Projects cover a range of beneficial activities for the region, from establishing channels for information exchange to assist business with trade and investment, to providing information technology training in developing economies.
Initially opposed by countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which instead proposed the East Asia Economic Caucus, which would exclude countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The plan was opposed and strongly criticized by Japan and the United States.
The first APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting occurred in 1993, when United States President Bill Clinton after discussions with the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, invited the heads of government from member economies to a summit on Blake Island. He believed it would help bring the stalled Uruguay Round of trade talks on track.
At the summit, leaders called for continued reduction of barriers trade and investment, envisioning a community in the Asia-Pacific region that promotes prosperity through cooperation. The APEC Secretariat was established to coordinate the activities of the organization.
In the summit of 1994 in Bogor, APEC adopted the Bogor Goals that aimed to reduce trade tariffs to below five percent in the Asia-Pacific region, by 2010 for industrialized economies and by 2020 for developing economies. In 1995, APEC established a business advisory body named the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), comprised of three business executives from each member economy.
Australia currently holds the APEC chair and is hosting ministerial and leaders' meetings in 2007. The United States works closely with APEC and sees it as an important part of U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. In the U.S. view, APEC is the most promising forum for achieving a more open regional economy, encouraging economic growth, and fostering prosperity and opportunity throughout the region. APEC remains America's primary vehicle for advancing both economic cooperation and trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region.