APEC Capacity Building Webinar – Services Domestic Regulation

Tuesday 17 August, 2021. APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)  Capacity Building Webinar: hosted by USTR. “Translating APEC’s Non-Binding Principles for Domestic Regulation for the Services Sector into Practice – A Focus on Domestic Regulations in Trade Agreements” 

While services trade liberalization tends to focus on the lowering of market access and discriminatory barriers, there are also significant barriers to services trade caused by opaque, unpredictable, and overly burdensome domestic policy environments.

Industry Professor and TIISA Network Director Jane Drake-Brockman presented and moderated during this highly informative and interactive webinar

Session 1 

Initial Findings of the Study on APEC’s Non-Binding Principles for Domestic Regulation of the Services Sector – A Focus on Domestic Regulations in Trade Agreements

This session aimed to disseminate key findings on costs and trends related to services domestic regulations principles and disciplines in the Asia-Pacific. In particular, the presentations will share how APEC economies can lower trade costs by streamlining domestic regulations, and how the APEC Non-binding Principles for Domestic Regulation of the Services Sector compares to a selection of trade initiatives, including: the World Trade Organization (WTO) Joint Statement Initiative on Domestic Regulations (JSI); the Comprehensive and Progressive Transpacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP); the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA); and the European Union-United Kingdom Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Moderator – Jane Drake-Brockman, Industry Professor, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide

Sebastian Benz, Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Felipe Sandoval, Senior Services Specialist, US-SEGA

Session 2

This session aimed to increase APEC economies’ awareness of good practices in domestic regulation of the services sector, including ongoing plurilateral talks on the JSI, which seeks to remove regulatory barriers for services providers on a global scale. Considering the numerous points of convergence between the JSI and the APEC Non-binding Principles as found in the study, this session will present the reachable opportunities the JSI provides to APEC economies in streamlining and clarifying procedures and requirements for authorization, thereby reducing services trade costs and increasing economic inclusivity.

Moderator – Thomas Fine, Director, Services and Investment, Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), United States

Jane Drake-Brockman, Industry Professor, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide

Markus Jelitto, Counsellor, Trade in Services and Investment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)

Session 3

Approaches to Transparency under Regional Trade Initiatives

Further development of transparency disciplines remains the most significant challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. While economies have been willing to agree on a more general non-binding set of principles, their approaches to transparency under regional trade initiatives do not always converge. This session aims to reflect on areas of regulatory divergence on transparency, discussing the effects of this regulatory divergence on the domestic provision of services and cross-border trade in services, as well as potential opportunities for future initiatives to support regulatory harmonization

Moderator – Felipe Sandoval, Senior Services Specialist, US-SEGA

Deborah Elms, Founder and Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre

Christine Bliss, President, Coalition of Services Industries

Professor Jane Drake-Brockman presented:

“How to Enhance Services Competitiveness, Cut Services Trade Costs and Expand Inclusive Services Business Opportunities for Developing APEC Economy SMEs”