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:June 2020

Current Activities

Highlights of ongoing discussions, current projects and deliverables

Given the current situation around COVID, the SCSC is determined and engaged in learning from this experience. As a part of this, SCSC chair is circulating a COVID-19-related questionnaire exercise among SCSC members. The outcome of this questionnaire will help APEC members learn from each other. Based on the inputs from members on the questionnaire, the Second SCSC meeting (SCSC2) of 2020 may focus on COVID-19-related issues.

The SCSC also continues it work on alignment with international standards through the implementation of alignment work according to the Voluntary Action Plan (VAP). Currently, the 8th VAP is in the process.  

The SCSC held its first meeting for 2020 (SCSC1) in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 9-10 February, following the meeting of SCSC–Specialist Regional Bodies (SRBs) on 8 February. Delegates from 17 member economies attended SCSC1, along with SRB members as well as two guests—namely, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Standardization of Organization (ISO).

Highlights of SCSC1 are as follows:

  • 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.
  • Members agreed to continue cooperation on the 8th Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) to collate information on the alignment of each economy’s national standards to international standards.
  • Several upcoming events and initiatives focused on improving gender responsiveness in standardization were highlighted. Some of these events include a workshop on the margins of the May 2020 WTO TBT Committee meeting and an ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA) organized by the Swedish Institute for Standards and the International Trade Centre.

The SCSC also continued its examinations of work related to the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

In 2019, the 24th Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) convened in the margins of SCSC2 with the International Electrotechnical Commission in attendance. The JRAC is a body established by 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
  • 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)

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Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance

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