As tariffs have declined in the APEC region, attention has gradually shifted to the structural and regulatory obstacles that inhibit cross-border trade and investment and that create behind-the-border barriers to doing business.

The Economic Committee (EC) works to remove these obstacles by promoting structural reform within APEC. Structural reform consists of improvements made to institutional frameworks, regulations and government policies so that the efficient functioning of markets is supported and behind-the-border barriers are reduced. Such work is expected to generate significant benefits and remains relevant for many current economic policy debates, including the issues related to the prospects of avoiding the middle income trap.

In 2004, APEC Leaders endorsed an ambitious work programme called the Leaders' Agenda to Implement Structural Reform 2010 (LAISR). The agenda covers five areas for structural policy reform: regulatory reform, competition policy, public sector governance, corporate governance, and strengthening economic and legal infrastructure.

Building on the work in these five areas, APEC's structural reform agenda was expanded beyond the LAISR's priority areas through the APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR) initiative launched in 2010. In 2015, APEC Ministers endorsed a Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR), which will guide APEC’s work on structural reform until 2020.

The RAASR aims for a robust, comprehensive and ambitious structural reform agenda to reduce inequality and stimulate growth in APEC economies, and contribute to APEC’s overarching goal to promote balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth, through measures in line with the following three pillars:

  1. more open, well-functioning, transparent and competitive markets;
  2. deeper participation in those markets by all segments of society, including MSMEs, women, youth, older workers and people with disabilities;
  3. sustainable social policies that promote the above mentioned objectives, enhance economic resiliency, and are well-targeted, effective and non‑discriminatory.

The EC was established in 1994 and meets twice a year. The EC also works closely with other relevant APEC fora including the Competition Policy and Law Group (which sits under EC)the Committee on Trade and Investment, and CTI’s Group on Services. The Terms of Establishment for the EC are available on this page (see link to the right). 

Last page update: April 2017

Current Activities

EC supports APEC priorities by working on the implementation of the five-year Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR) mandate, endorsed by the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) held in Cebu, the Philippines, in September 2015.

The latest meeting of the EC took place in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, 27-28 February 2017. The report from the meeting can be found here.

Under RAASR, the EC is progressing work under five areas: structural reform and inclusive growth; structural reform and innovation; structural reform and services; tools for structural reform; and new directions for structural reform. An update from February 2017 on the EC’s progress under each of these areas is available here.

The EC’s annual economy policy reports can be found here

Achievements

Since 2004, APEC’s structural reform agenda—through the Leaders’ Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) and the subsequent APEC New Strategy for Structural Reform (ANSSR)—has made a strong contribution to efforts to reduce behind-the-border barriers and promote balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth in the region. 

At the second SRMM in Cebu, APEC economies welcomed the progress made in implementing structural reform under the ANSSR initiative launched in 2010.  A midterm review of stocktake reports in 2013 found that most economies reported notable progress towards the goals they had adopted. The Committee’s Friends of the Chair (FoTC) (Corporate Law and Governance; Ease of Doing Business; Public Sector Governance; Regulatory Reform; and Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure), as well as the Competition Policy and Law Group (CPLG),  supported these efforts through a number of workshops and discussions.

In Cebu, Ministers also recognised the importance of further intensifying work to:

remove barriers to and identifying new sources of growth;

promoting innovation;

raising productivity;

narrowing development gaps; and

steering the world economy towards a path of greater shared prosperity.

In this regard, the agreement reached by APEC economies in 2015 to endorse the Renewed APEC Agenda for Structural Reform (RAASR 2016-2020) is a significant achievement.

APEC economies have devoted considerable effort to ANSSR, undertaking hundreds of individual projects in the area, complemented by significant efforts toward capacity building.

The Economic Committee has also carried out substantive work in regard to overcoming the Middle Income Trap through structural reform. In May 2015, the Committee held a seminar on the subject, and a second in 2016. The 2015 AEPR on Structural Reform and Innovation has also been a significant achievement in this regard. Policies to promote innovation are an important means of escaping the Middle Income Trap, raising long-term productivity and creating inclusive and sustainable growth.

In addition, the 2016 AEPR on Structural Reform and Services has also been widely commended. 

Contacts

Rory McLeod (Mr)
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
New Zealand
Email: rory.mcleod@mbie.govt.nz
Alex Rogers (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: anr13@apec.org

News

Report: Asia-Pacific Growth Hinges on Consumption via Reform
Inclusiveness Key to Stimulating Consumer Spending and Economic Growth
Bollard: Asia-Pacific Growth at a Crossroads
APEC Senior Officials Lay Groundwork for New Era of Growth
Skills Training Boosts Livelihoods in the Asia-Pacific
APEC Economic Committee Meeting
‘Inclusive Economies’ Key to Asia-Pacific Growth, Says Bollard
Joint APEC Economic Committee-APEC Group on Services-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Meeting on Services
Hong Kong, China Chief Executive Leung: “Huge Room for Growth in Trade and Investment” in APEC
APEC Launches New Assault on Inequality
President Aquino: APEC Philippines 2015 to Build More “Inclusive Economies”
APEC After 25 Years: A Look Backward and a Thought Forward
APEC Leaders Issue Declaration in Beijing
The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
Xi to APEC Leaders: Inject New Vitality into Asia-Pacific Development
APEC Leaders, Business Engage on Future of Regional Economy
The 22nd APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting: Welcome Ceremony
Viet Nam President Sang: APEC Moving Towards Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
Xi: Asia-Pacific Stands at a Crossroads
APEC CEO Summit 2014
Viet Nam President Sang on APEC and the Changing Asia-Pacific Landscape
26th APEC Ministerial Meeting
The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting: The Yanqi Lake Venue in Beijing, China
APEC Joint Ministerial Statement Issued
APEC Ministers: World Needs Greater Asia-Pacific Partnership
Singapore Prime Minister Lee: APEC Has Come a Long Way
2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week Opens in Beijing
Russia contributes USD 3 million to APEC capacity building projects
Former Japan Prime Minister Kan on the Future of Asia-Pacific Growth
25 Years of Progress in the Asia-Pacific
Zhang: Tackle Structural Barriers to Ensure Asia-Pacific Growth
APEC Finance Ministers issue Joint Statement
APEC Finance Ministers in Beijing to revive growth
Former Philippines President Ramos: new development challenges “common enemies”
Former Philippines President Ramos on APEC progress and new challenges
APEC Senior Officials finalizing platform for new growth
APEC in Beijing to accelerate global recovery
Empowering women for Asia-Pacific prosperity
APEC Trade Ministers adopt Qingdao Statement
APEC key to global trade progress
APEC advancing blueprint for improved regional connectivity
APEC boosting electric vehicle development
Bachelet: Chile a port and bridge between Latin America and Asia-Pacific
Slower growth compels further economic reform: APEC business advisors
APEC recovery gaining traction
Risks to economic recovery still remain: analysts
Regional officials assess the future of APEC
Analysis of APEC actions to meet new economic conditions
APEC Leaders release declaration: Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth
Yudhoyono: APEC remains driving force for global growth
APEC Finance Ministers issue Joint Statement
Finance Ministers: APEC economies on the right track
The “Three Friends of Winter”: How Economic Policy has Addressed the Major Crises of our Time
Subdued global trade requires new policies to sustain growth
Economic Committee Meeting
Economic Committee Meeting
Economic Committee Workshop
APEC economies improve ease of doing business by 8.2 percent: report
APEC economies remain the world’s fastest growing: report
APEC making it easier, faster, cheaper to do business
APEC releases key assessment on structural reform
APEC SME Green Innovation Conference
Securing food supplies in the Asia Pacific
Paving the way for financial inclusion
US Secretary of State Clinton outlines strategy for economic engagement with Asia-Pacific
Structural reform in APEC vital for economic growth, analysis says
New APEC investment guide to promote transparency
APEC's Role in Regional Development - Challenges and Prospects for Regional Cooperation
Business council chair says no time to waste
APEC releases 2010 progress reports on trade, economic policy
APEC's Supply Chain Framework: A Boon for Business
Progressing Structural Reform in APEC Economies
APEC Endorses More Ambitious Structural Reform in the Midst of Economic Crisis
News from the EC Chair: Promoting Improved Structural Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region
Competition Policy Vital for APEC Growth
APEC Moves Behind the Borders: Taking on Structural Reform
News Briefing by the Economic Committee and Committee on Trade and Investment Chairs
Letter from the Executive Office of the APEC Secretariat
News from the Investment Experts' Group: Improving APEC's Investment Climate - Meeting the Challenge of Doing Better
APEC Starts Work on Improving Public Sector Governance
New APEC Economic Committee Chair Appointed
APEC Senior Officials Conclude Meeting in Preparation for APEC Ministers' and Leaders' Meetings
Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change
APEC Economic Outlook: 4% GDP Growth Despite Slight Downturn
APEC Economic Committee Recommendations on Role of Specialized Financial Institutions (SFIs)
Knowledge: The New Factor of Production
Value Of Services Underrated In Asia-Pacific - Re-definition Of Service Sector Required
APEC Led Global Economic Recovery Predicted - Caution Over Risk Factors
APEC Invests In Building Human Capacity Of Asia-Pacific
APEC Economic Outlook: Global and Regional Growth Predicted - Caution on Risk Factors
APEC Economic And Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) Cites Significant Progress
APEC Economic Committee Releases Reports On "Economic Outlook" And "New Economy"
APEC Business Advisory Council To Meet In Moscow
APEC Business Advisory Council Begins 2001 Work at Scottsdale, Arizona Meeting

Events

27 Feb 2017 Economic Committee (EC) Nha Trang, Viet Nam
26 Feb 2017 Economic Committee (EC) - Dialogue on Government Procurement Nha Trang, Viet Nam
26 Feb 2017 EC Policy Dialogue - Public Procurement in APEC Economies: Best Practices to Advance Regulatory Mechanisms (RUS) Nha Trang, Viet Nam
25 Feb 2017 Strengthening Economic Legal Infrastructure (SELI) Friends of the Chair Nha Trang, Viet Nam
24 Feb 2017 Economic Committee (EC) - Workshop on Use of International Instruments to Strengthen Contract Enforcement in Supply Chain Finance for Global Businesses (including MSMEs) Nha Trang, Viet Nam
20 Feb 2017 APEC Workshop on Using Competition Assessments to Eliminate Unnecessary Barriers to Competition (EC 06 2016S) Nha Trang, Viet Nam