Group on Services
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The services sector generates significant employment, economic growth, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. To encourage further growth and development in this sector, APEC's Group on Services (GOS) works on trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation (TILF) 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 Information; Transportation; Tourism; and Energy.

The Group on Services (GOS) was established by the Committee on Trade and Investment in 1997 to address the TILF tasks in the area of services as mandated in the Osaka Action Agenda and instructed by APEC Leaders, Ministers, Senior Officials and the CTI.

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New and Continuing Group on Services (GOS) Projects in 2015

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. 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, which includes details on the requirements of 15 APEC economies.

Enhancing Provider Mobility in Cross Border Education in the APEC Region

In taking forward the 2012 APEC Leaders-led agenda on promoting cross border education in the region, a research study was conducted  to improve understanding of the policy contexts in a number of APEC economies around the cross-border mobility for higher education institutions; identify any policy or regulatory contexts in those economies which limit the cross-border mobility of higher education institutions and identify opportunities for APEC economies to collaborate and provide mutual support to reduce barriers to the cross-border mobility of higher education institutions.

The report presents findings from interviews undertaken in eight APEC economies as well as an analysis of policy documents. It outlines common themes and highlights the elements which differ between the economies included in the study. It then goes on to identify areas in which the study indicates collaboration would facilitate greater cross-border mobility of higher education institutions among APEC economies.

Environmental Services Workshop

GOS organised a two-day Environmental Services Workshop entitled “Environmental Services in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities” on 14-15 October 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The workshop analysed the relevance of environmental services regionally and how the 21st century has shaped the architecture and breadth/characterisation of the industry with a focus on solid waste management, hazardous waste management, green technology and renewable energy development. The workshop also shared experiences and information on the environmental services regime, on development of environmental services policies, coordination and implementation of strategies for the sector today and in the future; and the way forward for environmental services. A project report will be published soon.

Study on APEC Environmental Services-Related Technology Market

A study program on the APEC environmental services-related technology market was undertaken with the aim to define the market and encourage higher levels of trade facilitation and investment. The program hosted a workshop in Singapore in April 2012 and completed its final report: Study of the Environmental Services Technology Market in the APEC region. The report highlighted the main components of the Environmental Services Technology market, as shown in the graphic below.

Distribution of Environmental Services-related Technologies by Different Categories


Workshop on Measuring Services Trade-Statistical Capacity Building and Networking

Recognizing the importance of better collection of services trade statistics GOS has organized a Workshop on Measuring Services Trade - Statistical Capacity Building and Networking on 25-26 June 2013, on the sidelines of the GOS3 Meeting in Medan, Indonesia. The Workshop was aimed at capacity building and networking for statistics agencies in APEC economies.

Joint Seminar on Trade and Tourism Statistics with UN/APEC and ASEAN

Following that, a Joint Seminar on Trade and Tourism Statistics organized together by the UN/APEC and ASEAN, was held from 7-10 October 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia with the aim to address the issue of statistics particularly in selected categories such as transportation, other business, computer and manufacturing, with an emphasis on travel and tourism. Click here for the press release.

SMEs and Supply Chain Connectivity

GOS also embarked on a project to improve understanding of the role of SMEs in supply chain connectivity through retailing. A workshop was held in Surabaya, Indonesia on the sidelines of the GOS2 meeting. The workshop identified key challenges faced by SME retailers to successfully integrate with the global supply chain. In addition, recognizing the need for SMEs to expand into overseas markets to increase competitiveness, GOS also organised a capacity building programme to develop the overseas expansion capabilities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) franchises in the APEC region which was held in the Philippines this year.

Logistics Information Sharing

In line with the 2013 APEC priorities on connectivity, GOS held a workshop on Information Logistics at Qingdao, China on 12-13 December 2013. The objective of the workshop was to improve understanding and awareness of APEC economies on the current situation and new trends in logistics services as well as enhance communication and information sharing and explore ways to help APEC members.

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.

Dr. Emmanuel ESGUERRA (Mr)
Deputy Director-General
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), The Philippines
Assistant to Convenor
Asmidar Abdul RAHMAN (Ms)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
25 Aug 2015 Group on Services (GOS) Cebu, Philippines