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

At the second Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting in Cebu in 2015, APEC economies welcomed the progress made in implementing structural reform under the ANSSR initiative launched in 2010. The meeting approved a new structural reform program. RAASR, for the period of 2016-2020 and the Second APEC Ease of Doing Business Action Plan (2016-2018).  Ministers also recognized the importance of further intensifying work to

  • Remove barriers to and identifying new sources of growth
  • Promote innovation
  • Raise productivity
  • Narrow development gaps
  • Steer the world economy towards a path of greater shared prosperity

APEC economies have devoted considerable effort to RAASR implementation, undertaking numerous individual projects in the area, complemented by significant efforts towards capacity building.

In 2018, APEC held a High-Level Structural Reform Officials’ Meeting, which reviewed the progress achieved so far under the RAASR. The Mid-Term Review Report concludes that economies performed well in enhancing innovation and productivity and should continue to strengthen these areas. There is a need to redouble efforts towards improving business regulations and facilitating business conduct. The report recommends that APEC economies take steps to increase efforts towards boosting the competitiveness of labor and financial markets, improve access to basic services and infrastructure and enhance fiscal and social policies. Economies could do more to ensure that all segments of society participate in markets, particularly by addressing youth employment. 

In 2019, APEC published the Final Assessment Report under the Second Ease of Doing Business Action Plan (2016–2018). Looking at the average values recorded by the APEC region, the combined progress for the period 2016–2018 was equal to 11.6 percent, above the final target of 10 percent. The greatest progress was achieved in the priority area of Getting Credit (20.9 percent), followed by Starting a Business (16.9 percent). Dealing with Construction Permits improved substantially in 2018 (10.8 percent). The areas of Trading across Borders and Enforcing Contracts also reported progress during the aforementioned period.