The Group on Services (GOS) was established by the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) in 1997 to address trade and investment liberalization and facilitation tasks in the area of services, as mandated in the Osaka Action Agenda and instructed by APEC leaders, ministers and senior officials.
Last page update: October 2023
APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR)
The GOS is responsible for monitoring progress under the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap, and the related APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap Implementation Plan (2016-2025), and is tasked to inform Senior Officials and Ministers of this progress. The key objective of the ASCR is to enable concrete action towards agreed targets both at the economy and regional level to promote growth and job creation across APEC economies by 2025. The ASCR focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of the services sector by:
- Promoting good regulatory practices, international regulatory cooperation and sound competition policy frameworks and institutions
- Ensuring more open services markets
- Ensuring an adequate supply of skills in a rapidly changing economy
- Facilitating effective and inclusive financial markets
A Mid-term Review of the ASCR was conducted by the APEC Policy Support Unit in 2021 to ensure that APEC-wide and individual actions are in place to complete achievement of the objectives of the Roadmap by 2025. In addition, a Summary Report of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap Mid-Term Review was welcomed by ministers at the 2021 APEC Ministerial Meeting.
A cross-fora and industry dialogue focused on the progress of the ASCR will be held annually for the remainder of its implementation until 2025. At the same time, the Monitoring Pandemic Recovery Under the ASCR report will be presented annually by the APEC Policy Support Unit on growth and developments concerning barriers to trade in the sectors most negatively impacted by the economic contraction of the pandemic such as travel, transport (including logistics), and other business services for the remainder of the ASCR until 2025.
GOS Core Services Issues
GOS Core Services Issues (formerly ‘Final Push in Services’) was launched to pursue work in five priority areas, led by champion economies:
- Domestic Regulation of Services – United States
- Developing an APEC Index to Measure the Regulatory Environment in Services Trade of APEC – Canada
- Mutual Recognition of Qualifications and Licensing – Australia
- Environmental Services – New Zealand
- Manufacturing-related Services – Malaysia
In 2021, GOS developed a non-binding and non-exhaustive Reference List of Environmental and Environmentally Related Services. The reference list was welcomed and endorsed by ministers at their 2021 Annual Ministerial Meeting. In 2023, GOS conducted the first review of the Reference List of Environmental and Environmentally Related Services and added two additional sectors. GOS has agreed to conduct its next review of the list in two years (2025).
GOS also endorsed the Non-Binding Guidelines on Services that Support the Clean-up of Marine Debris to engage services in addressing the problem of marine debris. These guidelines were welcomed by ministers in the 2023 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement of the Chair.
Developing an APEC Index to Measure the Regulatory Environment for Services Trade
A pilot program was implemented in 2018 with technical support from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to develop an index to measure the regulatory environment in services in the APEC region. Four sectors from four volunteer economies were included in the pilot program.
The pilot program concluded in 2020 and a dedicated website was created. As of 2022, Canada is leading the work that has expanded the scope of services sectors and economies covered in the pilot APEC Index to 17 economies in 22 services sectors, with ongoing work to include other economies.
Logistics-Related Services (Services Supporting Movement of Essential Goods)
In support of the 2021 MRT Statement on Services to Support the Movement of Essential Goods, the GOS works to enhance coordination, efficiency, and transparency in logistics services to remove unnecessary barriers to trade in services. Through this work, the GOS aims to ensure the smooth and continued operation of the logistics networks that serve as the backbone of global supply chains.
Joint GOS-Economic Committee Activity on Competitiveness and Structural Reform
In 2021, the ASCR midterm review prioritized making services regulation and policy reform in favor of openness a central focus of APEC’s structural reform agenda. In support of this recommendation, and to promote synergies between services and structural reform initiatives across APEC, joint work is being undertaken by the GOS and the Economic Committee, with additional potential input from other APEC fora.
Other activity areas
- Digitally enabled services
- Sustainable and inclusive growth
- Promoting opportunities for women in services
Major APEC publications on services are available here