Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance
Standards and conformance procedures that are harmonized across economies improve the efficiency of production and facilitate the conduct of international trade. This results in more rapid trade flows, reduced costs and a greater integration of production networks.
The Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) was established in 1994 to help reduce the negative effects that differing standards and conformance arrangements have on trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific Region. In this way, the SCSC assists the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) to achieve APEC's trade and investment liberalization and facilitation agenda.
The objectives of the SCSC are to:
- Reduce technical barriers to trade and enhance market access through standards and conformance
- Align each economy’s standards with international standards
- Promote good regulatory practices in the preparation, adoption and application of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
- Progress mutual recognition arrangements for conformity assessment within the region
- Pursue regional cooperation in accordance with international agreements
- Ensure greater transparency
- Encourage participation in standards education and awareness programs to build capacity and capability to enhance the competitiveness of businesses, including micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and the Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) report to the SCSC as its subsidiary bodies and as official groups of APEC.
Last page update: December 2017
Highlights of Ongoing Discussions, Current Projects and Deliverables
In 2017, the SCSC continued to explore means of enhancing regulatory practices in the APEC region. The subcommittee, through collaboration with the Economic Committee (EC) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) undertook a number of initiatives in the areas of transparency, alignment of standards and conformity assessment systems, as well as good regulatory practice through capacity building and cross-fora cooperation. The SCSC kept its discussions among members active under the following SCSC priorities for 2017:
- Developing and promoting standards and conformance to support the digital economy
- Exchanging policy development and best practices to encourage the national quality infrastructure (NQI) that strengthen specific sectors in APEC, such as food safety and environmental protection
- Supporting and facilitating MSME trade through the promotion of standardization activities
The SCSC endorsed the Collective Action Plan (CAP) for 2017 in Trade Facilitation.
The subcommittee also continued its work on alignment with international standards through the implementation of alignment work according to the Voluntary Action Plan (VAP). Alignment work within the target standards that are included in the 6th and current VAP will continue until the end of 2018.
Various projects were implemented this year, focusing on these areas, among others:
- A conference on standards and conformance
- Good regulatory practices and technical barriers to trade
- Baseline study
- Developing NQI indicators
- Environment efficiency
- Food and product safety
- Smart cities
- Energy saving measurement and verification
- Supporting small and medium enterprises.
Member economies continued to share information on the progress of their technical infrastructure development including standards education programs such as the Standard Olympiad.
In 2017, the SCSC conducted active discussions and shared information among members under the Policy Discussions on the following topics:
- Standards Implementation in micro, small and medium enterprises
- The impact of the quality infrastructure in the economies
- The digital economy
The SCSC’s work on good regulatory practices led to the 2011 APEC Leader’s Declaration to strengthen the implementation these practices in economies (Annex D). Good regulatory practices, or GRPs, also support the Committee on Trade and Investment’s ongoing work on regulatory coherence. Starting in 2015, rel="noopener noreferrer" the SCSC and the Economic Committee have been the alternating hosts for the annual GRP Conferences.
Following the EC–SCSC 9th Conference on Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) organized by the EC in 2016, the 10th Conference on GRP, organized by SCSC, was held at the margins of the Third Senior Officials Meeting in 2017. The conference had four objectives:
- To expand the application of GRPs as a tool to reduce barriers to trade and to encourage investment and economic growth
- To promote discussion of challenges and best practices for increasing transparency and facilitating notice and comment procedures
- To increase awareness of WTO TBT obligations related to notification and identify ways to facilitate their implementation by APEC economies
The 6th APEC FSCF Statement was adopted by the members, in the margins of the Second Senior Officials’ Meeting, following a series of events (listed below) related to Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) and Wine Regulatory Forum (WRF):
- APEC Export Certificate Workshop
- Workshop on Modernization of Food Safety Control Systems
- Wine Regulatory Forum Technical Meeting
- Maximum Residual Limit Meeting
- The Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) Steering Group Convention
- 6th Conference of FSCF
The statement reaffirms directions and goals of FSCF/ Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN) work in the future, which all members agreed to further build robust food safety systems. It also reaffirmed FSCF priority areas of work, including the streamlining of export certificate requirements and the harmonization of import maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides.
The FSCF marked its 10th anniversary of successful operations since 2007. The Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN), which was established in 2008 for the purpose of supporting capacity building activities with the use of resources from the private sector and academia, convened with the steering group members and confirmed further cooperation to realize the FSCF’s goals.
In 2017, the 22nd Joint Regulatory Advisory Committee (JRAC) was held in the margin of SCSC2 with the attendances of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and ASEAN. JRAC is a body established by the APEC member economies as the official sub-group under the SCSC, for the purpose of:
- promoting and facilitating regulator to regulator dialogue and cooperation; and
- administering and facilitating the implementation of the TILF Pathfinder on APEC Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (the MRA Pathfinder)
The SCSC works closely with the following five expert regional bodies of the APEC Specialist Regional Bodies (SRBs), official members in SCSC, for the development of the standards and conformance infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific.
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The SCSC works in areas ranging from good regulatory practices, product and food safety, standards and conformance education, and environment/energy efficiency standards.
- Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC)
- Asia Pacific Legal Metrology Forum (APLMF)
- Asia-Pacific Metrology Program (APMP)
- Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC)
- Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – Three Years Guest to SCSC (2017-2019)
- Publications by SCSC
- Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC)
- International Accreditation Forum
Workshop in cooperation with IEC and ISO: Developing Competence Requirements and Career Path for Standards Professionals (SCSC 02 2017S)Singapore
Mr Akifumi FUKUOKA
Mr NGUYEN Van Khoi
Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality