Measuring the Regulatory Environment of Services Trade in the APEC Region

Services represent more than half of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies’ GDP contributing to growth and job creation across the region. APEC Leaders have long recognized the importance of promoting services trade, and set ambitious goals to reduce trade barriers and promote regional economic integration. Impediments to services trade, however, remain widespread and risk undermining these efforts, while complex regulatory regimes make it difficult to grasp the domestic policy environment in which services trade operate.

The 2016 APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap set out key targets to increase services competitiveness in the region by 2025. In order to inform decision-making and monitor progress, Leaders committed to establishing an APEC index measuring the services regulatory environment by 2020. Delivering on that mandate, this website presents the APEC Index developed by APEC Group on Services (GOS) and the APEC Technical Group on Measuring the Regulatory Environment of Services Trade in the APEC Region with support from the OECD.

Building on existing indices, particularly on the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI), the APEC Index comprises of regulatory information on trade barriers affecting services and composite indices that quantify these in a comparable manner. The APEC Index also takes into account regional initiatives and APEC specific elements, such as the APEC Business Travel Card, to reflect relevant APEC-wide efforts to liberalise trade.

A pilot APEC Index was endorsed by the APEC GOS in September 2020 covering four services sectors: computer services, telecommunication services, distribution services and logistics services (storage and warehousing) across four economies (Chile, Peru, Chinese Taipei, and Viet Nam).

With the completion of the pilot program, APEC GOS members agreed to work towards expanding the coverage to all APEC economies, following the pilot phase methodology. The expansion of the APEC Index to measure the regulatory environment in service trade for additional economies was endorsed by the APEC GOS in August 2022.  

The APEC Index demonstrates economies’ substantial efforts to reduce trade barriers in line with their commitments under the Bogor Goals. APEC-wide cooperation in key areas such as trade facilitation, customs procedures, and regulatory transparency contribute to easing the regulatory hurdles on APEC businesses, particularly on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). At the same time, there is scope to further reform services sectors that form the pillar of regional trade such as logistics services. Moreover, lowering barriers to telecommunications and computer services would further allow APEC economies to benefit from the digital transformation.

The APEC Index is a unique tool that can help policy makers make better choices to drive economic recovery and empower a services-led growth model in the APEC region. This website facilitates use of the APEC Index through the:

Pilot program report

Services Trade in APEC: Summary Findings