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.

  • Current Activities
  • Achievements
  • Contacts
  • News
  • Events

Highlights of Select Current Projects and Deliverables:

Fostering SMEs’ Participation in Regional and Global Economy

A number of trade barriers could impede SMEs participation in the international trade in the APEC region including the problems of navigating various legal, regulatory and technical requirements. A study by the APEC Policy Support Unit in 2014 revealed that SMEs in both developed, newly industrialized, and developing economies indicated weakness in integrating into global value chains in terms of standards and certificates for agriculture and food processing. Subsequently, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ministers recognized the promotion of standards and conformance as one of the priorities of the SME Working Group (SMEWG) for 2015. Collaborating with the SMEWG, the SCSC endorsed a work plan that specifies the following work streams to be pursued by the sub-committee:

  • Exchanging information on packaging and labelling requirements
  • Sharing standards and conformance learning materials;
  • Capacity building activities oriented to training businesses, especially SMEs, to improve their knowledge, expertise and skills on standards and conformance matters, including the conduct of public consultations.

Good Regulatory Practice

The SCSC’s work on Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) led to the 2011 APEC Leader’s Declaration to strengthen implantation of GRP in economies (Annex D). GRP also supports the Committee on Trade and Investment’s ongoing work on regulatory coherence. Starting in 2015, the SCSC and the Economic Committee have been the alternating hosts for the annual GRP Conferences.

The 8th Conference on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) was held on 27-28 August 2015 in Cebu, Philippines. The conference discussed key issues and recommended actions on: single online location for regulatory information; Periodic Review and Prospective Regulatory Planning; Capacity Building on GRP; and Best Practices and the Challenges faced by MSMEs for Inclusive Growth.

Food Safety

A project to build food safety laboratory testing capacity in the region led by the Australia, China, and United States 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. Building on the two food safety activities led by Korea and China respectively as well as the High-Level Regulator Industry Dialogue in Beijing in 2014, food safety regulators and industry stakeholders met in 2015 for the APEC FSCF PTIN Roundtable on Effective Industry/Regulator Cooperation in Cebu, Philippines. The objective of the roundtable was to build the capacity of trade associations locally to be effective in helping their governments develop workable, sustainable national food safety policies, laws and regulations. At the end, the roundtable identified the following next steps to capacitate trade associations: (a) Development of a “Industry Associations: Their Role and Value” document; (b) Establish a mentoring program such as big brother/little brother concept; and (c) Map APEC resources to identify trade associations, infrastructure, and educational materials and establish contact network.

Under a project self-funded by Australia, the SCSC is also developing a guideline to facilitate the harmonisation of pesticide maximum residue limits (MRLs) for imported foods within APEC economies by allowing automatic recognition of Codex MRLs or a trading partner's MRL where appropriate, or through the establishment of 'import tolerances' on a case-by-case basis supported by risk assessment processes.

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 as well as an 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 the Start-up Guide to Building Information Modelling, as well as APEC Green Building Code Infrastructure Guide, and Guide to Performance Metrics and BIM to support Green Building Objectives.

Standards Infrastructure

The recently completed SCSC project, “Inspiring Next Generation of Standards Professional Development” explored the skill-set required by standards professionals to meet the needs of businesses, government agencies, education institutes, and standards-related organization in the APEC region. Through implementation, the project facilitated APEC member economies defining and sharing good practices on how to develop the next human resources for standards and conformance, the most important technical infrastructure, and furthermore identifying how to set up a strategic plan for cooperation throughout the region. The outcome report can be found here.

The SCSC works in areas ranging from good regulatory practices, product and food safety, standards and conformance education, and environment/energy efficiency standards.

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 in improving public health and safety, and in facilitating trade in food for APEC economies. The FSCF is made up of the food safety regulators and focuses on regulatory cooperation and promotion 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. The work of FSCF and PTIN led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between APEC SCSC-FSCF and the World Bank in 2011, which paved the way for the development of a Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP). GFSP brings some of the APEC food safety capacity building work to a wider, global audience. The ongoing SCSC projects aligned with the World Bank’s GFSP include the multi-year project “Building convergence in Food Safety Standards and Regulatory Systems” and the new project started in 2015: Preparing Trainers to Deliver Sustainable Education to Prevent Food Safety Concerns Threatening Aquaculture Development including Related Concerns for Disease Management”.

Wine Standards

The Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF) was established in February 2008 with an aim of simplifying and harmonizing wine regulations, as well as promoting regulatory coherence and reducing trade barriers across the APEC region. Regulators in APEC economies discuss development of regulations that facilitate trade, prevent consumer deception, promote food safety, and 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 an APEC Bulletin article and on the WRF website.

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Standards

Pathfinder Initiative: Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) on Electrical and Electronic Equipment was established in 1996 to negotiate the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EE MRA). The objective 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 already developed a list of international standards in the region. JRAC is looking at ways to collaborate with the ASEAN Secretariat on this issue.

Good Regulatory Practices (GRP)

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.

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 10th APEC Conference on Standards and Conformance was held in August 2014 in Beijing. Focusing on green technologies, the conference discussed building information modelling (BIM) to increase building performance and aligning energy efficiency for ICT products. The conference agreed that the SCSC will develop best practices guidance on green building, in forms of a BIM Metrics Guide and a Green Code Infrastructure Guide. Both are published in 2015. On ICT products, the SCSC has endorsed the outcomes of the ICT Global Energy Efficiency Convergence Forum with regards to improving alignment of energy efficiency standards and regulations for ICT products.

Environmental standards

Green Buildings

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

Energy Efficiency Management Standards

The Conference on the Implementation of Energy Management Systems Standards was held in 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

The SCSC works closely with the following five Specialist Regional Bodies, the expert regional bodies responsible for the development of the standards and conformance infrastructure in the Asia Pacific.


Lilian G. SALONGA (Ms)
Acting Chair
Consumer Protection Group of the Philippines
Department of Trade and Industry
Sakura OZAKI (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
11 - 13 Nov 2015 APEC Wine Regulatory Forum 2015 Adelaide Technical Meeting (M CTI 01/13A) Adelaide, Australia
28 - 30 Oct 2015 APEC Regional Workshop: Coordinated Research Initiative for the Implementation of Antimicrobial Resistance Control Strategies (CTI 25/14A) Santiago, Chile
27 - 29 Oct 2015 APEC Workshop on Capacity Building for Providing Medical External Quality Assurance (EQA) Programme (CTI 24/14A) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
15 - 16 Oct 2015 APEC Workshop on Harmonizing Standards for Measurement and Verification of Energy Savings (CTI 13/14A) Beijing, China
23 - 25 Sep 2015 APEC Regional Workshop: Facilitating Trade through Updates on Food Safety Regulatory Standards of APEC Economies (CTI 18/14A) Santiago, Chile
21 - 24 Sep 2015 Preparing Trainers to Deliver Sustainable Education to Prevent Food Safety Concerns Threatening Aquaculture Development including Related Concerns for Disease Management - A Joint APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum Partnership Training Institute Network and World Bank Global Food Safety Partnership Program (CTI 09/15) Ha Noi, Viet Nam
29 - 30 Aug 2015 Sub‐Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Meeting Cebu, Philippines
28 Aug 2015 FOTC on SCSC ‐ SMEWG Collaboration Cebu, Philippines
27 - 28 Aug 2015 Sub Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) – 8th Conference on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) Cebu, Philippines
26 Aug 2015 5th Meeting of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) Cebu, Philippines
26 Aug 2015 Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) – 20th Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) on Electrical and Electronic Equipment Meeting Cebu, Philippines
25 Aug 2015 Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) – Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) Steering Group Meeting Cebu, Philippines
25 Aug 2015 Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) – Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) Seminar: Enhancing the Implementation of APEC EE MRA Cebu, Philippines
24 - 25 Aug 2015 Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) “Towards a Future of Prevention and Partnership: Roundtable on Effective Industry / Regulator Cooperation” (M CTI 03/12A) Cebu, Philippines
23 - 24 Aug 2015 Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) – Harmonization of Pesticide Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for Imported Foods – 2nd Expert Workshop Cebu, Philippines
29 - 30 Apr 2015 APEC Conference on Management and Related Scientific Detection of Food Additives in Foods Taipei, Chinese Taipei
21 - 22 Apr 2015 APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum / Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) 1st Expert Workshop on Harmonisation of Pesticide Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for Imported Foods in APEC Member Economies Sydney, Australia
6 - 9 Apr 2015 Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) Readiness Project in Energy Management System, ISO 50001 – Training Workshop for Organization and Internal Auditors (CTI 25/13A) Bangkok, Thailand
16 - 19 Mar 2015 Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) Readiness Project in Energy Management System, ISO 50001 – Training Workshop for PAC Peer Evaluator to Extend ISO 50001 (CTI 25/13A) Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
2 Feb 2015 Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Meeting Clark, Philippines
1 Feb 2015 Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Meeting Clark, Philippines
31 Jan 2015 Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) Meeting Clark, Philippines