APEC Working for Canadians

APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is an intergovernmental forum dedicated to promoting free trade and investment, economic growth and development, and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. It operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue.

APEC was founded in 1989 to respond to growing interdependence among economies in the region. Its work has since expanded to also address other key issues such as security, health, energy and agriculture. The results of this work are aimed at improving the living standards of its members.

Why is APEC important to Canada?

The APEC region encompasses countries critical to Canada's future economic prosperity and security interests. It remains the only trans-Pacific regional organization that hosts a leaders-level meeting at which Canada is present.

APEC brings together leaders, ministers, senior officials and business representatives, who meet regularly to drive the APEC agenda forward and implement policies and projects across a wide range of issues, from trade and investment facilitation to economic cooperation to counter-terrorism.

The breadth of APEC's agenda allows for a cross-disciplinary approach to issues, for example, "secure trade" (the economic impact of disruptions in the movement of people and goods).

APEC allows Canada to further engage in bilateral and multilateral discussions and negotiations in one of the world's largest economic zones, where many of our key trade partners are also members.

Trade in goods and services between APEC economies have more than tripled, in dollar terms, since the forum's inception.

Canada's role in APEC

To ensure that Canadian interests are taken into account within the APEC decision-making process, various Government of Canada departments are active in over 30 APEC working groups and committees.

In recent years, Canada chaired the APEC Health Working Group, the Fisheries Working Group and the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group. This year, Canada is the Lead Shepherd for the APEC Transportation Working Group. Chairing gives Canada a leadership role on these issues, both within the organization and in the region as a whole.

APEC's activities have also expanded to include discussion of pressing security issues that involve political threats to economic prosperity and growth in the region. Through APEC, Canada will continue to engage key Asia-Pacific partners in countering terrorism, enhancing health, security and infectious disease strategies, and forming global approaches to international energy issues.