GOS projects currently underway in 2013 include continuation of 2012 projects:
The expansion of the “APEC Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database” facilitates service providers’ market access, business mobility and establishment of commercial presence throughout the APEC region. The STAR Database currently contains services, market access, and behind-the-border requirements for market entry in the financial, mining and energy, transport and logistics, telecommunications and professional services sectors for 11 APEC economies. The expansion will see all 21 APEC economies covered in the database. In addition, three new service sectors have been added – education, distribution and computer and related services, where details on the requirements of the15 APEC economies are included.
A study program on the APEC environmental services-related technology market is underway. The program aims to better define the market and encourage higher levels of trade facilitation and investment. The program hosted a workshop in Singapore in April 2012 and is undertaking a survey and study of the environmental services technology market in the APEC region. The outcome of the study is expected in June 2013.
Recognizing the importance of better collection of services trade statistics GOS has adopted a project aimed at capacity building and networking for statistics agencies in the APEC economies. The project will involve a capacity building and knowledge sharing workshop, which will most likely be held tentatively in the margins of the second GOS meeting April 2013 in Surabaya, Indonesia.
GOS is also embarking on a project that aims to improve understanding on the role of SMEs in supply chain connectivity through retailing. A workshop will be held in Indonesia in mid-2013 that will seek to identify what is required for the successful integration of SME retailers into global supply chains. In addition, recognizing the need for SMEs to expand into overseas market to increase competitiveness, GOS will also be embarking on a capacity building programme in Developing the Overseas Expansion Capabilities of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Franchises in APEC.
In line with the 2013 APEC priorities on connectivity, GOS will also be embarking on a project on logistics information sharing. The project includes a logistics workshop to improve understanding and awareness of APEC economies on current situation and new trends of logistics services, to enhance communication and information sharing and to explore ways to help APEC members. This workshop is tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2013.
The GOS has made significant progress in activities that facilitate the development of open and efficient services markets in the APEC region.
The SAP Matrix of Actions under the APEC Services Action Plan (SAP) was developed. This aims to provide common direction and coherence to APEC's work on services trade. It also serves to establish a forward work programme that fosters the development of open and efficient services markets in the Asia-Pacific. The Matrix of Actions helps indentify priorities and capacity building needs in relation to individual and collective efforts. This will in turn boost services trade and development.
The APEC Strategy on Movement of Business People was developed and endorsed by the GOS and Business Mobility Group (BMG). It includes principles relating to, and actions that could contribute to, the facilitation of entry and temporary stay, and the movement of business people.
The APEC Legal Services Initiative website was developed in 2010. The website includes a compilation and comparison of information on regulatory regimes for foreign lawyers in APEC member economies and contacts for regulating and peak bodies in APEC member economies.
The APEC Accounting Services Initiative was developed in 2011 and became fully operational in 2012. This initiative makes the licensing and qualification requirements for delivering accounting services in APEC economies more transparent. An inventory of such requirements has been developed and published on the website. In addition a set of guidelines on the regulation of foreign accounting professionals has been prepared.
A Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database has been developed. Services trade is typically subject to regulatory requirements which can vary greatly from economy to economy. The underlying premise of the STAR Database is that increasing the regulatory awareness of service providers increases their ability to trade their services. The STAR database aims to be a central repository of information for businesses looking to access new markets in the APEC region. It is particularly intended to assist small and medium enterprises that do not have access to in-house corporate research facilities. Currently the database contains information on five service sectors for 11 APEC economies. A project is underway that will extend coverage to all 21 economies for the existing sectors and adding three further sectors for 15 economies.
Sondang ANGGRAINI (Ms)
Director of Trade in Services Negotiation
Directorate General for International Trade Cooperation, Ministry of Trade
Fadzilah Abu HASAN (Ms)