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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is pushing to align and synchronize industry standards and conformance requirements to improve the business environment and strengthen trade and investment flows in the region.

APEC technical experts held a workshop recently in Medan, Indonesia, to understand how different standard-setting institutions develop and apply standards, and what challenges regional economies face to harmonize them.

“Sectors ranging from agriculture to energy and manufacturing must operate in accordance with requirements that are intended to establish an even playing field among businesses and ensure the public interest,” said T.A.R. Hanafiah, chair of the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance. “These requirements can vary greatly across different economies.”

The sub-committee is currently in the middle of a year-long study of these different standards and conformance infrastructures, said the project overseer, Jong Hyun Lee of the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards.

“Our goal is to establish a set of best practice guidelines for APEC member economies on standards development and application,” noted Lee.

Workshop participants described their economies’ standardization bodies and processes, and identified the key challenges they face.

“We are working together to enhance the alignment of industry standards and conformance requirements to make it easier, faster and cheaper for businesses, including small enterprises, to operate in the region,” Hanafiah said. “This can boost trade and investment activity and help to deliver more robust long-term growth.”

These challenges and recommendations for addressing them will be analyzed, along with survey responses and other volunteered data, to form the basis of the APEC guidelines to be issued in December 2013, the sub-committee said.

 

Photo: sobczak.paul

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