Greater coordination to align industry standards and conformance requirements can improve the business environment and strengthen trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region.

Understanding how economies develop and utilize standards and what challenges economies face to harmonize them was the focus of APEC technical experts during a workshop on Sunday in Medan.

“Sectors ranging from agriculture to energy and manufacturing must operate in accordance with requirements that are intended to establish an even playing field among businesses and ensure the public interest,” said T.A.R. Hanafiah, Chair of the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance. “These requirements can vary greatly across different economies.”

“We are working together to enhance the alignment of industry standards and conformance requirements to make it easier, faster and cheaper for businesses, including small enterprises, to operate in the region,” Hanafiah explained. “This can boost trade and investment activity and help to deliver more robust long-term growth.”

To achieve increased synchronization, it is necessary to take stock of how different standard-setting institutions function.

“APEC economies are currently in the middle of a year-long initiative to identify the commonalities and differences that exist between standards and conformance infrastructures,” said the project overseer Jong Hyun Lee of the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards. “We are specifically looking at who governs industry standards, through which systems and facilities, and based on what sorts of information.”

“Our goal is to establish a set of best practice guidelines for APEC member economies on standards development and application,” noted Lee.

Workshop participants described their economies’ standardization bodies and processes. They furthermore identified the key challenges they face on issues such as organization, budget, human resources, implementation and performance.     

These challenges and recommendations for addressing them will be analyzed, along with survey responses and other volunteered data, to form the basis of the APEC guidelines to be issued in December 2013.

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For more information or to arrange possible interview opportunities, please contact David Hendrickson +65 9137 3886 at drh@apec.org or Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org.

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