Multinational: Programs & Policies


Last updated: June 27, 2013

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an intergovernmental group of 21 member states with the purpose of “facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Goals of APEC include:

  • reducing tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region, creating efficient domestic economies and dramatically increasing exports
  • creating an environment for the safe and efficient movement of goods, services and people across borders in the region through policy alignment and economic and technical cooperation

The 21 APEC members, which account for about 55% of world GDP are: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam. APEC operates on the basis of decisions reached by consensus, non-binding commitments, and has no treaty obligations for participants.

Three APEC programs with possible interest or involvement in regulatory science/policy are the Life Science Innovation Forum; the Chemical Dialogue; and the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology, and Innovation.

Life Sciences Innovation Forum

The Life Sciences Innovation Forum (LSIF) is “APEC’s leading initiative on health and health sciences innovation.” LSIF activities have included “a series of regional seminars for government regulators on the issue of harmonisation of medical device regulation. The APEC Harmonization Center and LSIF Regulatory Harmonization Steering Committee were created to facilitate harmonisation of regional regulatory priorities.

Chemical Dialogue

The Chemical Dialogue (CD) “serves as a forum for regulatory officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry and users of chemicals in the Asia-Pacific region….Issues addressed include chemical sector liberalisation, chemical trade facilitation, and capacity building. The CD also focuses on improving regulatory policies and practices…which ensure that regulatory, safety, and environmental goals can be implemented by both governments and business.”

The CD’s work program is “built around the three shared goals identified by the Strategic Framework for the CD: (1) Expanding and supporting cooperation and mutual recognition among chemical regulators in the Asia-Pacific Region; (2) Enhancing understanding of the chemical industry’s role as an innovative solutions industry; and (3) Encouraging chemical product stewardship, safe use, and sustainability.”

Some relevant activities of the CD include the following:

  • promoting implementation of the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) by APEC member economies
  • providing the G.R.E.A.T. (GHS Reference Exchange and Tool ) website as a clearinghouse to collect and provide GHS labeling elements in local languages
  • contributing to development of international policies and practices in chemicals management, including integrating its work with the international chemicals agenda and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)
  • addressing APEC member and manufacturers’ concerns about potential trade-distorting effects of the European Union’s REACH legislation
  • established a Chemical Dialogue Regulators Forum to: “facilitate risk reduction and the sound management of chemicals across the APEC region and as an APEC contribution to broader SAICM implementation; share information and knowledge on chemicals management more broadly in the region with the increased and direct involvement of regulators; bridge principles and practice – sharing tools and experience with best practices and plan opportunities for collaboration to address common concerns; and discuss the nexus between chemicals management and competitiveness (including for small and medium enterprises), with a view to facilitating trade while protecting human health and the environment”
Policy Partnership on Science, Technology, and Innovation

The Policy Partnership on Science, Technology, and Innovation (PPSTI) “supports the development of science and technology cooperation and effective innovation policy in APEC economies. It serves as APEC’s primary forum to engage government, private sector, and academia in joint scientific research.”

The PPSTI plans to organize Innovation Technology Dialogues “to explore and identify how emerging innovative technologies and related policies and instruments can address current challenges faced by APEC economies and what are the prospects for their application.”

Topics under consideration for the first PPSTI meeting of Chief Science Advisors from APEC countries to be held in early 2013 are:

  • Approaches to fore-sighting of science and technology needs
  • Strategies for enhancing economic growth and food security
  • Common policy approaches to assessing and managing emerging new technologies
  • Major trends in the shifting global science infrastructure
APEC Meeting Documents

Documents from past meetings of the above APEC programs can be obtained on their website.