Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)


APEC, or the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, was established in 1989 by 12 economies (including the Philippines) and became a non-binding and voluntary forum where trade, investment and economic cooperation issues are discussed. Since its establishment, APEC now has 21 member-economies.

APEC operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

APEC works towards economic growth and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region through regional economic cooperation to achieve the APEC Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

To achieve the trade and investment liberalization and facilitation objectives, APEC focuses its work on 3 pillars: (1) trade and investment liberalization; (2) trade and investment facilitation; and (3) economic and technical cooperation (ECOTECH).

Its 21 member economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 59 per cent of world GDP and 49 per cent of world trade in 2015.

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The Philippines’ trade and investment relationship with APEC

Majority of the country’s external trade for 2016 were from APEC member countries. PH-APEC exports totaled to USD 47,367 million or 84.11 percent of total exports while imports summed up to USD 67,899 million or 84 percent share of the total imports.

The country’s top exports to APEC in 2016 were electronic products, which accounted for 51.6 percent share of total APEC product exports. Other top export commodities include woodcrafts and furniture; manufactured goods, and machinery and transport equipment, among others. The top imported goods from APEC member countries were electronic products, transport equipment, and mineral fuels, among others.

Topping the list of the country’s major trading partners within APEC were Japan, the United States, China, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and Korea.

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The Philippines’ APEC Chairmanship in 2015

In 2015, the Philippines chaired APEC under the theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” which focuses on promoting and advancing inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Four (4) priorities were identified for 2015:

1. Investing in Human Capital Development;
2. Fostering Micro, small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets;
3. Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities; and
4. Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda.

View further information on the Philippines’ 2015 APEC Chairmanship

Important APEC Documents

  1. Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs (BAA-MSMEs)
  2. Lima Declaration on the FTAAP
  3. APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR)

Leaders Declarations/Ministers statements

  1. APEC 2016 Leaders’ Declaration, Lima, Peru, 20 November 2016
  2. APEC Joint Ministerial Meeting Lima, Peru, 18 November 2016
  3. APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade, Arequipa, Peru, 18 May 2016
  4. APEC 2015 Leaders’ Declaration, Manila, Philippines, 19 November 2015
  5. APEC Joint Ministerial Meeting, 17 November 2015
  6. Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System, Boracay, Philippines, 23-24 May 2015

For more details, contact the DTI APEC Desk at