Individual Action Plan (IAP)

The Individual Action Plan (IAP) is a report that is updated annually by each APEC member economy. Each economy records the actions that it takes to realise the APEC Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the APEC region by 2010 for industrialised economies and 2020 for developing economies.

In line with the concept of concerted unilateral liberalisation, APEC member economies undertake these actions on a voluntary and non-binding basis.

From 2012-2020, IAPs will be submitted bi-annually under a revised IAP and IAP peer review process adopted in 2011. There are no IAPs submitted for 2011.

Understanding IAPs

IAPs are like an ‘annual report’ of each APEC member economy’s actions to liberalise and facilitate trade and investment under the following 15 issue areas specified in the Osaka Action Agenda*:

  1. Tariffs (includes measures related to bound and applied tariffs, tariff quotas, tariff preferences and the transparency of the trade regime)

  2. Non-tariff measures (includes measures such as ceilings on import/export volumes, subsidies, minimum import prices, among others)

  3. Services (details operational (including legal) requirements, licensing and other qualifications, arrangements governing foreign involvement in the domestic provision of services for a broad range of services industries)

  4. Investment (discusses arrangements regarding the general investment policy framework and includes information relevant for investors concerning transparency, capital transfer procedures, non-discrimination policies, expropriation and compensation, performance requirements, avoidance of double taxation, among others)

  5. Standards and Conformance (looks at the alignment of an economy’s standards with international ones, as well as participation in mutual recognition arrangements of conformity assessment and activities to promote increased harmonisation of standards at the regional and global level)

  6. Customs Procedures (examines measures being employed to reduce the time and cost involved in goods trade, such as electronic (paperless) mechanisms, harmonization of trade data, advance rulings and risk management, among others)

  7. Intellectual Property (covers arrangement governing the granting and enforcing of intellectual property rights – which protect an entity’s entitlement to control the use of original material produced by them (such as ideas, music, reports, etc.), as well as initiatives raising awareness of intellectual property rights)

  8. Competition Policy (talks about policies employed by the government to ensure and promote open and fair competition within the economy, and prevent practices restricting competition in a sector)

  9. Government Procurement (includes practices and principles guiding purchase of goods and services by government)

  10. Deregulation/Regulatory Review (details the laws and guidelines that control the operation of enterprise in an economy, and the government’s policy approach to reviewing and changing such laws in order to promote more efficient operation and competitive practice)

  11. WTO Obligations (looks at economy’s progress in implementing its various obligations under WTO Agreements on goods, services and intellectual property, among others)

  12. Rules of Origin (details guidelines that determine the place of origin for particular products and related preferential trade arrangements)

  13. Dispute Mediation (examines economies approach and rules in dealing with disputes between governments, between private parties from different economies and between government and private parties)

  14. Mobility of Business People (looks at the regulatory visa regimes to facilitate more efficient movement of business people around the region including short-term business entry and business temporary residency)

  15. Information Gathering and Analysis (Lists various trade and investment-related reports, statistics, studies and other publications released during the year)

By reporting their trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation activities in IAPs, APEC member economies tangibly demonstrate their commitment to achieving APEC’s Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

Information in an IAP

Each chapter of the IAP contains comprehensive information on trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation activities. This information is contained within three main sections:

  • Overview – it provides a complete extract of the relevant Osaka Action Agenda objectives and guidelines for that chapter, together with a hot-link to related collective actions (actions undertaken by APEC economies on a collective basis, rather than unilaterally). In addition to this reference information, the overview contains a summary of an economy’s current policy approach in that issue area, including highlighting briefly any significant improvements that have occurred over the past 12 months.

  • Annual Report –against specific categories, provides details of action taken over the last 12 months to improve trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, the current policy approach/arrangements and further improvements planned. The annual report facilitates access to comprehensive information on each category via the inclusion of hyperlinks, cross-references and details for relevant contact points in a member economy.

  • Base Year and Cumulative Improvements Table – this table aims to give an accurate picture of the progress being made by an economy towards the Bogor Goals in a particular issue area. It provides a ‘snapshot’ of information on the status of arrangements at the starting point or ‘base year’ (equivalent to the year that IAPs were first submitted - 1996 for all member economies; 1998 for the newest members Peru, Russia and Vietnam), together with a list of all the improvements that have been implemented since the base year, to the current year. Reporting is against the same categories as the Annual report table. The base year and cumulative improvement information puts that annual report information in context, giving proper recognition to the different starting points of economies in the trade and investment liberalisation process.