The leaders of twenty countries and territories party to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, have gathered for their first meeting in the context of the present APEC summit in the Chinese megalopolis of Shanghai. Within the framework of the events taking place in Shanghai, Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part, in particular, in the joint meeting of the heads of the APEC countries with the participants in the meeting of the Business Consultative Council of this Forum. The APEC Forum was organised in 1989 for developing free trade and investments in the Asia-Pacific Region. The APEC countries account for about a half of the whole world production and a half of world trade. Russia joined APEC in 1998. Besides Russia, the forum has the following countries and territories as its members: Australia, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Canada, the PRC and Xianggang (Hong Kong), Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Singapore, the USA, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Chile and Japan. APEC summits, which have been regularly held since 1993, enable the leaders of the countries in the region to discuss common problems in an informal atmosphere, even if they are not directly connected with trade and investments. The APEC forum is not an organisation and acts as an international consultative body of the states in the region for discussing economic issues. All decisions within the framework of APEC are taken on the basis of consensus.