The EAASR draws on progress and lessons learnt under the former structural reform instruments of the Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) 2004, the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) for 2010-2015, and the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) for 2015-2020. The EAASR is based on the Concept Paper on EAASR, which was prepared by the RAASR Action Team and endorsed by the Economic Committee (EC) in 2020.
APEC economies will continue to focus on recovering from the adverse economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for future economic shocks, and making joint efforts to implement the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040. This new structural reform agenda presents an opportunity for revitalizing and rebuilding economies, collaborating, supporting recovery and building back stronger.
The EAASR sets out new direction for growth-focused structural reform that is designed to be inclusive, sustainable and innovation-friendly, in line with the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040.
Pillars of the EAASR
The EAASR encourages economies to undertake robust, comprehensive, and ambitious structural reforms to stimulate growth, remove undue burdens on investors and businesses in their economies, achieve greater economic resilience and promote well-being, so as to ensure that the Asia-Pacific remains the world’s most dynamic and interconnected regional economy.
The EAASR seeks to contribute to APEC’s overarching goal to promote strong, balanced, inclusive, innovative and sustainable growth, through measures in line with the following 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; and
- Harnessing innovation, new technology, and skills development to boost productivity and digitalization.
The four pillars are interrelated and therefore some reforms will apply to multiple pillars.
The EAASR encourages economies to adopt the following three approaches to promote structural reform for inclusive growth, as outlined in the 2018 “Structural Reforms for Inclusive Growth: Three Approaches”, namely:
- 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 EAASR invites economies to submit individual action plans as soon as possible, and no later than the end of 2021 that outlines their structural reform initiatives through to 2025. 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, together with quantitative and qualitative indicators to enable future monitoring and review.
To further advance the structural reform agenda the Economic Committee (EC) will undertake the following activities:
- Develop and enact an EAASR Implementation Plan that identifies actions, indicators and timelines for review;
- Support economies through capacity building initiatives – to the extent practicable - to develop EAASR individual action plans, and design and implement structural reform policies/projects;
- Encourage APEC-funded and self-funded projects that contribute to EAASR activities and targets and collaborative responses to the economic effects of COVID-19 to increase economic recovery and resilience;
- Increase engagement with the private sector through consultation with the APEC Business Advisory Council to ensure that the implementation of the EAASR is commercially-relevant, responsive, and actionable;
- Encourage cross-fora collaboration with the Finance Ministers’ Process; the Human Resources Development Working Group; the Digital Economy Steering Group; the Energy Working Group; the Group on Services; the Committee on Trade and Investment; the SME Working Group; the Health Working Group; and the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, as well as other APEC fora.
Monitoring and reporting
The EC will work with the APEC Policy Support Unit to update the set of quantitative indicators to monitor and report on APEC-wide progress on structural reform under EAASR.
The EC will report to Senior Officials on progress of implementing the EAASR which will include:
- A mid-term review of the EAASR in 2023, including a high-level structural reform official meeting to discuss mid-term progress, to share experiences and lessons learnt, and further guide the economies’ reform actions; and
- A final review of the EAASR in 2025.