Market Access Group
Trade liberalization, through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff measures (NTMs), encourages greater trade and investment flows, creates new business opportunities and jobs in the Asia-Pacific, and contributes to APEC's goal of advancing free and open trade and investment in the region.
Established in 1998 by the Committee for Trade and Investment (CTI), the Market Access Group's (MAG) mandates are to advance and integrate the CTI's objectives on tariffs and non-tariff measures. These are two of the 15 specific areas outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda through which APEC member economies are working to eliminate barriers to trade. In order to involve business in its work, MAG invites representatives from the business community, including the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and the World Customs Organization (WCO), to its meetings and workshops.
The MAG holds its meetings twice a year, at the margins of the First and Second Senior Officials Meetings (SOM1 and SOM3). The MAG coordinates continued discussion on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), the APEC environmental goods list, expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), remanufacturing, non-tariff measures (NTMs) and other initiatives related to market access.
The MAG also accepts and appreciates contributions from the private sector through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), who provide support and linkages between MAG and the business community.
The following are the MAG’s key initiatives:
SUPPORT FOR THE MULTILATERAL TRADING SYSTEM (MTS)
APEC Environmental Goods List
The number of MAG members that have submitted items to add to the APEC Environmental Goods List have increased, and the MAG continues to urge members that have yet to fully implement the tariff reduction of the 54 products to do so.
Expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA)
The robust trade of information technology or IT products today is driven by the rapid innovation of new technologies and consumer demand for the latest designs and technology platforms. Over the years, because of this rapid technological advancement and changes in tariff classifications, APEC economies have recognized that there is a need to expand and update the 1996 World Trade Organization Information Technology Agreement (ITA). The ITA requires that participants eliminate duties on IT products. As of February 2017, 11 APEC economies out of 48 ITA participants have reported the successful implementation of their tariff commitments in their domestic national tariffs. A majority of the participants have also updated their respective WTO schedules of concessions, effectively modifying their bound tariff rates, to reflect their respective ITA expansion tariff commitments, as required by the agreement.
ADVANCING REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
Remanufacturing refers to the complete product recovery process—this could entail repair, replacement or the recovery of components for product reuse.
Industry representatives noted that remanufactured goods should be treated as the equivalent of new products in the trade policies of member economies. Ministers agreed to facilitate trade in remanufactured goods by making existing and future measures that apply to goods that are not newly manufactured publicly available.
The APEC Pathfinder Initiative on Facilitating Trade in Remanufactured Goods was incorporated into the 2011 APEC Ministerial Statement. As part of this pathfinder initiative, participating economies committed not to apply measures specifically concerning used goods and remanufactured goods. Eleven economies are now fully participating in the initiative. These are include Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; New Zealand; the Philippines; Singapore; Chinese Taipei and the United States.
APEC Trade Repository
The APEC Trade Repository (APEC TR) is an online reference tool for trade and tariff information on APEC’s 21 member economies, in furtherance of its work towards trade facilitation, transparency, information dissemination and connectivity.
Building on its work in 2010 on the APEC Tariff and Rules of Origin website (WebTR), APEC has expanded the sets of information made available to the public relevant to trade in the Asia-Pacific region through APEC TR. It contains the following information on each economy:
- MNF tariff rates;
- Preferential tariff rates
- Rules of origin (ROO) on existing RTAs/FTAs
- Cest practices in trade facilitation
- Domestic trade and customs laws/regulations
- Procedure and documentary requirements
- authorized economic operators (AEOs)
- Other trade measures
Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize Micro-, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
The MAG acknowledges its function in providing timely and accurate information on export and import procedures and requirements through the development of guidebooks, usage of trade information and review of import licensing requirements, which will increase the transparency of trade data, and their accessibility to smaller businesses.
APEC Pathfinder for Self-Certification of Origin
MAG members are encouraged to join the APEC Pathfinder on Self Certification of Origin, which sought to reduce the administrative burdens and costs associated with navigating complex rules of origin documentation and procedures when utilizing FTAs. Twelve Economies have joined the Pathfinder.
Case Studies to Examine the Critical Role of Services Trade in Global Value Chains
The APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) has completed case studies on the following sectors critical role of the services trade in global value chains. These case studies focus on the following sectors:
- Health and medical services in Malaysia
- Telecommunication in Australia and PNG
- Transport services in Chile
Publications for each case study can be found here.
APEC opening environmental goods market
APEC in Qingdao to advance new growth drivers
APEC boosts business-friendly security controls on traded goods
Expansion of IT pact to boost global economy: APEC officials
Unlocking barriers on ICT products benefits regional prosperity
Remanufacturing brings economic and environmental benefits
APEC Leaders release declaration, adopt new vision for regional growth
APEC helps business take advantage of FTAs
Plans to Address Climate Change Intensify at Meeting of APEC Economies
- APEC Environmental Goods List
- 2011 APEC Ministerial Statement Annex D - Pathfinder on facilitating trade in remanufactured goods
- APEC Elements for Simplification of Documents and Procedures Relating to Rules of Origin (ROOs)
- APEC Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) work program
- APEC Environmental Goods and Services Information Exchange (EGSIE)
- APEC Economies: Realising the Benefits of Trade Facilitation
- New Directions for APEC's Trade Facilitation Agenda
- Tariffs and Rules of Origin in APEC Member Economies (WebTR)
Mr Mitsuhiro FUKUYAMA
Trade Policy Bureau
Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan
Ms Asmidar ABDUL RAHMAN