The APEC Economic Committee (EC) was established in 1994 to promote structural reform and strengthen APEC's capability in the analysis of long-term macro-economic trends and studies of microeconomic issues.
In 2004, APEC Leaders endorsed an ambitious work program called the Leaders' Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR). The agenda covered five areas for structural policy reform: regulatory reform, competition policy, public sector governance, corporate governance, and strengthening economic and legal infrastructure.
Building on the work in these five areas, APEC's structural reform agenda was expanded beyond the LAISR's priority areas through the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) initiative, launched in 2010 and the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR), in 2015. In 2021, APEC structural reform ministers have recently endorsed the Enhanced APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (EAASR), which will guide APEC’s work on structural reform until the end of 2025.
The EAASR draws its lessons from former structural reform programs, and seeks to contribute to APEC’s overarching goal to promote strong, balanced, inclusive, innovative and sustainable growth, through measures in line with the following four pillars:
- Creating an enabling environment for open, transparent, and competitive markets;
- Boosting business recovery and resilience against future shocks;
- Ensuring that all groups in society have equal access to opportunities for more inclusive, sustainable growth, and greater well-being;
- Harnessing innovation, new technology, and skills development to boost productivity and digitalization.
Moreover, the EAASR encourages economies to adopt the following three approaches to promote structural reform for inclusive growth:
- Delivering the six core structural reforms (competition policy and law; strengthening economic and legal infrastructure; ease of doing business; regulatory reform; public sector governance; corporate law and governance) to improve market functioning and transparency;
- Implementing specific market reforms to improve innovation and competitiveness of business and achieve pro-inclusion benefits; and
- Adopting a holistic approach to structural reform which combines core reforms, specific market reforms and broader policies to boost productivity and economic resilience.
The EC meets twice a year, and works closely with other relevant APEC fora including the Competition Policy and Law Group, the Committee on Trade and Investment, Finance Ministers’ Process, Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, the Human Resources Development Working Group; the Digital Economy Steering Group; the Energy Working Group; the Group on Services; the SME Working Group; the Health Working Group, as well as other APEC fora.
The EC recently held the third Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM), hosted by New Zealand on 16 June 2021, where the ministers endorsed the SRMM Statement. Moreover, the ministers also endorsed two important documents: 1) the Enhanced APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (2021-2025) and the third APEC Ease of Doing Business Action Plan (2020-2025).
The latest meeting of the EC took place virtually on 4-5 March 2021. EC members discussed the new structural reform agenda for the next five years. They also discussed structural reform and the future of work, ease of business, online dispute resolution, post-COVID-19 economic recovery and economic resilience. The next EC meeting is scheduled to take place in August this year.
The EC has an annual flagship economic policy report, which can be accessed here. Currently, the EC is working on the APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and the Future of Work, which will be produced in time for presentation at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2021.
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