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Statement of the APEC Group on Services Encouraging Completion of the WTO Services Domestic Regulation

As the preeminent services forum within APEC, the Group on Services has: (1) promoted domestic regulation of services as a priority issue for improving global trade in services, as reflected in the adoption in 2018 of the APEC Non-binding Principles on Domestic Regulation; (2) identified domestic regulation as one of the key issues in the final push on services towards completing the Bogor Goals, as reflected in the 2020 Final Report to Ministers of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment; and (3) recognized the positive role the WTO Services Domestic Regulation Joint Statement Initiative is playing in progressing an outcome as highlighted in the 2021 Joint Statement of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade.

Acknowledging the difficulties which may be faced by service sector suppliers, particularly those of developing economies, in meeting licensing and qualification requirements and procedures, and technical standards;

Recognizing APEC economies’ right to regulate and to introduce new regulations on the supply of services in order to meet policy objectives;

Noting the increasing barriers to services trade arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the important role improved services trade can play in economic recovery;

Recalling the APEC Group on Services-endorsed studies and workshops on domestic regulation that noted the good performance of APEC economies on measurements of domestic regulations, the ground-breaking disciplines on domestic regulation in free trade agreements (FTAs) and regional trade agreements (RTAs) in the APEC region, and the significant economic gains to be made by broader adoption of improved domestic regulation practices;

Recognizing the high level of current participation of APEC economies in the WTO Services Domestic Regulation Joint Statement Initiative and each APEC economy’s position in the WTO Services Domestic Regulation Joint Statement Initiative;

the APEC Group on Services congratulates participants in the WTO Services Domestic Regulation Joint Statement Initiative on the progress made to date, encourages them to redouble their efforts to conclude the negotiations by the WTO’s 12TH Ministerial Conference, and encourages all remaining WTO members to consider joining the initiative, and stands ready to provide whatever support we are able toward completing that goal.

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