Chile would become a full member in November 1994.

Peru, Russia and Vietnam were the latest economies to join the organization in November 1998.

APEC now comprises 21 member economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.

There are three official observers: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF).


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum includes twenty-one members that differ substantially in their political systems, social and cultural institutions, and level of economic development.

The participating APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong-China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

One can access information about Canada's relations with APEC economies by selecting an economy from the list below:


Asia Pacific map highlighting APEC economies