Our research centre

Discover our mission, research themes, and background.


APEC’s 2040 vision charts out the path for the Asia-Pacific as the world’s most dynamic region by focussing on economic integration, connectivity, innovation, development of a strong digital economy and inclusive and sustainable growth for all.

The NZASC aims to contribute to this vision in the following ways:

  • Promoting cutting-edge research that offers evidence-based business insights and policy recommendations founded in rigorous economic modeling.
  • Creating a platform for the exchange of ideas among leading researchers from academia and think-tanks, senior policy makers, business leaders, and other key stakeholders on emerging topics of relevance to the region.
  • Nurturing the next generation of researchers that can leverage modern analytical frameworks and quantitative methods to contribute to business strategy and economic policy.

Key research themes

  1. Reimagining international connectivity in a dynamic geoeconomic environment 
    Investigating the role of people-movement across borders and supply chains in generating trade links, boosting exports and generating job growth.

  2. Unlocking the potential of digital transformation
    Studying the dynamics of digital technology and institutional infrastructure, exploring the relevant implications to information flows, innovation and e-commerce.

  3. Financing transition to a green future
    Evaluating various approaches to a net-zero future and identifying opportunities for international cooperation at the regional and the global levels.


The APEC Study Centre was established as a result of a decision by APEC leaders in 1993 to establish APEC Study Centres in all APEC economies. The University of Auckland was chosen by the New Zealand Government as the host of the New Zealand APEC Study Centre. Its mandate, agreed between the Government and the University, is to work on trade and economic issues related to APEC and Asia Pacific economic integration.

The years 2019-2021 have been years of transition for APEC. APEC decided in 2019 to embark on a stocktake of its activities and achievements, leading to reaching agreement for a new “vision” and plan for its implementation to guide APEC’s agenda and work programmes for the next twenty years. The Centre contributed substantially to the development of APEC’s 2040 vision in the following ways.

The Centre through its director contributed substantially to the work of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) task force in preparing a report on “A Vision for APEC 2040: Report of the PECC Task Force on APEC Beyond 2020”, which was presented to APEC in August 2019. The report involved preliminary research and policy analysis, extensive consultation with regionwide PECC members, design and processing of questionnaires, preparation of successive drafts of the task force report (substantial sections of which were authored by the Centre director), and a series of task force meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and a final task force meeting hosted by the APEC Study Centre at the University of Auckland Business School.

The Centre was part of the organizing committee for a PECC project on “Asia-Pacific Strategies for the Global Trading System” and organized and hosted an online symposium on 1-2 December 2020 on the project. The symposium featured leading international trade experts, including Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the WTO. The December timing meant that the symposium was also seen as a contribution to the launching of New Zealand’s APEC hosting year.

The Centre was a member of the NZPECC project team for an NZPECC-led PECC project on digital trade issues, planned as a contribution to New Zealand’s APEC hosting year. The output of the project, “Primer on Economic Integration Issues Posed by the Digital Economy” was transmitted to APEC Senior Officials in October 2021 and is publicly available.

The Centre hosted a series of Roundtable discussions with policy makers and researchers working on issues related to trade and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, Centre members wrote Op-eds in media outlets such as Newsroom and the New Zealand Herald and were featured in TV outlets such as Phoenix TV, Hong Kong.