Minister of Energy, Thailand
Chair, Thailand National Committee of Pacific Economic Cooperation (TNCPEC)
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is 25 years old this week and the leaders of its 21 member economies, the world’s largest regional economic group, will be hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing to celebrate.
Although officially APEC is 25 years old, the so-called APEC attempt, or attempt at economic cooperation among the Asia-Pacific economies (countries) began more than 40 years ago.
The first group of people who saw the benefits of economic cooperation in Asia-Pacific was businesspeople. They saw the opportunity for trade and investment, or the opportunity to make money. This is not unlike the Arab/Indian merchants who sought trade cooperation with Southeast Asia more than 1,000 years ago or the merchants along the famous Asian Silk Road. Another route of development that eventually reached to APEC was through academia, through the development of public-policy thought.