APEC economies are taking steps towards reducing technical barriers to trade by monitoring and improving the implementation of good regulatory practices, according to a number of public and private sector experts.
Regulatory officials and business representatives shared experiences and explored ways to enhance internal policy coordination, regulatory impact assessment and public consultation during an APEC conference that concluded on Thursday in Medan.
“Regulatory cooperation has become an important area of focus for APEC economies,” said Professor Bambang Prasetya, the Chairman of Indonesia’s National Standardization Agency. “It is a self-fulfilling paradigm that better regulation and the improved alignment of regulatory practices will bring economies closer together and foster increased growth.”
Professor Prasetya noted that this approach can help to ensure effective regulation while minimizing the burden on manufacturers and industries across the Asia-Pacific region.
“It is important to reduce duplicative testing and certification which can add time and other costs to the export of goods,” said Tony Sinambela, the Director of Standardisation at Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry. He cited an APEC mutual recognition arrangement on conformity assessment of electrical and electronic equipment as an example of APEC’s work to drive sectoral growth through measures that support increased regulatory convergence.
Private sector representatives described the importance of efforts to facilitate an improved approach to regulation and the scope of its potential benefits.
“Good regulatory practice is the primary route to safer products without adding unnecessary costs or creating barriers to trade,” said Al Kaufman, Senior Vice President of Technical Affairs at the US-based Toy Industry Association. “Ultimately, consumers are the ones who benefit from a wider variety of safe products at cheaper prices.”
Delegates updated one another on the baseline survey of actions taken by APEC economies to implement and advance regulatory convergence and cooperation.
“The vision of a seamless regional economy has been taking shape over the last few years through the specific initiatives underway within APEC to implement good regulatory practices,” said T.A.R. Hanafiah, Chair of APEC Subcommittee on Standards and Conformance.
“APEC economies’ work to address good regulatory practices is vital to advancing our broader agenda to lift trade and investment barriers, and move us towards a more integrated and prosperous region,” he concluded.
The conclusion of the 7th APEC Conference on Good Regulatory Practices sets the stage for aseries of meetings of APEC standards officials in Medan that will continue through Saturday.