Since 2004, APEC’s structural reform agenda – through the Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) and the subsequent APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) – has made a strong contribution to efforts to reduce behind-the-border barriers and promote balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth in the region. We welcome recommendations from the second Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting to strengthen, and reaffirm our commitment to, APEC’s structural reform agenda to 2020.
APEC economies are facing an environment of slower global economic growth, slower potential growth, fiscal consolidation and relatively weak private sector investment. In such an environment, structural reforms are critical to boost growth through increasing productivity and addressing APEC’s longer term development objectives of graduating to high income status and continuing improvements in living standards despite ageing populations in some economies.
We believe APEC’s work on structural reform now needs to be consolidated and streamlined – drawing on progress and lessons learnt under LAISR and ANSSR (2011-15) and recognising current/emerging economic opportunities and challenges – to ensure APEC’s structural reform agenda remains responsive and economically-relevant to 2020 and beyond.
With a view to provide a solid platform to meet the needs and priorities of APEC economies to 2020 and beyond, we hereby set forth the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR):
We invite Leaders to jointly pledge to undertake robust, comprehensive and ambitious structural reforms to reduce inequality and stimulate growth in their economies, and contribute to APEC’s overarching goal to promote balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth, through measures in line with the following pillars:
more open, well-functioning, transparent and competitive markets;
deeper participation in those markets by all segments of society, including MSMEs, women, youth, older workers and people with disabilities;
sustainable social policies that promote the above mentioned objectives, enhance economic resiliency, and are well-targeted, effective and non‑discriminatory.
Pillars one and two refer to structural reform across all markets (labour, services and product markets). The three pillars are interrelated and therefore, some reforms will result in progress across multiple pillars. The fundamental elements of structural reform endorsed in LAISR – regulatory reform, strengthening economic legal infrastructure, competition policy, corporate governance and public sector management – should be incorporated across all pillars.
In 2016, each economy will develop an individual action plan setting forth its structural reform priorities (priorities need not be limited to the collective priority areas listed in the pillars above), objectives and policies through to 2020. The inclusion of quantitative and qualitative indicators to demonstrate how progress will be monitored is strongly encouraged. Economies are also encouraged to nominate reform actions under all pillars and across all sectors, particularly services, to ensure individual action plans are suitably ambitious and comprehensive.
To further advance the structural reform agenda and monitor progress, we will undertake the following activities:
through the Economic Committee (EC), we will increase our engagement with the private sector through consultation with the APEC Business Advisory Council, emerging businesses and SMEs, to ensure economies’ individual action plans are commercially‑relevant and adequately address real reform needs;
convene a high‑level structural reform experts meeting (i.e. senior structural reform officials) .This could include discussions between structural reform experts, EC representatives and other relevant APEC fora, on emerging opportunities and challenges, to share experiences and lessons learnt, and guide the nomination of economies’ reform actions. The meeting will take place in 2018 to align with the RAASR mid-term review;
through the EC, work with the APEC Policy Support Unit to develop a set of quantitative indicators, including using existing APEC indicators, to monitor and report on APEC-wide progress on structural reform under RAASR at biennial intervals (i.e. as part of the mid-term review of RAASR in 2018 and the final review in 2020).
Recognising the critical importance of capacity building to assist economies undertake structural reform, we will continue to conduct targeted APEC-wide support activities, including:
assisting economies develop objectives, indicators or measures for structural reform, as needed;
assisting economies design and implement structural reform policies/projects in line with identified priorities;
targeted activities on different elements of structural reform (e.g. on specific sectors or specific structural reform issues) based on recommendations from the biennial structural reform experts meeting and APEC structural reform progress reports, or Ministerial/Leaders’ directives.
We, the Senior Officials, take primary responsibility for the overall monitoring and reviewing implementation of RAASR. We instruct the EC to take a stronger leadership role in APEC’s structural reform agenda going forward, recognising the nature of its ‘horizontal’ work on structural reform across all markets. In undertaking capacity building efforts, sharing lessons learnt and identifying challenges and opportunities, we strongly encourage the EC to engage in cross-fora collaboration, including with: the Human Resources Development Working Group; the Group on Services/Committee on Trade and Investment; the Finance Ministers’ Process; and the SME Working Group.