Key facts about APEC
Here are some key facts about APEC, whose leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, are meeting in Chinese capital Beijing on November 10-11:
- Founded in 1989 to promote trade and strengthen economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
- APEC's 21 "member economies" account for more than 50 percent of the global economy, 44 percent of world trade and 40 percent of the Earth's population.
- The forum has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the region. It is guided by its "Bogor Goals" of free and open trade and investment, named after the 1994 summit venue in Indonesia. Industrialised members were meant to achieve this by 2010 and developing economies by 2020.
- The task of the Beijing meetings is to "reinvigorate trade, productivity and sustainable development" aimed at lifting "prosperity across the region and ensure global economic recovery", according to APEC.
- Competing views of how best to achieve that are likely to be discussed, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership advocated by the US and the China-backed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
- Ahead of its showcase summit, APEC also holds a meeting of foreign ministers as well as a gathering of "senior officials" who lay the groundwork for the meetings and negotiate over the wording of the joint statements that emerge from the gathering.
- Members are called "economies" instead of countries because of the presence of Taiwan, known as Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong, which is referred to as Hong Kong, China.
- APEC members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
- The group operates on the basis of non-binding commitments, and decisions are reached by consensus, sparking criticism that it is a talking shop.
- One practical achievement is the APEC Business Travel Card, which allows businesspeople visa-free entry and fast track immigration processing at airports in participating economies.
- The summit also serves as a venue for leaders to meet on a bilateral basis and some, such as Obama this year, schedule separate official or state visits to the host country.
- The Philippines will host the 2015 summit. – Rappler.com