By , the post ministerial conferences had expanded to embrace 12 members the then six members of ASEAN and its six dialogue partners. The developments led Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke to believe the necessity of region-wide co-operation on economic matters. In January , Bob Hawke called for more effective economic co-operation across the Pacific Rim region. Attended by ministers from twelve countries, the meeting concluded with commitments for future annual meetings in Singapore and South Korea.
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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC , is an economic group of 21 members, formed in , with the primary goal of promoting free trade and sustainable development in the Pacific Rim economies. In the years since its launch, APEC witnessed numerous marquis accomplishments. They are fundamental in reducing tariffs, improving customs efficiency, and closing the gap between developing and developed economies. APEC also combated climate change, dismantled terrorist networks, increased transparency, and stimulated economic integration. Furthermore, the group raised living standards and education levels, and fostered a greater sense of community among Asia-Pacific countries, by nurturing shared interests.
Established in in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area in other parts of the world, APEC works to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to foster a sense of community and an appreciation of shared interests among Asia-Pacific countries. At its summit meeting, APEC set an ambitious goal of achieving a free trade and investment regime in the Asia-Pacific region by for members with developed economies and by for members with developing ones. Although APEC seeks unanimity, decisions can be taken in the absence of unanimity; however, decisions are not legally binding on member governments.