APEC Leaders Agree on Actions to Promote Regional Economic Integration and Trade
Although headlines surrounding this year’s summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum leaders have largely focused on competing visions for an Asia free trade area and a breakthrough on expanding duty-free trade in high-tech goods, leaders also made a number of commitments aimed at strengthening economic integration and trade in the region. According to information provided by the White House, these commitments include the following.
Environmental Goods. To ensure the full implementation of APEC’s commitment to reduce applied tariffs on a list of 54 environmental goods to five percent or less by the end of 2015, economies agreed to submit individual implementation plans by next spring. APEC is also undertaking technical assistance that will help economies fully implement their commitments and launching new work to address non-tariff measures that impact trade in environmental goods and services.
APEC members plan to strengthen policies and legislative frameworks, enhance investigative and law enforcement cooperation, and further develop capacities for detecting, prosecuting and adjudicating wildlife-related crimes and related corruption through capacity building for law enforcement, customs and judicial officials in 2015.
Regulatory Practices. Leaders agreed to take steps to improve the conduct of public consultations on regulatory actions through information technology and the Internet. APEC ministers encouraged economies to provide innovative capacity building approaches to the implementation of good regulatory practices and the use of regulatory tools.
Electric Vehicles. To promote the widespread use of environmentally friendly, technologically-advanced electric vehicles, APEC economies agreed to use international standards as the basis for regulations on electric vehicles, create a priority list of international standards important for electric vehicles, work toward aligning regulations and avoiding regulatory divergences, and establish an APEC Electric Vehicles Interoperability and Research Center to help economies meet their regulatory alignment objectives.
Supply Chain Performance. Leaders agreed to accelerate technical assistance and capacity building to help economies improve supply chain performance in support of the APEC-wide goal of a ten percent improvement in supply chain performance by the end of 2015. Members agreed to create a comprehensive capacity building plan for using the dedicated fund already in place and established a new body of public and private supply chain experts to advise the technical assistance and capacity building projects under that plan.
Disaster Relief. Leaders agreed to begin developing measures to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, including permitting duty-free imports of goods and supplies for humanitarian and emergency response efforts after disasters, operationalizing a regional trade recovery communications mechanism for customs officials to utilize during large transportation disruptions, providing technical assistance to developing economies to improve public and private sector cargo transport coordination, and working through all APEC fora to include the Seven Principles of Supply Chain Resilience in all relevant activities and programs.
Other. Leaders also pledged to do the following.
- launch a collective strategic study on issues related to the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
- establish the Asia-Pacific Model E-port Network
- endorse the APEC Customs 3M (Mutual Recognition of Control, Mutual Assistance of Enforcement and Mutual Sharing of Information) Strategic Framework and instruct officials to further simplify and coordinate APEC customs procedures based on this framework
- eliminate unnecessary export certification for wine by 2018 based on the recognition that wine is a low-risk food product
- adopt APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-bribery Laws and the General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs, establish an APEC anti-corruption law enforcement network, and share best practices and case studies