The services sector generates significant employment, economic growth, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. To encourage growth and development in this sector, the APEC Group on Services (GOS) works issues related to trade in services and coordinates APEC's work in this area. GOS works in close collaboration with four service-related APEC working groups: Telecommunications and InformationTransportationTourism, and Energy.

GOS was established by the Committee on Trade and Investment in 1997 to address trade and in investment liberalization and facilitation tasks in the area of services as mandated in the Osaka Action Agenda and instructed by APEC Leaders, Ministers, Senior Officials and the CTI.

Last page update: 29 June 2016

Current Activities

New and Continuing Group on Services (GOS) Projects in 2016

Expansion of the APEC Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database

The expansion of the “APEC Services Trade Access Requirements (STAR) Database” facilitates service providers’ market access, business mobility and establishment of a commercial presence throughout the APEC region. Phase 4 of the project expanded by covering the eight services sectors, namely: distribution, education, financial, ICT, mining and energy, professional, telecommunication, and transportation and logistics services in all 21 APEC member economies.

Capacity Building on Services Negotiation

Given the growing importance of trade in services for the global economy and supply chains and the important number of FTAs within the APEC region that contain provision on services, Peru will be organising a workshop on Negotiation of Services Chapters under FTAs with a Negative List Approach on 19-21 August 2016 at the margins of SOM3 Meeting in Lima, Peru to strengthen the capabilities of government officials in the negotiation of issues on services covered in FTAs.

APEC Symposium ‘Good Policy and Regulatory Practices for Facilitating Trade and Investment in Services – Toward the APEC Services Roadmap

The Symposium held on 24-25 May 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was a wrap-up to the 8 symposia of good regulatory practices in services sector inclusive of accountancy, legal, financial, international education, transport and logistics, telecommunication and ICT, mining and energy, and architectural and engineering services. The objectives were to:

  • examine the key outcomes; learnings and ‘good policy principles and regulatory practices’ addressed throughout the 8 service sectors;
  • explore barriers to women’s economic participation through services-related policies and regulations to facilitate greater participation by women in the service sector;
  • finalise the work undertaken throughout the service sector specific symposia through the redrafting of the workshop compendium; and
  • finalise a set of Good Policy Principles for economies in the APEC Region to inform the APEC Services Roadmap

Environmental Services Action Plan (ESAP)

In the Joint Statement of APEC Ministers in November 2014, the Ministers welcomed the endorsement of the initiative on liberalization, facilitation and cooperation of environmental services, and instruct officials to develop a plan of action by the AMM in 2015.” Following that, Japan has proposed several key actions to be implemented in 2016-2020 to realize the vision. The ESAP takes the following two-track approach: First, a survey will be undertaken to provide APEC economies with necessary information to gain greater insights about efficient regulatory and trade promotion policies in environmental services. Second, APEC economies will continue to consider and study broader environmental industries/businesses with a view to build and enhance a common understanding of the roles of services in these industries/businesses. This study is expected to contribute towards both the discussions on the scope of environmental services and identifying challenges relating to environmental businesses.

GOS also supports and contributes to the development of the following services-related initiatives:

APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap

  • in the APEC Services Cooperation Framework, Leaders committed to “develop a strategic and long-term APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap in 2016 with the adoption of a concerted set of actions and mutually agreed targets to be achieved by 2025”.
  • services are critical to the future growth of all APEC economies. Efficient services generate productivity increases and contribute strongly to innovation throughout the entire economy.
  • however, growth in services trade and its associated benefits will not happen automatically. For services to remain globally competitive APEC economies must address factors constraining services trade and investment, including:
  • restrictions that increase distribution and other services costs, impacting negatively on upstream producers both domestically and in other economies;
  • policies that limit consumer choice, fail to boost productivity and constrain competitive pricing of goods and services;
  • the lack of reforms vital to improving the productivity, competitiveness, and quality of services that support traditional sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and mining; and
  • the shortage of programs and opportunities that promote greater participation of the broader community in the services sector, including SMEs, indigenous businesses, and women.
  • the key objective of the Roadmap is to enable concrete action towards agreed targets both at an economy and regional level.  Action under the Roadmap will promote growth and job creation across APEC economies by enhancing the competitiveness of the services sector.
  • the Roadmap is aimed as one of the main deliverables of APEC for 2016 and will be adopted by Leaders at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in November 2016.

APEC Virtual Knowledge Centre on Services

GOS would also play a major role once the initiative being implemented by the Philippines. The Knowledge Centre would serve as an interactive hub for services stakeholders looking for information on all services-related outputs by APEC, current policies and agreements affecting services trade, current research on trade in services, as well as best practices of services-related policies and programs within APEC member economies.

Manufacturing-Related Services Action Plan (MSAP)

Following the Leaders’ Declaration during the AELM 2014, i.e. “welcome[d] the initiative on manufacturing related services in supply chains/value chains as a next generation trade and investment issue, and instruct officials to develop a plan of action in 2015.”, Japan has proposed the Manufacturing-Related Services Action Plan (MSAP) with a view to increasing availability and accessibility of service through liberalization and facilitation of manufacturing-related services and further deepen economic integration in the region.

Achievements

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 identify 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.

Contacts

Dr. Emmanuel Esguerra (Mr)
Deputy Director-General
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), The Philippines
Email: efesguerra@neda.gov.ph
Carla Hernandez (Ms)
Email: MCHernandez@neda.gov.ph
Asmidar ABDUL RAHMAN (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat Email: aar15@apec.org