Founded in 1989, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), proposed by Australia’s former premier Robert Hawke and with 12 initiating participants, is an informal economy-consulting forum among higher order representatives of economic governments in the Asian-Pacific region. The purpose of APEC is to facilitate regional economic growth by promoting open dialogue and negotiation among officials in governmental departments of the economic bodies in the Asian-Pacific region.
APEC is one of the most important multilateral official economic cooperation forums. So far as its participants, including geographic regions (which consist of 21 economic bodies such as Northeast Asia, East Asia, Southwest Asia, Oceania, North America and Central South America, etc.), macroeconomic strength (with a total population of 25 hundred million and a total volume of trade accounting half of that of the whole world) and organization activity (from the highest decision-making layer to the monarch of economic bodies, and with most of administrative departmental operations), APEC is one of the most important multilateral mechanisms that Taiwan has practically participated in. APEC has deeply affected the world trade policy and criterion, so Taiwan took active part in APEC since it was proposed at the very beginning, in order to strengthen economic cooperation among the Asian-Pacific region, to enlarge space for international activities and to promote economic benefits in Taiwan.
In 1991, Taiwan became one of APEC members. Besides, APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Republic of the Philippines, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America and Viet Nam. The word ’economies’ is used to describe APEC members. In addition, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and Pacific Island Forum (PIF) are observers of APEC.