As tariffs have declined in the APEC region, attention has gradually shifted to the structural and regulatory obstacles that inhibit cross-border trade and investment and create behind-the-border barriers to doing business.

The Economic Committee (EC) works to remove these obstacles by promoting structural reform within APEC. Structural reform consists of improvements made to institutional frameworks, regulations and government policies so that the efficient functioning of markets is supported and behind-the-border barriers are reduced.Such work is expected to generate significant benefits and remains relevant for many current economic policy debates, including the issues related to the prospects of avoiding the middle income trap.

In 2004, APEC Leaders endorsed an ambitious work programme called the Leaders' Agenda to Implement Structural Reform 2010 (LAISR). The agenda covers five areas for structural policy reform: regulatory reform, competition policy, public sector governance, corporate governance, and strengthening economic and legal infrastructure.

Building on the work in these five areas, APEC's structural reform agenda was expanded beyond the LAISR's priority areas through the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) initiative launched in 2010. In 2015, APEC Ministers endorsed a Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR), which will guide APEC’s work on structural reform over the next five years until 2020.

The RAASR aims for a robust, comprehensive and ambitious structural reform agenda to reduce inequality and stimulate growth in APEC economies, and contribute to APEC’s overarching goal to promote balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth, through measures in line with the following three pillars:

  1. more open, well-functioning, transparent and competitive markets;
  2. deeper participation in those markets by all segments of society, including MSMEs, women, youth, older workers and people with disabilities;
  3. sustainable social policies that promote the above mentioned objectives, enhance economic resiliency, and are well-targeted, effective and non‑discriminatory.
The EC was established in 1994 and meets twice a year. The EC also works closely with other relevant APEC fora including the Competition Policy and Law Group(which sits under EC) , the Committee on Trade and Investment, and CTI’s  Group on Services. The Terms of Establishment for the EC are available on this page (see link to the right). The most recent meeting was EC 2 2016: the summary of the Chair is available on this page (see link to the right).

Last page update: September 2016

Current Activities

In 2016,  EC supports APEC priorities by working on the implementation of the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) endorsed by the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) held in Cebu, the Philippines in September 2015.

To support this objective, the EC held a workshop in Lima, Peru on February 28 to discuss the implementation of the SRMM instructions under RAASR. This planning session was held prior to the Economic Committee’s first Plenary meeting on 29 February and 1 March, during which most of the activities and timeline for 2016 were endorsed.  

Structural reform and inclusive growth/preparation of indicators under the RAASR

In September 2015, APEC Ministers attending the SRMM agreed to promote the use of quantitative indicators to measure APEC-wide progress on structural reform and support an APEC structural reform progress report developed by the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) in conjunction with the Economic Committee. These measures will be used in the mid-term review of RAASR in 2018 and its final review in 2020.

In collaboration with the APEC PSU, the Economic Committee is currently developing a policy framework in the area of structural reform and inclusive growth, which will include indicators for both general progress under the RAASR and structural reform and inclusive growth.

Structural reform and innovation

In 2015,  EC prepared an APEC Economic Policy Report (AEPR) that explored the links between structural reform and innovation from a regional perspective and identified how economies can stimulate innovation through implementing effective structural policies. In 2016, as instructed by Ministers, the Economic Committee promoted information sharing with other relevant APEC fora (including the Group on Services, the Intellectual Property Experts’ Group, the Ad Hoc Steering Group on the Internet Economy, the Life Sciences Innovation Forum and the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation) on the policy issues arising from its work on structural reform and innovation.

The Committee has continued its work on Middle Income Trap (MIT) issues in 2016, hosting a further half-day seminar on MIT issues in the margins of the second Plenary meeting of the EC in August.

Structural reform and services

The Committee is supporting the development of the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF) and is currently preparing the 2016 APEC Economic Policy Report, which will focus on Structural Reform and Services.

At the 2015 SRMM, the EC was instructed to raise the importance of services in RAASR and to encourage economies to implement unilateral reforms within their services sectors as part of their structural reform action plans. The SRMM also called on the Committee to support the initiative to develop an APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF), and to closely collaborate with the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), the Group on Services (GoS) and other fora to:

  • conduct public-private dialogues;
  • conduct dialogues with sectoral regulators, policy makers, and business; and
  • consider developing a joint work program with GoS, which may include producing a set of recommendations for domestic regulation of the services sectors.

Preparation of the 2016 APEC Economic Policy Report is progressing well and will focus on the link between structural reform and services. A joint meeting with the Committee on Trade and Investment was held in the margins of SOM3 in Lima in September to consider a first draft of this report.

Tools for structural reform

In 2015, the SRMM requested the EC encourage economies to increase their efforts to promote international regulatory cooperation, and to consider holding a Good Regulatory Practice Conference on the theme of building high-level support for reform (which includes international regulatory cooperation).

The Committee was also instructed to promote awareness and a wider use of international legal instruments to strengthen the legal infrastructure of APEC economies, as well as encourage member economies to undertake a self-assessment of barriers to competition (including a review of current competition laws and policies).

EC and CPLG have endorsed the following proposal from the Chairs as the way forward: inclusion of questions on the development and assessment of competition policies within RAASR IAPs; and activities within both the EC and CPLG aimed at taking this work forward. In this respect, a further set of discussions could be organised for CPLG and EC1 in early 2017.

Ease of Doing Business (EoDB)

During the SRMM a second EoDB implementation plan was endorsed, which sets an aspirational goal of a 10% improvement by 2018 in the existing five priority areas of EoDB. These are:

  • starting a business;
  • dealing with construction permits;
  • trading across borders;
  • getting credit; and
  • enforcing contracts.

The Committee was instructed to draft and utilize the APEC EoDB Implementation Plan to guide capacity-building over the next three years.

New directions for structural reform

At the 2015 SRMM, APEC economies called for a review of the Structural Reform program through a high-level meeting in 2018 and a final Ministerial review in 2020.


Since 2004, APEC’s structural reform agenda – through the Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) and the subsequent APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) – has made a strong contribution to efforts to reduce behind-the-border barriers and promote balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth in the region. 

At the second SRMM in Cebu, APEC economies welcomed the progress made in implementing structural reform under the ANSSR initiative launched in 2010.  A mid-term review of stocktake reports in 2013 found that most economies reported notable progress towards the goals they had adopted.  The Committee’s Friends of the Chair (FoTC) (Corporate Law and Governance; Ease of Doing Business; Public Sector Governance; Regulatory Reform; and Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure), as well as the Competition Policy and Law Group (CPLG),  supported these efforts through a number of workshops and discussions.

In Cebu, Ministers also recognised the importance of further intensifying work to:

remove barriers to and identifying new sources of growth;

promoting innovation;

raising productivity;

narrowing development gaps; and

steering the world economy towards a path of greater shared prosperity.

In this regard, the agreement reached by APEC economies in 2015 to endorse the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR 2016-2020) is a significant achievement.

APEC economies have devoted considerable effort to ANSSR, undertaking hundreds of individual projects in the area, complemented by significant efforts toward capacity building.

The Economic Committee has also carried out substantive work in regard to overcoming the Middle Income Trap through structural reform. In May 2015, the Committee held a seminar on the subject, with a second held in 2016. The 2015 AEPR on Structural Reform and Innovation has also been a significant achievement in this regard. Policies to promote innovation are an important means of escaping the Middle Income Trap, raising long-term productivity and creating inclusive and sustainable growth.


Rory McLeod (Mr)
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
New Zealand
Alex Rogers (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat


Report: Asia-Pacific Growth Hinges on Consumption via Reform
Inclusiveness Key to Stimulating Consumer Spending and Economic Growth
Bollard: Asia-Pacific Growth at a Crossroads
APEC Senior Officials Lay Groundwork for New Era of Growth
Skills Training Boosts Livelihoods in the Asia-Pacific
APEC Economic Committee Meeting
‘Inclusive Economies’ Key to Asia-Pacific Growth, Says Bollard
Joint APEC Economic Committee-APEC Group on Services-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Meeting on Services
Hong Kong, China Chief Executive Leung: “Huge Room for Growth in Trade and Investment” in APEC
APEC Launches New Assault on Inequality
President Aquino: APEC Philippines 2015 to Build More “Inclusive Economies”
APEC After 25 Years: A Look Backward and a Thought Forward
APEC Leaders Issue Declaration in Beijing
The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
Xi to APEC Leaders: Inject New Vitality into Asia-Pacific Development
APEC Leaders, Business Engage on Future of Regional Economy
The 22nd APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting: Welcome Ceremony
Viet Nam President Sang: APEC Moving Towards Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
Xi: Asia-Pacific Stands at a Crossroads
APEC CEO Summit 2014
Viet Nam President Sang on APEC and the Changing Asia-Pacific Landscape
26th APEC Ministerial Meeting
The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting: The Yanqi Lake Venue in Beijing, China
APEC Joint Ministerial Statement Issued
APEC Ministers: World Needs Greater Asia-Pacific Partnership
Singapore Prime Minister Lee: APEC Has Come a Long Way
2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week Opens in Beijing
Russia contributes USD 3 million to APEC capacity building projects
Former Japan Prime Minister Kan on the Future of Asia-Pacific Growth
25 Years of Progress in the Asia-Pacific
Zhang: Tackle Structural Barriers to Ensure Asia-Pacific Growth
APEC Finance Ministers issue Joint Statement
APEC Finance Ministers in Beijing to revive growth
Former Philippines President Ramos: new development challenges “common enemies”
Former Philippines President Ramos on APEC progress and new challenges
APEC Senior Officials finalizing platform for new growth
APEC in Beijing to accelerate global recovery
Empowering women for Asia-Pacific prosperity
APEC Trade Ministers adopt Qingdao Statement
APEC key to global trade progress
APEC advancing blueprint for improved regional connectivity
APEC boosting electric vehicle development
Bachelet: Chile a port and bridge between Latin America and Asia-Pacific
Slower growth compels further economic reform: APEC business advisors
APEC recovery gaining traction
Risks to economic recovery still remain: analysts
Regional officials assess the future of APEC
Analysis of APEC actions to meet new economic conditions
APEC Leaders release declaration: Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth
Yudhoyono: APEC remains driving force for global growth
APEC Finance Ministers issue Joint Statement
Finance Ministers: APEC economies on the right track
The “Three Friends of Winter”: How Economic Policy has Addressed the Major Crises of our Time
Subdued global trade requires new policies to sustain growth
Economic Committee Meeting
Economic Committee Meeting
Economic Committee Workshop
APEC economies improve ease of doing business by 8.2 percent: report
APEC economies remain the world’s fastest growing: report
APEC making it easier, faster, cheaper to do business
APEC releases key assessment on structural reform
APEC SME Green Innovation Conference
Securing food supplies in the Asia Pacific
Paving the way for financial inclusion
US Secretary of State Clinton outlines strategy for economic engagement with Asia-Pacific
Structural reform in APEC vital for economic growth, analysis says
New APEC investment guide to promote transparency
APEC's Role in Regional Development - Challenges and Prospects for Regional Cooperation
Business council chair says no time to waste
APEC releases 2010 progress reports on trade, economic policy
APEC's Supply Chain Framework: A Boon for Business
Progressing Structural Reform in APEC Economies
APEC Endorses More Ambitious Structural Reform in the Midst of Economic Crisis
News from the EC Chair: Promoting Improved Structural Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region
Competition Policy Vital for APEC Growth
APEC Moves Behind the Borders: Taking on Structural Reform
News Briefing by the Economic Committee and Committee on Trade and Investment Chairs
Letter from the Executive Office of the APEC Secretariat
News from the Investment Experts' Group: Improving APEC's Investment Climate - Meeting the Challenge of Doing Better
APEC Starts Work on Improving Public Sector Governance
New APEC Economic Committee Chair Appointed
APEC Senior Officials Conclude Meeting in Preparation for APEC Ministers' and Leaders' Meetings
Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change
APEC Economic Outlook: 4% GDP Growth Despite Slight Downturn
APEC Economic Committee Recommendations on Role of Specialized Financial Institutions (SFIs)
Knowledge: The New Factor of Production
Value Of Services Underrated In Asia-Pacific - Re-definition Of Service Sector Required
APEC Led Global Economic Recovery Predicted - Caution Over Risk Factors
APEC Invests In Building Human Capacity Of Asia-Pacific
APEC Economic Outlook: Global and Regional Growth Predicted - Caution on Risk Factors
APEC Economic And Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) Cites Significant Progress
APEC Economic Committee Releases Reports On "Economic Outlook" And "New Economy"
APEC Business Advisory Council To Meet In Moscow
APEC Business Advisory Council Begins 2001 Work at Scottsdale, Arizona Meeting


23 Aug 2016 Economic Committee Meeting Lima, Peru
22 Aug 2016 Committee on Trade and Investment - Economic Committee APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Services / Joint Session with the CTI Lima, Peru
22 Aug 2016 Economic Committee Seminar on the Middle Income Trap Lima, Peru
22 Aug 2016 Joint EC-CTI Dialogue on Services Lima, Peru
21 Aug 2016 EC Friends of the Chair on Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure (SELI) Lima, Peru
21 Aug 2016 Economic Committee Friends of the Chair on Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure (SELI) Lima, Peru
20 Aug 2016 Workshop on Supply Chain Finance and Implementation of Secured Transactions in Cross-Border Context (M EC 01 2011A-5) Lima, Peru
19 Aug 2016 EC-HRDWG Joint Meeting Lima, Peru
19 Aug 2016 Economic Committee - Human Resources Development Symposium on Structural Reform and Human Development Lima, Peru
18 Aug 2016 9th Conference on Good Regulatory Practices (EC 01 2016) Lima, Peru
01 Jun 2016 APEC Structural Reform Capacity Building Workshop: Developing RAASR Individual Action Plans. (EC 02 2016S) , Singapore
29 Feb 2016 Economic Committee Meeting Lima, Peru
28 Feb 2016 SRMM Instructions Implementation Workshop Lima, Peru
27 Feb 2016 Ease of Doing Business Implementation Workshop Lima, Peru
27 Feb 2016 Electronic Commerce Steering Group – Plenary Meeting Lima, Peru
26 Feb 2016 Ease of Doing Business Implementation Workshop Lima, Peru
26 Feb 2016 Economic Committee Friends of the Chair on SELI Meeting Lima, Peru
26 Feb 2016 Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure (SELI) Workshop on Dispute Resolution Lima, Peru
24 Feb 2016 Promoting Competition International Best Practices to Implement ANSSR Goals Workshop Lima, Peru