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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world; to fears that highly industrialized Japan would come to dominate economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region; and to establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe. 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. APEC includes newly industrialized economies, although the agenda of free trade was a sensitive issue for the developing NIEs at the time APEC founded, and aims to enable ASEAN economies to explore new export market opportunities for natural resources such as natural gas, as well as to seek regional economic integration by means of foreign direct investment.

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