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Since its inception in November 1989, APEC has grown from an informal dialogue of 12 Pacific Rim economies to a major regional institution with 21 members. Ministerial meetings take place annually and the chairmanship rotates among the members. Mexico currently holds the APEC chair and will host ministerial and leaders' meetings in 2002.

The United States works closely with APEC and sees it as an important part of U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. In the U.S. view, APEC is the most promising forum for achieving a more open regional economy, encouraging economic growth, and fostering prosperity and opportunity throughout the region.

APEC remains America's primary vehicle for advancing both economic cooperation and trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region.

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