APEC’s SECOND TRADE FACILITATION ACTION PLAN
APEC’s second Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP II) responds to a call by APEC Leaders at their Meeting in Busan 2005 for a further reduction of trade transaction costs by 5 per cent in the period 2007-2010. A major component of this new plan is an updated and revised menu of actions and measures for member economies’ consideration from the four areas of Customs Procedures, Business Mobility, Standards and Conformance and Electronic Commerce as developed for TFAP I. The revised menu is based on the menu in TFAP I, but deletes those actions that have been completed by APEC economies and those no longer deemed appropriate. Some new actions and measures have also been added. The revised menu is at Annex A.
Recognising the greater benefits that accrue to the business community when economies act collectively in finding solutions to trade-related issues, member economies have agreed that TFAP II will place greater emphasis on Collective Actions and Pathfinders. Pathfinders allow member economies that are ready to initiate and implement cooperative activities or measures to do so, while those not yet ready to participate may join at a later date. Annex B lists new examples of Collective Actions agreed for TFAP II. A brief description of the wider work of the CTI sub-fora responsible for progressing these initiatives is also provided.
In order to reflect the evolving business environment, the actions and initiatives listed in the annexes will be updated as and when appropriate.
The Broader APEC Business Facilitation Agenda
While the menu of actions and measures will be a key feature of TFAP II, APEC has agreed that this new plan should also refer to other business facilitation activities being undertaken across APEC. These include domestic regulatory reform, work on business ethics, secure trade and investment.
The reason for capturing this work in TFAP II reflects the fact that facilitating trade is enhanced when complemented by ‘Behind-the-Border’ reform. The two are in fact a continuum. This is implicit in the Busan Business Agenda, which was a comprehensive business facilitation programme welcomed by APEC Leaders in 2005 in response to the specific concerns of the Asia-Pacific business community. In addition to calls for further reductions in trade transaction costs by five percent by 2010, it also called for new initiatives in the areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), anti-corruption, investment, and secure trade. This plan provides a comprehensive overview of progress in implementing this business facilitation agenda (Annex C).