APEC maintains a cyclical and hierarchical meeting structure, ranging from the highest work level, of the member economies' Leaders, to the most technical level, where Working Groups have been established focusing on a wide range of topics.
APEC maintains a cyclical and hierarchical meeting structure, ranging from the highest work level, of the member economies' Leaders, to the most technical level, where Working Groups have been established focusing on a wide range of topics, ranging from trade facilitation, digital trade, finance, food security, investment, intellectual property, mining and services, to the fight against corruption.
At Working Group meetings (which take place regularly throughout the year), officials discuss issues of interest to both member economies and the private sector concerning methods of removing barriers to trade and investment; promote the use of international best regulatory practices; formulate capacity-building initiatives; and develop work plans to achieve the specific objectives of each group, always related to the short-, medium- and long-range goals of the Forum.
APEC Working Groups deliver reports and recommendations to the High Representatives of the economies, who meet regularly at the SOM meetings, convened five times a year, who oversee the Forum's technical work. In this context, the High Representatives act as a coordinating body for all APEC activities.
On the other hand, the Ministers responsible for Trade, Finance, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Foreign Affairs meet annually; while the Ministers of Education, Energy, Environment, Sustainable Development, Science and Technology, Telecommunications and Transport meet every two to three years. These latter meetings are at discretion of the host economy.
At the end of each year, APEC Leaders meet at the Economic Leaders Summit (AELM). At that meeting, which is held in a retreat format and without records, Leaders freely discuss APEC's achievements during the year, analyze the global economic contingency, and establish guidelines for future work. The Summit ends with a Leaders' Joint Declaration, which establishes the commitments on all the economic cooperation issues assumed by the different economies and projects the Forum's work in these topics.