Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance
Standards and conformance procedures that are harmonized across economies improve the efficiency of production and facilitate the conduct of international trade. This results in more rapid trade flows, reduced costs and a 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 liberalization and facilitation agenda.
The main objectives of the SCSC are to:
- Reduce technical barriers to trade and enhance market access through standards and conformance
- Align each economy’s standards with international standards
- Promote good regulatory practices in the preparation, adoption and application of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
- Progress mutual recognition arrangements for conformity assessment within the region
- Pursue regional cooperation in accordance with international agreements
- Ensure greater transparency
- Encourage participation in standards education and awareness programs to build capacity and capability to enhance the competitiveness of businesses, including micro, small and medium enterprises.
The SCSC comprises of representatives nominated by the 21 member economies who are drawn from agencies responsible for standards and conformance issues as well as trade policy matters.
Nominated representatives from specialist regional bodies such as the Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), the Asia-Pacific Legal Metrology Forum (APLMF), the Asia-Pacific Metrology Program (APMP), the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), and the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) participate in SCSC meetings as expert regional bodies responsible for the development of standards and conformance infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and the Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) report to the SCSC as its subsidiary bodies and as official groups of APEC.
Last page update: May 2018
Highlights of Ongoing Discussions, Current Projects and Deliverables
In 2017, the SCSC continued to explore means of enhancing regulatory practices in the APEC region. The SCSC endorsed the Collective Action Plan (CAP) for 2017 in Trade Facilitation.
The subcommittee also continued its work on alignment with international standards through the implementation of alignment work according to the Voluntary Action Plan (VAP). Alignment work within the target standards that are included in the 6th and current VAP will continue until the end of 2018.
The 6th APEC FSCF Statement was adopted by the members, in the margins of the Second Senior Officials’ Meeting, following a series of events (listed below) related to Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF):
- APEC Export Certificate Workshop
- Workshop on Modernization of Food Safety Control Systems
- Wine Regulatory Forum Technical Meeting
- Maximum Residual Limit Meeting
- The Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) Steering Group Convention
- 6th Conference of FSCF
The statement reaffirms directions and goals of FSCF/ Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) work in the future, which all members agreed to further build robust food safety systems. It also reaffirmed FSCF priority areas of work, including the streamlining of export certificate requirements and the harmonization of import maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides.
The FSCF marked its 10th anniversary of successful operations since 2007. The Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN), which was established in 2008 for the purpose of supporting capacity building activities with the use of resources from the private sector and academia, convened with the steering group members and confirmed further cooperation to realize the FSCF’s goals.
In 2017, the 22nd Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) was held in the margin of SCSC2 with the attendances of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and ASEAN. JRAC is a body established by the APEC member economies as the official sub-group under the SCSC, for the purpose of:
- promoting and facilitating regulator to regulator dialogue, cooperation and information sharing; and
- administering, facilitating and reviewing the implementation of the TILF Pathfinder on APEC Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (the MRA Pathfinder)
The SCSC held its first meeting for 2018 (the SCSC1) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on 26–27 February 2018, following the meeting of SCSC–Specialist Regional Bodies(SRBs) on 25 February. Delegates from 19 Member Economies attended SCSC1, along with five SRB members as well as two guests; namely International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and International Standardization of Organization (ISO), highlights of the SCSC1 are as follows:
- SCSC’s Collective Action Plan (CAP) for 2018 in Trade Facilitation was discussed and to be renewed with recent activities. The updated reports on implementation of the CAP 2018 will be submitted to SCSC2/2018 meeting for endorsement and be appended to SCSC’s ToR.
- A number of initiatives are being undertaken and proposed to be pursued in the SCSC particularly, in the areas of transparency, alignment of standards and conformity assessment systems, and education through capacity building, regulatory, cross-fora cooperation, and promotion activities.
- The SCSC reaffirmed its focus on examining regulatory issues in the APEC region aimed at advancing towards the Bogor Goals.
- The SCSC received the PNG’s report on the workshop for the 12th Conference on Standards and Conformance which is expected to be held during SOM3.
- The SCSC received the completion report of the Singapore and PSU’s project, “Developing Indicators to Assess the Strength of Standards and Conformance (S&C) Infrastructure in APEC.”
- The SCSC confirmed that the SCSC ToR will be reviewed in substantive areas especially on Thematic Priorities 2018-2021 within 2018.
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The SCSC works in areas ranging from good regulatory practices, product and food safety, standards and conformance education, and environment/energy efficiency standards.
- Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC)
- Asia Pacific Legal Metrology Forum (APLMF)
- Asia-Pacific Metrology Program (APMP)
- Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC)
- Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – Three Years Guest to SCSC (2017-2019)
- Publications by SCSC
- Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC)
- International Accreditation Forum
Mr Gaston Fernandez SCHIAFFINO
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile
Ms Eva NAKAMURA