Since its establishment in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) body has grown into a robust regional forum for economic integration between 21 member states which encompass 2.8 billion people and represent about 57 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP). APEC serves as a linchpin for the economic component of the United States’ rebalancing strategy towards Asia and provides an arena of continuing economic growth for investors thanks to the growing consumer base in Asia. As host this year, the Philippines has selected the theme “inclusive growth,” with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Ahead of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 18 and 19, here are some figures to provide a glimpse into the importance and workings of the grouping:
Times the Philippines has hosted APEC. The first was in 1996, under President Fidel Ramos. In order to prepare for an expected 7,200 delegates from the 21 participating countries, the Philippine National Police has tightened security across metro Manila. Airlines have announced the cancellation of over 1,300 scheduled flights to accommodate the arrival of the APEC delegations.
Events on the APEC calendar in 2015. Despite being most well-known for the headliner economic leaders’ meeting, APEC actually has year-round meetings and programs with thousands of participants and delegates.
Share of enterprise in the APEC region occupied by SMEs, employing more than half of the total population. SMEs have been highlighted as a major contributor to economic growth and as a focal point for further inclusive growth in the region. In the Philippines, SMEs accounted for 99.6 percent of registered enterprises in 2014.
Metric tons of plastic marine debris entering the ocean every year, mostly coming from the rapidly developing economies of APEC. Rampant pollution jeopardizes the sustainability and resiliency of the ocean, necessary for the economic development of many APEC member states, and has made careful stewardship an imperative for APEC 2015. The creation of a waste management industry powered by SMEs could both address this threat and provide a new opportunity for economic growth.
Value of e-commerce in 2013, growing 20 percent annually. Increasing internet connectivity, especially in Asia, has allowed SMEs to diversify their consumer base and increase trade, leading to inclusive economic growth.
Potential annual profit of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), a region-wide trade agreement now being studied by APEC members. The completion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and progress on negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership make the FTAAP an increasing possibility.