The Prime Minister and Ministers for Trade Negotiations, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Finance attend APEC meetings annually. Ministers of relevant portfolios may also attend less frequent sectoral APEC ministerial meetings.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides New Zealand's APEC Senior Official and coordinates New Zealand participation in the official APEC process. Over 20 other government agencies provide input into various expert groups.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosts interdepartmental cluster group meetings which provide a forum for coordinating New Zealand's participation, allowing New Zealand participants to discuss specific issues they are involved with in APEC and report back on APEC meetings attended.
The New Zealand representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and the APEC Study Centre also provide input and expertise to the APEC process.
APEC operates under the leadership of the Economic Leaders and Foreign and Trade Ministers of APEC Member Economies who meet each year.
Ministers representing various other portfolios, Senior Officials and members of various APEC forums meet throughout the year to launch new initiatives, track the progress of existing programmes and implement directives from the leaders.
Each year one APEC economy volunteers to host to high level APEC events including the annual Leaders' Meeting, Ministerial Meetings, Senior Officials Meetings and a number of other events. The host economy nominates a Chair to preside over the Senior Officials meetings. Indonesia is the chair in 2013 and China will take over in 2014..
Four categories have been developed for participation in APEC activities. These are:
A range of participants from the public and private sectors and non-APEC economies can apply to participate in some APEC activities under agreed procedures.
Economies, totalling US$5 million each year. These contributions are used to fund a small Secretariat in Singapore and projects which support APEC's economic and trade goals. An APEC Support Fund, established in 2005, provides additional project funding from voluntary contributions.
Since 1997 Japan has provided additional funds for projects (around US$5 million annually) which support APEC's trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation goals.
APEC, the WTO and FTAs are complementary in that all contribute to the goals of free and open trade and investment across borders. Unlike the WTO or FTAs, APEC imposes no treaty obligations on its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.
China will host the meeting of APEC leaders in 2014, with the Philippines to host in 2015 and Peru in 2016.