What is the APSCo?
The Asia-Pacific Services Coalition (APSCo) is the world’s largest coalition of services industries. Formed in 2015, it is composed of major business associations from the Asia-Pacific region dedicated to promoting the importance of the services sector. The collective goal is to work with businesses and governments to foster growth and efficiency in the services sectors through increased trade and investment, greater innovation and skills development, and pro-growth regulation in all Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies.
Australian Services Roundtable
Canadian Services Coalition
Federation of Korean Industries
Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries
Indonesia Services Dialogue
Japan Services Network
Malaysian Service Providers’ Confederation
Business New Zealand
Business Council of Papua New Guinea
Lima Chamber of Commerce Services Committee
Pacific Basin Economic Cooperation Council
Philippine Services Coalition
Singapore Business Federation
Sociedad de Fomento Fabril de Chile FG
Taiwan Coalition of Service Industries
U.S. Coalition of Services Industries
China Association for Trade in Services
European Services Forum
National Business Association of Colombia, Colombia
ASEAN Service Providers’ Confederation
Latin American Services Exporters Association
As set out in its Memorandum of Understanding, the APSC was established to:
- Foster increased cooperation and dialogue among our organizations and businesses on new and emerging domestic, APEC and international opportunities and developments;
- Share information and experiences supported by evidence-based approaches on ways to increase growth and efficiency in services;
- Share ideas on how to strengthen the role and membership of our individual organizations;
- Provide a forum for dialogue with APEC Ministers and Officials and ABAC on the APEC services agenda, and;
- Provide a regional avenue to develop and advocate our interests and recommendations
APSCo History: When and How was APSCo formed?
With support from the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the APSCo was launched on 7 Sept 2015 at a Regional Conference of Services Coalitions: “Charting a New Course on Services – a call to action in APEC”, in Cebu, The Philippines, in the margins of the APEC Structural Reform Ministers Meeting.
ASR Directors and members played a prominent role in that Conference proceedings. (See programme http://mddb.apec.org/Documents/2015/SOM/CONF/15_som_conf_001.pdf and Pre -Conference APEC Welcome Dinner video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ov1LEHtvg).
Hon.Steven Ciobo, MP then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade and Investment, Cebu, 2015
Vivianne Arnold, ASR Director (then President) with John Larkin, then Chair APEC Committee on Trade and Investment and Toshiyuki Takemoto, Japan Senior Official for APEC, Cebu 2015.
Asia Pacific Coalition members sign the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the APSC.
Inaugural APSC Media Conference: Jane Drake-Brockman, ASR Director and then Head, Services Programme, ITC; Antony Nightingale, Jardine Matheson, and ABAC Hong Kong Services Champion; and Peter Perfecto, CEO Philippine Services Coalition.
The ASR Media Release announcing the launch of the Asia Pacific Services Roundtable in September 2015 is available at http://australianservicesroundtable.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ASR-Media-Release-Coalition-of-Services-Organisations-FINAL.pdf
Many Coalition members have backgrounders on their websites. A description of the first meeting in Cebu in 2015 can be found at http://isd-indonesia.org/asia-pacific-services-coalition-formed-to-push-services-agenda/. For media coverage in the Philippines in 2015, see for example http://foundersguide.com/apec-services-coalition-launched/
The second meeting of the Asia Pacific Services Coalition was hosted by the China Association for Trade in Services (CATIS) in May 2016 in the margins of the Beijing China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and the associated WTO Forum “Innovation and Trade in Services: Opportunities and Challenges in the Era of Digitization” (which ASR Director Jane Drake-Brockman was invited to address).
Minutes of the second APSC meeting in Beijing in May 2016 can be found at https://servicescoalition.org/images/APEC/APSC_Notes_2016-01.pdf
The 4 Coalition co-convenors and Guillermo Valles, UNCTAD, Beijing 2016.
Asia Pacific Services Coalition members with Arancha Gonzales, Director-General, ITC, Beijing 2016.
Asia Pacific Services Coalition members at a reception sponsored by PECC, Beijing 2016.
What is ASR’s role in APSC?
ASR was instrumental in the formation of the Asia Pacific Services Coalition. Over the previous decade, ASR had steadily built a variety of regional business and policy advocacy alliances, relationships and memoranda of understanding including notably with the Indonesian Services Dialogue, the China Association of Trade in Services, the Malaysian Services Coalition, the Hong Kong Services Coalition, the Taiwan Coalition of Service Industries, the US Coalition of Services Industries, Japan Services Network, Canadian Services Coalition, and the Philippines Services Coalition and worked increasingly closely with both ABAC and PECC. ASR Director Jane Drake-Brockman also oversighted a body of research at ITC on building and sustaining coalitions of services industries, which stimulated emergence and rejuvenation of several new coalitions on both a regional and global basis, including the Philippine Services Coalition.
ASR took a lead throughout this period, in advocating (especially through ABAC and PECC) for regional services stakeholders to call jointly for a big new services initiative in APEC. ASR Directors and members became frequent speakers at APEC meetings, successfully calling for initiation of APEC Public-Private Dialogues (PPDs) on Services, the first of which was formally hosted by the Indonesian Services Dialogue (ISD) in Surabaya in 2013. ASR was invited to participate in Surabaya and in subsequent high-level APEC PPDs in Chinese Taipei; in Kazan and Moscow, Russia; in Beijing and Qingdao, China; in Clark Free Zone, Borocay and Manila in The Philippines; in Arequippa and Lima in Peru and in Hanoi, Vietnam.
As these various consultations delivered increasing political level support, ASR was among the first, along with ABAC Champions from Hong Kong (China), New Zealand, Indonesia and The Philippines, to call for regional stakeholders to come forward in a formal business coalition.
ASR lobbying efforts, along with those of other players such as ISD, culminated in an ITC-funded regional mapping exercise for ABAC which identified and connected the services coalitions in the region with each other. The then ASR CEO contributed a case study on ASR and the report was tabled by ABAC at the APEC Leaders Meeting in Beijing in late 2014. See http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/Mobilizing%20business%20for%20new%20APEC%20Services%20agenda_04Nov-FIN.pdf
By 2015, the time was right for ASR and ISD to work closely behind the scenes with the Philippine Services Coalition (PSC) to push for big new services initiatives in APEC. ASR members and PSC members had a major hand in the conceptual development and drafting of the APEC Services Competitiveness Framework which was adopted by APEC Leaders in Manila 2015. Establishment of the Asia Pacific Services Coalition cemented an ongoing collaborative APEC services stakeholder consultation process. ASR took a lead in raising funding to assist, especially smaller or more remote, business associations to participate in APSC.
The APSC is co-convened by the Australian Services Roundtable (Jane Drake-Brockman) and the US Coalition of Services Industries (Christine Bliss), with support from the Philippine Services Coalition (Patrick Chua) and the Lima Chamber of Commerce (Sylvia Grant).
Secretariat services are provided pro bono by Australian Services Roundtable Director (Jane Drake-Brockman) with periodic assistance from the other co-convenors and from the PECC. APSC reports after each meeting to ABAC via the ABAC Regional Economic Integration Working Group (chaired by Sir Rod Eddington AO) and ABAC Services Champion HO Meng Kit, Singapore Business Federation.
ASR members and other APSC members contributed significantly to the drafting of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap and the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap Implementation Plan in 2016 in Lima.
The text of both above documents is reflective of ASR policy priorities as set out in numerous ASR policy submissions over the 2000s as well as the ASR flagship publication “The New Economic Challenge: Responding to the Rise of Services in the Australian Economy” launched by the then Australian Minister for Trade at the ASR Services Summit in October 2010. http://www.tda.edu.au/resources/New%20Economic%20Challenge%20-%20Responding%20to%20the%20Rise%20of%20Services%20in%20the%20Australian%20Economy.pdf
APSCo’s role in APEC
Following adoption of the APEC Services Competitiveness Framework in Manila in 2015, the APSCo worked closely with APEC Senior Officials office in Lima throughout 2016, to input business perspectives on business-relevant content for an APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap. The APSCo is specifically mentioned in the APEC Leaders Declaration of 2016;
“We commend the key role that business organizations have played in the development of the Roadmap, particularly the APEC Business Advisory Council and the Asia-Pacific Services Coalition. We agree that such organizations should be engaged in implementation and monitoring progress of the Roadmap.”
The Roadmap sets out concrete actions and mutually agreed targets to facilitate services trade and investment and enhance the competitiveness of the services sector across APEC economies.
- Increasing openness of services markets in the region, through removal of substantially all restrictions on trade in services by 2025, with limited number of legitimate exceptions;
- Raising trade in services so that by 2025, exports and imports of services from APEC as a whole increase by more than the historic compound average annual growth rate of 6.8 per cent;
- Increasing the share (%) of trade in services in the total exports and imports of APEC economies so that it exceeds the average level of the services trade share in world trade by 2025;
- Increasing the share (%) of value-added of the services sector in the total GDP of the APEC region so that it exceeds the global average level by 2025.
The 2016 APEC Leaders Statement specifically confers on APSC an ongoing role in the monitoring and evaluation of these targets.
“The views of PECC, ABAC, the Asia-Pacific Services Coalition and other private sector entities will be invited in monitoring and evaluating progress under the Roadmap. Such input will be sought on a regular basis with these entities being invited to evaluate how well targets have been met at both an APEC and individual economy level as well as to make recommendations on how implementation activities under the Roadmap might be improved.”