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Australia to Host APEC 2007

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and the Minister for Trade Mark Vaile

Australia to Host APEC 2007

The Australian Government will provide its agencies with $216.3 million to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2007 - the most significant international meeting ever hosted by Australia.

Involving the leaders of APEC's 21 member economies and thousands of representatives, APEC 2007 will be more than twice the size of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum in 2002. It will be preceded by up to 100 days of ministerial, officials-level and business meetings across Australia.

Since its inaugural meeting in Canberra in 1989, APEC has become a key regional forum, facilitating economic growth, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC member economies account for about 70 per cent of Australia's trade and almost 50 per cent of inward investment and include eight of our top 10 export markets.

By bringing together the leaders of the United States, China, Russia and Japan and other key regional partners, APEC is also of vital importance to regional stability. In recent years, APEC's agenda has expanded to include key regional issues including counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and health issues.

The 2007 meeting in Sydney will be the first time Australia has hosted APEC since the inaugural meeting.

Fifteen Australian Government agencies will take part in policy, organisational, logistics and security planning for about 100 days of meetings round Australia throughout 2007, culminating in the APEC Leaders meeting in Sydney scheduled for September.

To enable effective forward planning for this major international event, $54.9 million has been allocated for 2005-06.

Major components of the three-year funding package include:

$122.8 million for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's APEC 2007 taskforce, for staffing and resources required to host the APEC Leaders' Meeting and other meetings of ministers and senior officials throughout the APEC year, and for capital requirements including IT and communications equipment and office fit-outs.

$38.0 million for the Protective Security Coordination Centre to coordinate security for the APEC year, including an accreditation and access control system for all APEC 2007 meetings and recruitment of 30 specialist personnel.

$19.7 million for the Department of Defence to meet its national security obligations, particularly in relation to the APEC Leaders and Ministerial meetings.

$14 million for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop and manage Australia's APEC 2007 policy agenda and implement a public outreach/media program, and to provide customary host year financial and secretariat support for a number of APEC and related organisations and APEC meetings.

Hosting APEC 2007 will provide Australia with a valuable opportunity to showcase our business, society and culture to influential constituencies within the region and the wider international community.

The Australian Government's commitment to hold APEC-related meetings in each state and territory will ensure tourism, hospitality and other businesses in all regions can benefit from the economic activity generated by this major international event.

The important coordination and agenda-setting role associated with hosting the forum will also help to cement Australia's key role within APEC and the region, and provide Australia with a unique opportunity to guide its future direction.


What is APEC?

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is an Australian initiative. It was established at an informal meeting of 12 regional ministers in Canberra in 1989 to enhance economic growth and promote a sense of community within the Asia-Pacific. It has since developed into the region's most important multilateral forum, making an increasingly valuable contribution to regional co-operation, economic growth and stability.

APEC now has 21 members (referred to as "member economies"): Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, China, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, United States and Viet Nam.

Together, APEC economies represent over one-third of the world's population (2.6 billion people), approximately 60 per cent of global GDP and almost 50 per cent of world trade.

What does APEC do?

APEC's primary objective is to promote trade and investment liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific Region, thereby assisting economic growth and prosperity.

The "Bogor Goals" of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialised economies and 2020 for developing economies were adopted at the 1994 APEC Leaders' meeting in Bogor, Indonesia.

During APEC's first 10 years: member economies generated 70 per cent of global economic growth; exports increased by 113 per cent; foreign direct investment grew by 210 per cent (475 per cent in lower income APEC economies); real GDP grew by approximately 33 per cent (74 per cent in lower income APEC economies); and 195 million new jobs were created, including 174 million in lower income APEC economies.

APEC member economies take individual and collective action to open their markets, promote investment and build the capacity of other economies in the region, but are not required to enter into legally binding obligations. APEC has also expanded its trade and investment agenda beyond the Asia-Pacific region, with support for opening markets through World Trade Organisation negotiations a key APEC priority.

APEC's agenda has broadened over time to include issues as diverse as counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, financial regulation, business mobility, science and technology, health and the environment. Important initiatives in recent years include:

The Bangkok and Santiago Declarations on Enhancing Human Security

The APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency

The APEC Action Plan on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

The Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) initiative

The APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

Why is APEC important for Australia?

APEC's membership accounts for about 70 per cent of Australia's trade and almost 50 per cent of inward investment, and includes eight of our top 10 export markets. APEC's continued advocacy of free and open trade and investment within this region is vital to Australian exports, economic growth and prosperity.

The APEC Leaders Summit brings together the leaders of all major regional powers and is one of the most important annual meetings of world leaders. It plays a vital role in promoting a stable and secure Asia-Pacific region.

Why is Australia hosting APEC 2007? What will it involve?

Since the first APEC meeting in Canberra, member economies have taken turns at hosting the key meetings each year. Prime Minister Howard announced at the 2002 APEC Leaders' meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, that Australia would host APEC in 2007. This will be the first time Australia has hosted since 1989.

The obligations of the host include: setting APEC's themes, goals and priorities for the year; hosting and chairing the key meetings during the year, including the APEC Leaders' meeting; overall coordination of the policy agenda; and providing the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat (based in Singapore).

Sydney has been confirmed as the venue for the 2007 APEC Leaders' meeting and associated events, scheduled for September. Involving the political leaders and thousands of government and business representatives from APEC's 21 member economies, it will be the most significant international meeting ever hosted by Australia. (Over twice the size of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum in 2002.)

Approximately 100 days of meetings of APEC ministers, senior officials, working groups and business representatives will be held throughout the year in all states and territories, including some regional centres.

APEC 2007 will be the largest and most logistically complex series of meetings ever held in Australia. Substantial resources are required to provide security, transportation, media and communication facilities and otherwise ensure the smooth running of all events while minimising disruption to the public. First-rate administration of APEC 2007 will be important to achieving meeting aims and cementing Australia's key role in APEC and the region.

A significant component of Australian Government funding has been allocated in the 2005-06 Budget to enable effective forward planning for this major international event.

The direct costs of hosting APEC 2007 will be offset by the significant benefits attached to being the host economy. The Australian Government's commitment to hold APEC meetings in each state and territory will ensure the economic activity generated by major international meetings benefits all parts of the country.

Australia's tourism and hospitality industries will also benefit from Australia's exposure to the region and wider international community throughout 2007, not least through the substantial media presence at the major APEC meetings. Every effort will be made to ensure that Australian culture, products and services are showcased to best advantage to APEC representatives, and that events have a distinctly Australian feel and flavour.

In a broader sense, hosting APEC 2007 allows Australia to assume a key coordination and policy development role within APEC, helping to ensure that APEC's future agenda continues to advance Australia's trade and foreign policy goals.

© Scoop Media

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