What is APEC and What Can It Do For Business?


What Is Apec?

APEC's Background

APEC's First Pillar: Trade and Investment Liberalization

APEC's Second Pillar: Trade Facilitation

APEC's Third Pillar: Economic and Technical Cooperation


How APEC Works

The APEC Secretariat


The Critical Role of Business in APEC 

The APEC Business Advisory Council

The CEO Summit

Business Advising APEC at the Working Level


What APEC Does for Business

Recent APEC Success Stories







I.  What is APEC ?
APEC stands for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.  Today, APEC has 21 members, including all the major economies of the region and the most dynamic, fastest growing economies in the world.  APEC members have a combined Gross Domestic Product of over $16 trillion and carry out 42% of world trade.  Over the past decade, APEC has become the primary vehicle in the region to promote open trade and economic cooperation.  APEC's role has grown in recent years in both depth and scope and now encompasses trade liberalization, business facilitation, economic and technical cooperation, youth and women.

A new tool is now available for businesses to access the wealth of practical information available within the APEC website.  Please check out the new portal BizAPEC.com.  You will also find useful the publication; APEC Getting Results for Business.  Find it in the Virtual Library and at www.dfat.gov.au/apec/apec_bus_results.pdf.

APEC's Background
APEC was established in 1989 in Canberra, Australia with 12 members.  Its origins lay in the desire of the founding members to promote economic growth, foster and strengthen trade, and improve living standards in the Asia-Pacific region.  APEC started with a modest program of sectoral and trade negotiations.  From the beginning, APEC has seen itself not as a grouping of countries, but of economies, the term emphasizing that the organization discusses economics, not politics.  It was also established as a loose consultative forum, with no organization structure or a large bureaucracy supporting it.  Indeed, even today, the APEC Secretariat, which is located in Singapore, includes only 23 diplomats seconded from APEC member economies in addition to 20 locally hired staff.

It was in 1993 that an annual meeting of APEC Leaders became a regular feature of APEC.  Only one year after this first meeting, which was held in the U.S., APEC Leaders took another historic step at their meeting in Bogor, Indonesia.  At this meeting, the Leaders declared a bold goal of creating the world's largest area of free trade and investment by 2020.  Within APEC, this challenge became known as the "Bogor Goals."  Under the plan, developed economies would achieve free trade by the year 2010 and developing economies would follow in 2020.

[APEC's 21 members today are: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; the People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; South Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States; and Viet Nam.]

How Businesses Can Get Involved in APEC:
Contact Richard Eason at the APEC Secretariat.  
(Tel:  65-276-1880; Fax: 65-
rme@mail.apecsec.org.sg);  OR
If you are interested in the specific activities of an APEC working group, task force, or other APEC group, contact directly the program director for that group.  Check the APEC Secretariat website at http://www.apecsec.org.sg. Or bizAPEC.com for the name and contact information of the relevant director.

At their meeting in Japan in 1995, the Leaders approved what became known as the Osaka Action Agenda.  Under this approach, APEC established three central pillars to its cooperative work: trade and investment liberalization, trade facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation.  A more detailed discussion of these three pillars appears below.  Building on both Bogor and Osaka, the next year, the Leaders endorsed a "Manila Action Plan."  In effect, this Action Plan put the flesh on the bare bones of both Bogor and Osaka.  It outlined the trade and investment liberalization and facilitation measures needed to reach the Bogor Goals.  It also established a system of collective and individual action plans which detail the paths by which economies will reach the Bogor Goals.

Before describing any further what APEC is, it would be useful to make clear what it is not.  APEC is not:

  • a formal trade agreement like the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA);

  • a European-style "common market,"

  • a rules-based organization like the World Trade Organization (WTO);

  • a policy think tank group like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

APEC's First Pillar:  Trade and Investment Liberalization
The first pillar is critical for APEC's ability to achieve its Bogor Goal of free trade in the APEC region by the year 2020.  It works on the basis of unilateral liberalization, which means that each APEC member voluntarily agrees to liberalize in a particular area of trade and investment.  APEC has developed a basic tool for achieving this pillar: individual action plans (known by the acronym IAP).  All APEC economies are required to prepare and regularly update these IAPs. 

Each IAP includes details on the 15 sectors specified by the Osaka Action Agenda.  They include the following areas:

  • tariffs

  • non-tariff measures

  • services

  • investment

  • standards and conformance

  • customs procedures

  • intellectual property rights

  • competition policy

  • government procurement

  • rules of origin

  • dispute mediation

  • the mobility of business people

  • implementation of outcomes of the Uruguay Round of trade talks, and

  • information gathering and analysis.

In addition to each IAP describing what APEC members are doing in these areas, there are working-level groups within APEC which work towards making further progress in each of the 15 areas.  APEC has made these IAPs more accessible to business by simplifying formats and creating electronic IAPs.  These "e-IAPs became fully operational in November 2000.  In addition to the IAPs, APEC members work together collectively in these same areas through the use of Collective Action Plans, known as CAPs.

APEC's Second Pillar: Trade Facilitation
Basically, trade facilitation is aimed at making doing business in the region easier and less costly.  Although work in this area continues on a broad front, APEC has already made substantial progress in many areas including standards, customs, electronic commerce, business travel, telecommunications, energy, fisheries, and government procurement.  Some examples will be discussed separately, to better highlight how business can best take advantage of the progress in these areas.

APEC's Third Pillar:  Economic and Technical Cooperation
Within APEC, economic and technical cooperation is described in shorthand by the term, "Ecotech."  It should first be stressed that Ecotech does not mean development assistance to developing APEC economies.  Instead, the goals of Ecotech are to:

  • attain sustainable growth and equitable development within APEC;

  • reduce economic disparities;

  • improve the economic and social well-being of the people;

  • deepen the spirit of community in APEC.

At their meeting in Manila in 1996, APEC Leaders identified six priority areas for APEC's work in Ecotech:

  • developing human capital;

  • fostering safe and efficient capital markets;

  • strengthening economic infrastructure;

  • harnessing technologies for the future;

  • promoting environmentally sustainable growth; and

  • encouraging the growth of small and medium enterprises.

Currently, APEC has 250 ongoing Ecotech activities.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum is not a rules-based organization with trade dispute enforcement powers like the WTO.  APEC, instead, works on the basis of consultation and consensus-building.  New policies agreed to within APEC meetings are agreed to voluntarily and much of APEC's progress comes through members setting examples for each other and through peer pressure.  A key element of the process is open sharing of information between members and the public, an element underlined by the central use of the Individual Action Plans available to anyone logging on to the APEC website.  In Shanghai, the APEC Leaders also launched a pathfinder initiative.  The details of this initiative are being worked out this year but the idea is that groups of APEC members will make projects in specific areas where possible, regardless of whether all APEC members are ready.  

The apex of each year for APEC is the meeting of Economic Leaders.  Since the Chair of APEC rotates each year, there is a different host for each of these Leaders meetings.  For example, last year President Bush, President Putin, President Fox, and the other APEC Leaders traveled to Shanghai, where President Jiang Zemin hosted them.  This year, Mexico chairs APEC and President Fox will host the APEC Economic Leaders in Los Cabos, Baja del Sur, Mexico October 26 and 27.  In subsequent years, Thailand (2003), Chile (2004), and the Republic of Korea (2005) will chair APEC. 

However, throughout an "APEC" year, there are many meetings held at different levels aimed at preparing issues for decision by the Leaders, as well as at carrying out directions issued by Leaders in previous years.  (The schedule for these meetings can be found on the APEC website under the "APEC Calendar" at http://www.apecsec.org.sg/whatsnew/calend/calendar.html.)  The meetings of APEC Ministers make up the highest level of these meetings.  There are regular, although not always annual, meetings of APEC Ministers of education, energy, environment and sustainable development, finance, human resources development, science and technology, small and medium enterprises, telecommunications, trade, and transportation.

Below the level of the Ministers, APEC Senior Officials meet three or four times throughout the year.  As with the meetings of the Ministers, these "SOM" meetings both prepare for the Leaders' Meeting later in the year and respond to directions set by Leaders in earlier meetings.  Below SOM are three overarching committees and 23 working level groups that work both in the sectors detailed in the Individual Action Plans (see the top of page 3) and in other areas, including:

  • energy

  • fisheries

  • human resources development

  • industrial science and technology

  • marine resources conservation

  • telecommunications

  • trade promotion

  • transportation

  • tourism

  • agricultural technical cooperation

  • small and medium enterprises.

There is a Program Director at the APEC Secretariat who supports the working level activities being carried on in APEC in each of these areas as well as those mentioned elsewhere.  You can identify each Program Director and contact them by logging on to htttp://www.apecsec.org.sg and going to the "APEC Secretariat" page and then to "Incumbent PSMs and Duties."  In addition, information on the working level groups themselves appears under the WebPages "Activities by Groups."

The APEC Secretariat
The APEC Secretariat is based in Singapore.  The Secretariat is staffed by 23 diplomats seconded from APEC member economies and by 20 local staff.  An Executive Director, who is always an Ambassador seconded from that year's APEC host, heads the Secretariat.  Since China is this year's host of APEC, the current Executive Director, Ambassador  Alejandro de la Pea, is Mexican.  The Deputy Executive Director is always from next year's APEC host and he or she becomes the Executive Director the following year when the new APEC host takes over.  The current Deputy Director, Thailands Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, will serve as the Secretariat's Executive Director for Thailand's year as host of APEC in 2003.  The other 21 seconded diplomats are from, currently, from 18 of the APEC members and are from Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministries.

The Secretariat works under the direction of the APEC Senior Officials and is the core support mechanism for the APEC process.  It provides advisory, operational and logistical/technical services to member economies and APEC forums.  It also provides advice on the design of APEC projects, manages project funding, and evaluates the projects after they are completed.  It addition to maintaining the website, it produces a range of publications and liaises with the media.  Finally, it provides APEC's institutional memory through its Library, Archives and databases.

The APEC Business Advisory Council
There are few international or regional organizations of officials in which the business sector plays such a central role.  The members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum have long realized that business is a key constituency for its work and that business must be actively involved for APEC to be successful.  During APEC's early years, APEC officials regularly consulted prominent business representatives in the Asia-Pacific region.  In 1995, Leaders decided to formalize this relationship and established the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).  ABAC's members are chosen directly by the APEC Leaders.  Each APEC Leader chooses up to three members.  Most APEC economies reserve one of their ABAC positions for a representative from a small or medium-sized enterprise, thanks to the key role that these SMEs play in all APEC economies.

ABAC meets several times during the year and compiles an annual report containing recommendations on ways to improve the business and investment climate in the APEC region.  ABAC presents this report personally to the APEC Leaders at the Leaders meeting each year.  As an example, at the Shanghai Leaders meeting, ABAC members presented their report in a face-to-face meeting with Premier Jiang Zemin, President George W. Bush, President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Mori, Mexican President Vicente Fox and the other APEC Leaders.  There was also a lively question-and-answer session during this meeting.

ABAC's 2001 Report to APEC Economic Leaders was broad ranging but full of detailed recommendations aimed at addressing problems in a number of different areas.  In this report, ABAC:

The ABAC report contains four main themes:

  1. APEC economies must accelerate progress towards trade and investment liberalization as stated in the Bogor Goals.  We encourage Leaders to instill the necessary sense of urgency and commitment to fully liberalize trade and investment in accordance with the Bogor Goals and we respectfully urge Leaders to instruct Ministers and Officials to achieve these.

  2. ABAC strongly advocates that APEC demonstrate its support for the launch of a new WTO round at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha in November.

  3. ABAC alerts Leaders to the impending threat of financial contagion.  APEC should counter the current economic uncertainty with decisive measures to stimulate economic growth, and accelerate financial reforms.  Economies need to ensure that international and regional financial architecture mechanisms are in place to deal with contagion.  These should include key indicators recommended by the IMF aimed at providing early warning signals, and improved policy coordination.

  4. A balanced approach to globalization that combines market opening, capacity-building and full participation is essential because these three elements reinforce one another.  Should any of these three be neglected, the globalization process would lose balance and the goal of common development could not be realized.  Therefore, all three elements should develop hand-in-hand as an integral part of the APEC process.

Some of the specific recommendations include:

  • Accelerate banking and capital market reforms to international financial standards, improve corporate governance, and further liberalize investment and trade in financial services.

  • Intensify capacity-building to promote financial system reforms to deepen markets through the development of domestic bond markets and credible credit rating agencies, strengthen risk management hedging mechanisms, and when viable, wider use of second board markets.

  • Strengthen international and regional financial architecture by participating in:

  • Financial soundness indicators programs to improve surveillance measures.

  • Efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of short-term capital flows, activities of highly leveraged institutions and moral hazard.

  • Encourage regional private-public partnerships in trade facilitation and capacity building as shown by the Shanghai Model Port Project

  • Encourage Leaders to take the opportunity of the Shanghai meeting to renounce the use of food embargoes and to urge their officials to adopt the other action items proposed by ABAC to assist in the implementation of the APEC Food System.

  • Align standards and conformance through mutual recognition agreements and the adoption of international standards.

  • Strengthen the accessibility and comprehensiveness of the Individual Action Plans (IAPs) to make them an essential means of measuring APEC's progress and tools business can use to make strategic decisions.

  • Address impediments to trade with emphasis on strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and removing barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI).

  • Adopt policies that enable the widespread use of e-learning as a tool to develop skills and reduce the digital divide.

  • Leading by example, governments should put more information and services online, improving efficiency and access, and encouraging private sector investment in information and communication technology (ICT).

  • Facilitate one-window access to SME programs and services through the development of an APEC SME Portal, to provide information on financing, technology and new market opportunities.

  • Adopt policies that are "small business-friendly", with the assistance of a proposed Scorecard for Entrepreneurial Environment.

As a regional economic organization, APEC plays an important role in the economic globalization process. In the past decade, member economies have made remarkable achievements in their pursuit of open and free trade and investment. This year, however, the Asia Pacific region faces a number of new and serious challenges.

  • The terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001 caused APEC, for the first time, to confront a political issue.  The APEC Leaders in Shanghai issued a statement on counter terrorism, detailing a number of steps that must be addressed to respond vigorously to the threat.

  • The pronounced slowdown of the global economy in 2001 even before the events of September 11 led to further financial instability and fears of contagion. Market confidence was seriously weakened, slowing progress in globalization. Economies of the region reliant on external demand are lost momentum with their economic recoveries. Financial systems were seen as increasingly vulnerable to a new round of crisis.

  • The final launch of a new round of WTO talks, assisted in part by work done in APEC has helped break a logjam in global trade talks.  Now progress will be possible in a range of important trade areas.  Although APEC as an institution will not be involved directly in those talks, APEC will closely monitor the process and do its best to help it along.

  • The deadline for realizing the commitments under the Bogor Declaration by 2010/2020 is fast approaching. APEC's credibility is at stake unless it can demonstrate political will and decisively translate commitments into concrete actions to achieve the Bogor Goals of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation (TILF).

  • Economic globalization is being accompanied by a public debate on its benefits and costs. The time has come for APEC to step forward and contribute to ways of maximizing the benefits for common development and easing the costs of economic globalization, and thus lead the public debate in a constructive manner.

 Website:  http://abaconline.org

 (You can read the ABAC report in its entirety at http://www.apecsec.org.sg/abac/reports/ABAC_Report_2001.pdf.)  Past recommendations from ABAC have been adopted as APEC goals.  Electronic Individual Action Plans, the APEC Food System, an E-Commerce Readiness Assessment and many other APEC initiatives owe their genesis to ABAC recommendations.

The CEO Summit
As an added opportunity for top business leaders to participate in the APEC Leaders' meeting, a CEO Summit is organized each year.  At this year's CEO Summit in Shanghai, Presidents George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Vicente Fox, Premier Jiang Zemin, Prime Ministers Mahathir Mohamad, Helen Clark, Junichiro Koizumi, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hua and WTO Director General-Designate Supachai Panitchpakdi spoke, along with other leading political, academic and business representatives, to a gathering of over 1000 top business executives.  The top business executives included Microsoft's Bill Gates, Hewlett Packard's Carly Fiorino, FedEx's Fred Smith, Toshiba's Taizo Nishimuro, General Motors' John Smith, and AOL Time Warner's Gerald Levin. 

Business Advising APEC at the Working Level
Below the level of the APEC Leaders and ABAC, business is active at many levels in APEC and in many of the APEC Ministerial and working-level groups.  At the level of the Ministers, the APEC Finance Ministers established the APEC Financiers Group, which consists of representatives of financial institutions from each APEC economy, in 1995.  In 2000, the APEC Energy Ministers held a full-day public and private sector dialogue and a separate dialogue with the Energy Business Network, a grouping of energy-related private sector companies.  The APEC SME Ministers hold joint meetings with the SME Business Forum and also have met as well with the Women Leaders' Network and an E-Commerce Workshop.

At the working level of APEC, there are many different ways in which business advises APEC officials.  For example, business representatives have participated in meetings of the Intellectual Property Rights Experts Group since 1996 and the Fisheries Task Force of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) has worked with the Fisheries Working Group since 1991.  Other working level APEC groups hold annual dialogues with the private sector: the Infrastructure Workshop, the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, and the Trade Promotion Working Group.  As noted earlier, other APEC working groups have established a private sector arm such as the Energy Business Network of the Energy Working Group.  Many other groups have ad hoc contacts with business and others, such as the Informal Experts Group on the Mobility of Business People and others include business representatives as members of their delegations.  These include the Industrial Science and Technology Working Group, the Marine Resources Conservation Group, and the Telecommunications Working Group.

The direct and extensive involvement of business in the deliberations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum is critical for APEC's work and for staying on track to achieve the Bogor goals of trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region by the year 2020.  Business provides APEC officials with a cutting-edge view of entrepreneurial developments and high-technology and helps point APEC the right way in removing impediments to doing business in the region.  The business sector has been instrumental in detailing how APEC economies can best make themselves ready for the new economy and e-commerce.  With the head-spinning changes taking place not only in technology but the structure of commerce itself, APEC officials would be hopelessly behind the curve keeping up with the changes without the direct ties with those in the business sector at the forefront of these revolutionary changes.

It is often hard to point out a "top ten" of APEC achievements that benefit the private sector.  APEC works in so many different areas that it would be impossible to rank order such a diversity of initiatives.  The best approach would be to highlight a few examples from a number of the areas that benefit businesses most directly.  The next section, "Recent APEC Success Stories," attempts to do just that.

Standards and Conformance

  • APEC members have committed to align domestic standards with relevant international standards in four priority sectors by 2005 (electrical and electronic appliances, food labeling, rubber gloves and condoms, and machinery).  Member economies have also agreed to align all electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility standards by 2008.

  • APEC is eliminating the need for separate testing for compliance with product standards in each importing economy through the adoption of Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) on Conformance Testing.  Manufacturers will be able to test importing country standards in approved facilities in their home economy.  Key sectors include:

  • Telecommunications Equipment: The Telecommunications MRA covers trade worth an estimated US$ 50 billion per year.  It is estimated that the MRA will save five percent of the cost of new product placement, cut six months off the placement of new products in markets and reduce marketing costs for new products by up to thirty percent.

  • Food and Food Products: The APEC Food MRA is designed to facilitate trade by minimizing food inspection controls at the point of entry into import economies on the basis of assurances provided through pre-export conformity assessment using official and officially recognized inspection and certification systems.  It is an umbrella arrangement under which the implementing elements of sectoral arrangements relating to specific foods or food product sectors are to be included.

  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment: The Electrical MRA will be the first truly multilateral arrangement of its type.  Unlike the Food and TEL MRAs, it does not require the approval of testing facilities and recognition of test results to be based on a bilateral agreement within a multilateral framework.  Rather the Electrical MRA contains parts that are implemented multilaterally.

  • APEC has developed guidelines and arrangements for the exchange of information in the following sectors:

  • Food:  The Food Recall Guidelines will help developing members establish their own food recall systems and ensure a consistent approach among all members.  As an adjunct to the Guidelines, APEC has endorsed an Arrangement for the Exchange of Information on Food Recalls.  The guidelines and arrangement contribute to facilitating trade in food and food products within the APEC region while minimizing the risks to health and safety of consumers.

  • Toys:  The Arrangement for the Exchange of Information on Toy Safety provides a mechanism for the exchange of information on technical regulations dealing with the risks to health and safety of children that may arise from hazards associated with toys.

Business Travel

  • APEC has made business travel much easier within the APEC region.  Expanded granting of multiple entry visas and a greater number of visa waiver arrangements have greatly simplified business travel.  Instant access to visa requirements within APEC has also been provided through the APEC Business Travel Handbook website (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/travbook/contents.html).
  • The APEC Business Travel Card scheme ensures ongoing visa-free travel and expedited airport processing for holders.  After China and Chinese Taipei joined the scheme last year, 12 economies now participate in the APEC Business Travel Card scheme and more are expected to join in the future.  The APEC Business Advisory Council is a strong proponent of the Travel Card.

  • Economies are implementing both the WTO Customs Valuation Code to ensure regional consistency in valuing traded goods, and the World Customs Organizations Guidelines on Express Consignment Clearance.  An extensive cooperation program is under way to help all members reach these targets.

  • The APEC Blueprint for Customs Modernization maps out APECs strategic direction in the area of customs and enables business to visualize the future changes and the positive impacts they will have.

E-Commerce and Paperless Trading
  • The APEC Blueprint for Action on E-Commerce responds to the Internet revolution by committing APEC members to a goal of paperless trading.  The computerization of customs and other trade-related procedures through the adoption of the UN/EDIFACT standard is a key step towards paperless trading.  The Blueprint also guides governments on the development of legal, technical, operating and trading environments for e-commerce.  The E-Com Legal Guide (http://www.bakerinfo.com/apec) provides businesses with Internet access to members current laws on electronic transactions and regulatory barriers affecting e-commerce.  The E-Commerce Readiness Assessment (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/download/abac/e_commerce_read_guide.exe), developed with extensive private sector input, advises officials how best to make their economies ready to adopt the new economy.

  • The APEC Telecommunications Interconnection Framework simplifies the negotiation of telecommunications contracts with detailed, non-prescriptive conditions for inclusion in contracts between telecommunications carriers negotiating the connection of services.

  • The Manual of Best Practice Principles for Independent Power Producers (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/download/pubs/ippmanual.exe) promotes a more certain investment environment for energy suppliers by advocating transparency and consistency in institutional and regulatory structures; tender/bid processes and evaluation criteria; power purchase arrangements and associated tariff structures; and financing.

  • The Road Transport Harmonization Project is a multi-phased effort to reduce barriers to trade in the automotive sector by promoting standards harmonization taking into account traffic safety and environmental protection needs.  APEC has endorsed a Model Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Automotive Products to promote bilateral and multilateral arrangements between APEC members on the mutual acceptances of standards.

Intellectual Property
  • APECs Guidelines for Simplification and Standardization of Administrative Procedures for Intellectual Property Protection will lessen the burden on business of complicated procedures when applying to obtain intellectual property rights in different economies.  The Guidelines are a step towards standardized APEC trademark applications and, eventually, to paperless filing.  The APEC IPR Information Mall and the Intellectual Property Contact List websites provide business with easy access to information on intellectual property protection regimes, including IPR enforcement systems, and contact details for relevant government officials, business people and academics.

  • APEC has pursued a cooperation program to assist members in implementing the WTO TRIPS Agreement.  Activities undertaken include a symposium to support TRIPS implementation and surveys on the current status of implementation of the Agreement.

Trade Promotion
  • One of APECs tools in stimulating trade has been the holding of APEC Trade Fairs.  The APEC Trade Fairs make it easier for member economies to showcase products, services and technologies of APEC member economies, promote trade and investment, and foster closer business and economic relationships among business communities in the region.  The APEC Working Group on Trade Promotion has been holding these APEC Trade Fairs once every two years.  The last one, the 4th APEC International Trade Fair, was held in Indonesia in October 2000.  The date and venue for the 5th APEC International Trade Fair in 2002 is still pending.

  • The same Trade Promotion Working Group also runs APECNet, which allows businesses to search for business opportunities (including business matching services) in member economies, by posting inquiries and accessing member economies homepages. 

Enhancing Access to Market Information
  • The APEC Tariff Database  (http://www.apectariff.org) includes tariff rates from 17 economies at either the 9-digit or 6-digit level of the HS Code on all products on which they levy tariffs.  The database is not only useful for APEC members but for all importers and exporters worldwide.

  • The APEC Directory of Professional Services (http://www.dfat.gov.au/apec/prof_services/index.html) will facilitate trade in services by increasing transparency, making relevant information more accessible and contributing to any future development of common professional standards in the APEC region.

  • The Compilation of Information on Food Labeling Laws, Regulations and Standards in the APEC Region benefits food exporters by providing easy access to such information at minimum cost while ensuring the health and safety of consumers.

  • The APEC Manual on Air-Shipped Live and Fresh Seafood (available for purchase from the APEC Secretariat website) provides customs, health and technical guidelines on preparing and packaging goods for air shipment in APEC markets.  With the demand for these products growing worldwide, the contribution that this makes to facilitating trade for fish harvesters, importers, wholesalers and retailers in APEC economies, particularly recent entrants (most of whom are small enterprises) is significant.  The current value for trade in live fish alone is estimated at over US $1.2 billion.

  • The APEC Investment Guidebook (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/download/pubs/invstguide4.exe) provides information on foreign investment regimes in APEC economies, including regulatory frameworks, investment protection and promotion and incentives.

  • The APEC Investment Mart and the Cyber Mart provide potential investors with detailed information on investment policies and environments of APEC economies.

  • The APEC Government Procurement Homepage (http://www.apecsec.org.sg/govtproc/gphome.html) details members policies and procedures for bidding on public procurement contracts and, where available, links to domestic sites listing actual bidding opportunities.  Government markets typically represent 10-15% of GDP.

  • APECNet (http://www.apecnet.org.sg) allows businesses to post or identify business opportunities over the Internet.  This provides business with a convenient and cost-effective platform to facilitate business exchange.  On average, the site records a monthly hit rate of 45,000 with 8,000 monthly requests for information about member economies.

  • The APEC Ports Database (http://www.apecport.org) provides business with readily accessible, user-friendly information on port location, administration, capacity, and relevant shipping agents.

Copyright 2003, California Chamber of Commerce