Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance
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Harmonised standards and conformance procedures improve the efficiency of production and facilitate the conduct of international trade, resulting in more rapid trade flows, reduced costs and greater integration of production networks.

The Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) was established in 1994 to help reduce the negative effects that differing standards and conformance arrangements have on trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region. In this way, the SCSC assists the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) to achieve APEC's trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation agenda.

The SCSC also promotes open regionalism and market-driven economic interdependence by encouraging greater alignment of APEC member economies' standards with international standards.

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The SCSC held its first meeting in 2014 in Ningbo, China in February.

Highlights of Select Current Projects and Deliverables:

Good Regulatory Practice

The SCSC completed a survey and final report on “Good Regulatory Practices for Conformity Assessment in APEC Economies,” a project implemented and self-funded by the United States.  This survey examines how APEC member economies ensure that regulatory policies protect health, safety and the environment while promoting free trade in the Asia-Pacific region. The report summarizes member economies’ preferred approaches and practices in conformity assessment, the laws governing such practices, and examines the application of international standards to conformity assessment. The survey also describes member economies’ mandatory assessment requirements for three specific sectors:  electrical installations, photovoltaic products, and medical devices/pacemakers. Observations are also offered as the basis for further improvement in conformity assessment approaches for member economies.

Food Safety Laboratory Testing Capacity Building

A project to build food safety laboratory testing capacity in the region, led by the Australia, China, United States and Korea, is underway. This multi-year APEC project “Building Convergence in Food Safety Standards and Regulatory Systems” helps facilitate trade through the strengthening of food safety laboratory practices.  Due to the diversity of APEC economies, there is “no one size fits all” in terms of capacity building needs in food safety laboratory testing. The project developed a multi-criteria roadmap to prioritize capacity building needs in APEC economies and implemented pilot projects in Chile and China to provide in-laboratory training for these two economies. In addition, a training workshop on improved food inspection based on risk analysis will be hosted in Seoul, Korea on 21-23 May 2014. Source: Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Korea


Wine Regulatory Forum

There is a critical need for regulatory coherence in the APEC-region wine trade, which has grown dramatically from US $ 1.1 billion in 2000 to $3.6 billion in 2010.  With this growth, a rising number of unnecessary non-tariff barriers costs businesses (primarily small and medium sized wine producers) an estimated US $1 billion.  A significant portion of these costs is attributed to unnecessary testing and multiple, overlapping export certificates for wine imports into developing economies.   The multi-year project “The Wine Regulatory Forum: Good Regulatory Practices Action Plan” is focused on reducing these trade barriers and enhancing regulatory and standards harmonization across APEC economies. The Wine Regulatory Forum is also working together with the World Wine Trade Group. For more information on the Wine Regulatory Forum’s work see their website and a recent APEC Bulletin article.

Energy Efficiency of the Commercial Building Sector

Building codes historically have been important policy tools for managing the safety, security, health, environment, and economy of the building sector. The US-led project, “Role of Standards and Conformity Assessment Measures in Enhancing the Performance and Energy Efficiency of the Commercial Building Sector,” focuses on encouraging consistent and transparent green building standards and avoiding the creation of unnecessary obstacles to trade. The project identified best practices in standards and green building code development.  The study’s report provides an understanding of how APEC member economies utilize building codes to increase building performance, aligning with the “green” goals of resource conservation and waste reduction. The project also developed a Start-up Guide to Building Information Modelling, an intelligent 3D model-based process for planning, design, construction, and management of buildings.

Standards Infrastructure

The recently completed SCSC project, “Creation of APEC Guidelines on Standards Infrastructure Establishment”, led by Korea, compiled a report as a source of reference on standardization activities within the region by describing and analysing standards infrastructure of the APEC economies and providing a set of recommendations to achieve greater alignment of national standards infrastructure among APEC economies.

The SCSC has conducted activities in good regulatory practices, product and food safety, standards and conformance education, solar energy, energy efficiency for ICT products, green buildings, supply chain management standards, energy efficiency management standards, nanotechnology, Smart Grid, and electrical and electronic safety.

Food Safety

The SCSC established the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) in 2007, recognizing that food safety and internationally harmonized food standards are key factors for improving public health and safety and for facilitating trade in food for APEC economies.  The FSCF is made up of the food safety regulators and focuses on regulatory cooperation and use of international standards and best practices. FSCF launched the Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN), a public private partnership to build food safety capacity in the region.  Currently, the FSCF is halfway through an APEC multi-year project which seeks to promote food safety capacity building and regulatory cooperation. The FSCF and PTIN work led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between APEC SCSC-FSCF and the World Bank in 2011, paving the way for the development of a Global Food Safety Partnership which brings some of the APEC food safety capacity building work to a wider, global audience.

Wine Standards

The Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF) was established in February 2008. The role of the Forum is to simplify and harmonize wine regulations and to promote regulatory coherence and reduce trade barriers across the APEC region. Regulators in APEC economies will discuss development of regulations that facilitate trade, prevent consumer deception and promote food safety. They will also consider regulations that are consistent with WTO principles.  The WRF has, among other things, embarked on a multi-year project since 2013 aimed at increasing developing economies’ regulatory capacity in key wine regulatory issues.  More information highlighting the Wine Regulatory Forum’s work can be found in a recent APEC Bulletin article and on the WRF website.

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Standards

Pathfinder Initiative:  Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) Electronic Equipment Mutual Recognition Arrangement

The APEC Electrical Equipment Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) was established in 1996 to negotiate a Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EE MRA). The purpose of the EE MRA is to enable mutual recognition of conformity assessment with the objective of facilitating trade in regulated electrical and electronic equipment between member economies. The MRA allows for 3 levels of participation to cater for the different capabilities of member economies technical infrastructure and administrative requirements.  ASEAN economies have already developed a list of international standards to be accepted by regulators in the region. JRAC is looking at ways to collaborate with the ASEAN Secretariat on this issue.

Good Regulatory Practices (GRP)

The SCSC’s work on Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) led into the 2011 APEC Leader’s Declaration to strengthen implantation of GRP in economies (Annex D) and supports the Committee on Trade and Investment’s ongoing work on regulatory coherence.  Every other year, the SCSC conducts a conference on the implementation of GRP.

The 7th Conference on Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) was held on 26-27 June 2013 in Medan, Indonesia. The conference discussed some important issues such as internal coordination of rulemaking, regulatory impact assessment, and public consultation.  There was significant discussion at the conference on the need for a single website in each economy to disseminate regulatory information to stakeholders. The conference also highlighted the need for capacity building within APEC and the ongoing challenge of educating regulators at multiple levels of government.

Standards and Conformance

The SCSC conducts a conference on Standards and Conformance to highlight trends and important topics in international standardization and conformity assessment.

The 9th Conference on Standards and Conformance in the field of innovations and related good practices was held in May 2012 in Kazan, the Russian Federation. The main issues discussed during the Conference were: standardization in the field of innovations and the role of promoting the development of cooperation and trade in APEC region; international and economy-wide standardization in the field of nanotechnologies and nanoproducts; good practices in regulation of innovative products and provision of safety of innovative  technologies and products; conformity assessment of innovative products; promotion of related good practices (RGP), including good regulatory practice, good laboratory practice and  innovative management; promotion of related good practices (RGP); and IT mechanisms and resources to be used for the development of innovative activity and information exchange.

Product-related environmental standards

Green Buildings

A series of workshops are being held from 2012 to 2014 under the APEC multi-year project on “The Role of Standards and Conformity Assessment Measures in Enhancing the Performance and Energy Efficiency of the Commercial Building Sector,” which was built upon the workshop on “Sustainability in Building Construction (Commercial Buildings)” held in Washington DC in March 2011. The year 2013 saw the successful conclusion of two workshops, including the workshop on “Sharing Experiences in the Design and Implementation of Green Building Codes in the APEC Economies” held in March in Lima, Peru and the second workshop on “How Building Information Modeling Standards Can Improve Building Performance” in June in Medan, Indonesia.

Energy Efficiency for ICT Products

The SCSC also oversees the implementation of “Aligning Energy Efficiency Regulations for ICT Products – Implementing A Strategic Approach”, the first project under the forum to focus on global convergence of energy efficiency (EE) regulations for ICT products, building upon principles supported at the 2011 APEC Conference on Alignment of EE Regulations and actions agreed upon at the 2012 conference in Seoul. The project will entail 1) Leveraging international certification/testing agreements, such as the IEC EE E3 Program, to meet conformity assessment requirements; 2) Utilization of internationally accepted test methods for energy efficiency of priority products (such as PCs, servers, network standby and printers); and 3) Promoting greater data sharing among economies on energy performance of ICT products to ensure greater consistency in methods for standards development and regulatory limits.

Solar Energy

The Solar Initiative encompasses three activities: a survey of APEC member economies on three categories of solar technologies (photovoltaic cells, solar water heaters, concentrated solar power); a Conference on Trade Impacts of Solar Technologies Standards and Conformity Assessment Measures was held in San Francisco in September 2011 and a Conference on Photovoltaic Reliability and Durability was held in Chinese Taipei in October 2011.

Energy Efficiency Management Standards

The Conference on Implementation of Energy Management Systems Standards was held September 2011. This was led by the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC), and sought to promote the use of energy efficiency and conservation management systems by government and private sector entities that are supported by credible and competent certification systems throughout the region.

Standards and Conformance Education

The five-year Standards and Conformance Education Initiative was implemented from 2007 to 2011. The Phase III resulted in a trial program for higher education and the consolidation of a Casebook from fourteen universities. The five year project encompassed four publications, seven meetings/workshops, the development and maintenance of an information portal on standards education. These activities have resulted in heightened visibility for standards education in the APEC region.

Specialist Regional Bodies

Cooperation with other regional organizations that work in the areas of standards and conformance will be strengthened by implementing the Specialist Regional Bodies Strategic Plan.

Ann Claire Credo CABOCHAN (Ms)
Director-in-Charge Bureau of Philippine Standards
Department of Trade and Industry
3/F Trade and Industry Building 361 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City 1200
Sakura OZAKI (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat