Our research centre

The New Zealand APEC Study Centre aims to provide research and research-based commentary on issues related to economic integration and trade in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as political, social, cultural and economic issues related to APEC’s agenda.

Trade and economic relations in the Asia-Pacific region, where New Zealand conducts over 70% of its international trade, have been undergoing a continuous process of profound change, with inevitable implications for the New Zealand economy and its future development. Elements of this change have included the spread of free-trade agreements (FTAs), expansion of production networks, dramatic improvements in communications and logistics, and changes in alignments among the economies of the region.

In recent years the establishment of the Comprehensive and Progressive Economic Partnership (CPTPP) as a multi-member region-wide trade agreement, and proposals for further large-scale regional agreements in the form of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) have far-reaching implications, both for the region and potentially for the global economy. The recent emergence of economic conflict among the two largest economies in the region adds a further layer of complexity to the conduct of economic relations across the region.

APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific economies by building consensus around understandings and commitments aimed at creating greater prosperity for the people of the region, by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Today, 30 years after its foundation, APEC faces the challenge of renewing and refreshing its agenda for the coming decades. As the APEC host economy in 2021 New Zealand will assume particular responsibilities toward the initial implementation of the renewed APEC agenda.

The New Zealand APEC Study Centre is committed to producing research related to these processes and developments, to inform government policy and business strategy, promote deeper understanding of the issues within the wider community, and to contribute to regional dialogues on the future direction of Asia-Pacific economic integration.

The New Zealand APEC Study Centre is closely linked with the Business School's Department of Economics. This close association reflects the guideline established by the New Zealand government that the activities of the Centre should emphasise economic issues.

In addition to an active research programme, the Department of Economics emphasises APEC issues in its teaching programmes with a postgraduate course – ECON 742: Trade Policy, and a Stage III undergraduate course – ECON 343: East Asian Growth and Trade.

The Centre works closely with the New Zealand Asia Institute (NZAI), which coordinates research and teaching activity related to Asia within the University. The NZAI incorporates Centres for Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, Korean Studies and Southeast Asian Studies.

The APEC Study Centre and the New Zealand Asia Institute are able to draw on expertise from a wide range of disciplines located in the departments of Economics, Marketing and International Business, Commercial Law, Political Studies, History, as well as the Asian Studies and Latin American Studies disciplines in the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics.