This paper shows that advanced analytics and traditional statistical techniques on available unstructured and structured data can be utilized to understand the themes put forward in APEC's yearly meetings and how member economies have supported these topics through the conduct of APEC projects. The application of text mining algorithms, such as topic modeling on the proceedings of APEC-level annual meetings, namely, APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM), APEC Annual Ministerial Meeting (AMM), and Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM), generated themes from the text which insight have been discussed. The topic models generated broad themes from AELM+AMM documents and more specific from SOM documents. These generated themes tended to be in the discussion for an average of three consecutive years. The theme observed to be in discussion in the longest (i.e., five consecutive years) was youth and globalization. These generated themes were found to be consistent with the actions APEC has pursued in the past years.
Member economies support the policy directions of APEC Economic Leaders and Ministers by implementing projects that are beneficial to the Asia-Pacific region. The 5-Stage APEC Project Cycle ensures that only projects that are aligned to APEC policy directions are approved and encourages collaboration among member economies. A level of support score on weighted project attributes was formulated to rank the 50 topics that categorized the 2,144 APEC projects, which member economies carried out between 2006 and 2020. Based on this score, the top five topics were energy, human resources development, trade facilitation, small and medium enterprises, and standards. The support for energy came mostly from the United States, China, and Japan. Culture was the least supported topic with only one project by one proposing economy.
The Philippines sponsored 74 APEC Projects on 26 topics: 12 (or 16%) were on small and medium enterprises (SME); 16 (or 21%) were self-funded, mostly on science and technology (4 projects); 13 (or 18%) were co-sponsored mostly with Chinese Taipei on SME. The Philippines attended all the annual APEC-level meetings and is one of the nine economies that have hosted an APEC year at least twice.
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