Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (styled "Member Economies") that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs (such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area) in other parts of the world, APEC works to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to foster a sense of community and an appreciation of shared interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Members account for approximately 40% of the world's population, approximately 54% of world GDP and about 44% of world trade.[1]

An annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is attended by the heads of government of all APEC members except the Republic of China (Taiwan) which is represented under the name Chinese Taipei by a ministerial-level official. The location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, and a famous tradition involves the attending Leaders dressing in a national costume of the host member.



In January 1989, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke called for more effective economic cooperation across the Pacific Rim region. This led to the first meeting of APEC in the Australian capital Canberra in November, chaired by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. Attended by political ministers from twelve countries, the meeting concluded with commitments for future annual meetings in Singapore and South Korea.

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