Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

APEC is a regional forum involving 21 countries on the ASIA Pacific rim. They are the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia , Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia , New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Unlike other regional trade arrangements and the World Trade Organisation, APEC does not make legally binding decisions or agreements. Government leaders come to APEC as leaders of ‘economies' not elected leaders of governments. This means that political accountability is effectively side-stepped. APEC voluntary commitments bypass parliamentary ratification and there are no formal channels for engagement with civil society. Social and environmental impacts of trade policies are not considered.

APEC's objective is to achieve what is known as the Bogor Goals for ‘free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies”. Within APEC member countries, these policies have fuelled a race to the bottom on workers’ rights and environmental standards, in export processing zones and industries where international investors are free from regulation on labour rights and the environment.

In response to APEC coming to Sydney, AFTINET organised the "Asia Pacific People for Environment and Community" (APPEC), a community forum to come together and work towards building a better world, free of APEC's free trade agenda.