Twenty years ago, on the sidelines of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, leaders from 12 countries silently huddled up in Canberra, Australia, and resolved to bond into a common economic entity. Bob Hawke, then the Australian prime minister, convened the meeting and stood up to announce to the gathering that the “time had come” for the formation of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Thus was born a regional inter-governmental grid of economies that had long been searching a definite voice in organized global trade and commerce.
Two decades hence, with no trace of the Berlin Wall, the original cluster of the founding 12 member nations have managed to erect a fort of 21 nations, each pledging to keep markets open and bringing economies together. These 21 member states, today, account for more than half of the global economic output.