The SCSC held its first 2015 meeting from in 1-2 February 2015 at Clark, Pampanga, The Philippines. The second meeting will be held from 29-30 August 2015 in Cebu, The Philippines.
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 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.
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. The work on proficiency testing for veterinary drug residues in food, led by China has been progressing and culminated in a workshop in September 2014 in Beijing. In addition, a workshop on risk-based inspections, led by Korea, took place in May 2014 in Seoul.
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.
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.
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”.
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’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. Every other year, the SCSC conducts a conference on the implementation of GRP. Starting in 2015, the SCSC and the Economic Committee alternately hosts the annual GRP conference.
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 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.
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.
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 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
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.
Ann Claire Credo CABOCHAN (Ms)
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)