Established in 1998 by the Committee for Trade and Investment (CTI), the Market Access Group's (MAG) mandates are to advance and integrate the CTI's objectives on tariffs and non-tariff measures. These are two of the 15 specific areas outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda through which APEC member economies are working to eliminate barriers to trade.
Last page update: September 2021
The MAG holds its meetings twice a year, at the margins of the First and Third Senior Officials Meetings (SOM1 and SOM3). The group coordinates continuous discussions on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), the APEC Environmental Goods List, expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), remanufacturing, non-tariff measures (NTMs), rules of origin (ROOs) and other initiatives related to market access.
The following are MAG’s key initiatives:
SUPPORT FOR THE MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM (MTS)
APEC Environmental Goods List
MAG monitors the implementation of the APEC Environmental Goods List for all APEC economies to fully implement the agreed tariff reduction of 54 products. In SOM3, 2021, MAG members endorsed the updated APEC Environmental Goods List HS2017 (for reference).
Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
Due to technological advancement and changes in tariff classifications, APEC economies have recognized that there is a need to expand and update the 1996 World Trade Organization Information Technology Agreement (ITA). The ITA requires that participants eliminate duties on IT products and MAG monitors its implementation in the APEC region.
ADVANCING REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
NTMs have been highlighted by the business sector as a major challenge to trade and investment in the region. Acting on NTMs is a specific area listed under the Osaka Action Agenda (1995) to achieve the Bogor Goals. Endorsed in August 2018 by the Senior Officials, APEC Cross-Cutting Principles on NTMs are consistent with the WTO’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and other relevant international agreements. This would result in a collective and principled APEC approach to NTMs that could usefully assess the consistency of existing measures as well as aid economies in developing any new measures. A principled approach would enable a more predictable and reliable trading environment that minimizes unnecessary burdens.
The MAG follows up on the APEC Pathfinder Initiative on Facilitating Trade in Remanufactured Goods, which was incorporated into the 2011 APEC Ministerial Statement. As part of this pathfinder initiative, participating economies committed not to apply measures specifically concerning used goods and remanufactured goods. Thirteen economies participate in the initiative to facilitate trade in remanufactured goods by making existing and future measures that apply to goods that are not newly manufactured publicly available.
APEC Trade Repository
The APEC Trade Repository (APEC TR) is an online reference tool for trade and tariff information on APEC’s 21 member economies, in furtherance of its work towards trade facilitation, transparency, information dissemination and connectivity. It is a result of APEC’s expansion of the sets of information made available to the public relevant to trade in the Asia-Pacific region, building on its work on 2010 on the APEC Tariff and Rules of Origin website (WebTR). The MAG monitors the use of the platform by users and keeps the information up-to-date.
The APEC TR contains the following information on each economy:
- Most favored nation (MNF) tariff rates
- Preferential tariff rates
- Rules of origin (ROO) on existing regional trade agreements and free-trade agreements (RTAs/FTAs)
- Best practices in trade facilitation
- Domestic trade and customs laws/regulations
- Procedure and documentary requirements
- Authorized economic operators (AEOs)
- Domestic Trade Repository
- Other trade measures
APEC Pathfinder for Self-Certification of Origin
The MAG continually encourages members to join the APEC Pathfinder on Self Certification of Origin, which seeks to reduce the administrative burdens and costs associated with navigating complex rules of origin documentation and procedures when utilizing FTAs. Twelve economies have joined the pathfinder.
 In Osaka Action Agenda, regarding NTMs, APEC economies set the objectives as (a) progressively reducing NTMs to the maximum extent possible to minimize possible distortion to trade, (b) eliminating any measures inconsistent with WTO agreements and fully complying to WTO agreements, and (c) ensuring the transparency of APEC economies’ respective non-tariff measures.