All APEC Leaders are committed to putting in place the best possible enabling environment for services competitiveness both at an APEC-wide and individual economy basis. This involves:
– promoting good regulatory practices and sound competition policy frameworks and institutions;
– ensuring that regulations do not act as disguised restrictions on trade;
– promoting international regulatory cooperation;
– ensuring an adequate supply of skills in a rapidly changing economy, helping workers adjust to change and providing for increased participation in the workforce by such groups as women and small businesses;
– fostering dynamic, competitive and effective telecommunications, innovation and ICT policies;
– putting in place intellectual property rights systems that incentivize and protect innovation while promoting knowledge and technology diffusion;
– facilitating effective financial markets, including through the use of new technologies to promote greater inclusion in financial markets; and
– improved people-to-people, physical and institutions connectivity.
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.
ASR members have an explicit opportunity to contribute ideas on steps that should be taken in Australia and throughout the region to ensure the enabling factors for services competitiveness are in place.
The APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap includes the following APEC-wide actions:
Enhancing global value chains, including increased participation of MSMEs and women, under the agreed Strategic Blueprint for Promoting Global Value Chains Development and Cooperation.
– Supporting cross-border mobility for professionals, building on initiatives such as the APEC Architects and Engineers Registers to facilitate mutual recognition arrangements.
– Enhancing flexibility for business visitors, building on initiatives such as the APEC Business Travel Card.
– Implementation of the Renewed APEC Agenda on Structural Reform, including progressing the 2016 APEC Economic Policy Report on Structural Reform and Services.
– Supporting liberalization, facilitation and cooperation of environmental services, under the agreed Environmental Services Action Plan.
– Progressive liberalization and facilitation of manufacturing-related services, under the agreed Manufacturing Related Services Action Plan.
– Supporting cooperation in the education sector including promoting internship schemes, overseas student exchange programs, and collaborative policy studies, as well as, in accordance with domestic education systems, information sharing pertinent to economies’ education standards, qualifications and credit systems and measures to explore mutual recognition (learning from measures such as the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework).
– Collaboration in responding to the rapid developments in internet-based technology to promote a regulatory approach that provides appropriate prudential oversight, legitimate consumer and security protections while enabling the flow of trade-related data in the context of an increasingly digitalized world.
– Supporting cross-border provision of certain financial services, including through financial inclusion initiatives and engagement by interested economies in the Asia Region Funds Passport initiative.
– Supporting APEC’s work on developing air, maritime and land transportation, as well as ICT infrastructure, in line with the APEC Connectivity Blueprint 2015-2025.
– Supporting APEC’s work on developing the travel and tourism sector for sustainable and inclusive growth, building on the work of the APEC Tourism Strategic Plan.
– Developing a set of good practice principles on domestic regulations in the services sector.
– Development of services-related statistics to measure and support implementation of the Roadmap and improve tracking of services trade and investment more broadly
APSCo members are working together on joint business recommendations in these areas. One immediate priority, reflected in the programme for the 2017 APSC meeting in Kuala Lumpur, is the regulatory environment for cross-border data flow; data – like talent – being a critical factor of production for all knowledge-intensive services businesses.
It is relevant that APEC capacity building funding is available to support implementation of the above commitments. DFAT has committed AUD2 million for capacity building activities over 2017/2018.