Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) brings together 21 economies to tackle challenges and help each other prosper. 

APEC promotes free trade across the Asia-Pacific region. This ensures that goods, services, investment, and people move easily across borders through faster customs procedures, there are more favourable business climates between nations, and regulations and standards across the region are aligned. 

APEC was founded in 1989, and New Zealand is one of the 12 founding members. You can find more information on the other 20 member economies on the APEC website.

Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy

The Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) is one of 16 APEC working groups, and Manatū Wāhine is New Zealand’s lead agency on the group. 

PPWE’s overarching goal is to advance the economic integration of women in the APEC region and to coordinate gender activities across other APEC working groups. 

The key pillars of PPWE are:

  • access to capital
  • access to markets
  • skills and capacity building
  • women’s leadership and agency
  • innovation and technology.

As part of our work with the PPWE group, we have released a report on experiences of nine indigenous women who sustained and operated MSME's (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) in the Asia-Pacific region throughout the pandemic. Read the full report in our Library.

Representatives from the New Zealand government, including Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women staff, attended the annual APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Arequipa, Peru in May 2024. New Zealand's focus at the Forum was on lifting women’s participation in the STEM fields and women’s economic empowerment through trade in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Read the Statements from the 2024 APEC Forum:

The key work area for the PPWE is the La Serena Roadmap on Women and Inclusive Growth (the roadmap). The Roadmap, developed and endorsed in Chile in 2019, is the guiding document in APEC's pursuit of the full and meaningful inclusion of women across our economies.

New Zealand hosted APEC in 2021. Find out more on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website.

APEC Empowering Change tool

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has launched the Empowering Change tool, a step-by-step tool for policy professionals in the APEC region to apply gender analysis to their work.

The Empowering Change tool is a holistic and transparent approach to understand the gender implications of decisions for each APEC economy. The tool is hosted on the APEC website and is free to use.

The Empowering Change tool is an adaption of the Bringing Gender In tool, an online gender analysis tool launched by Manatū Wāhine in 2019 that supports New Zealand’s policy makers to explore the gender impacts of their policy work.