Objective 1.2

Global standards and best-practice regulations adopted in key markets

Action 1.2B

In progress

The Government will promote international regulatory cooperation and coherence through Australia’s bilateral exchanges, the Australian free trade agreement agenda, Aid for Trade / economic co-operation activities, as well as engagement in APEC and G20.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Industry
recommendation/s
Description
Government response
Related Action/s
11C

Encourage greater regulator-to-regulator cooperation to promote the adoption of consistent regulatory approaches in our region (ideally, similar to or compatible with Australia’s). This is particularly important in areas of new opportunity.

Agreed-in-principle
11D

The Australian Government should continue to invest in capacity development in our region to help developing countries both adopt international standards and participate in international standards development.

Agreed-in-principle

APEC Setting Best-Practice Standards and Regulations

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a Regional economic forum that aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

 

Australia is actively engaged in APEC. We lead and support initiatives that improve data and transparency, promote best-practice standards and regulation, and build capacity in the region.

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Progress to date

 

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 Asia-Pacific economies. APEC's member economies are home to more than 2.7 billion people and make up over half of global GDP. APEC partners make up more than 70 per cent of Australia's total trade in goods and services and closer regional economic integration contributes to Australian economic growth and prosperity.

Economic and technical cooperation is a core part of the APEC process. Consistent with APEC’s mission and guided by Australia’s APEC priorities, Australia is providing $23 million over five years to support economic, trade and investment priorities in the APEC region. As examples, this includes:

  • contributing funds to the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index to help monitor restrictions to services trade in the region
  • leading projects that increase transparency of mutual recognition arrangements for professional registration and licensing and share best practice in digital credentialling of professionals, and
  • leading a project to assist APEC economies to adopt regulatory best practice in the fintech and regtech sectors.

Australia is engaging globally in trade initiatives to promote the adoption of good regulatory practices. This includes:

  • support for the WTO Services Domestic Regulation Joint Statement Initiative, and
  • negotiating for good regulatory practice commitments in our free trade agreements.

Australia's support for the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index saw the release in June 2021 of a policy brief highlighting progress made on services domestic regulation reform in the APEC region and the potential benefits for APEC SMEs from further reform.

A February 2021 policy report on services regulation trends up to 2021 reports that the global regulatory environment became more restrictive in 2020 across all services sectors covered by the STRI and that trade restrictions increased the most in computer services, commercial banking and broadcasting services sectors.

Australia is working with the other members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) under the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee. Initiatives include an information exchange on standards, conformance, transparency and regulation across the membership – aimed at establishing a baseline understanding of technical capacity, approaches and future priority areas. This initiative is underway and expected to be concluded by the end of 2021.

The APEC Financial Services: Increasing APEC’s FinTech and RegTech Capabilities Post-COVID-19 project report has been released. Australia worked on this project with other APEC countries to assist APEC economies with the adoption of regulatory best practice in the fintech and regtech sectors. The report recommends the region undertake regulatory changes to facilitate trade in digital finance and regulatory technology.