APEC Senior Officials from the telecommunications and information industry today set the agenda for the 3rd APEC Ministerial Meeting (TELMIN3). The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) proceeded smoothly with Officials reaching ...
Singapore, 2 June 1998 | For Immediate Release
APEC Senior Officials from the telecommunications and information industry today set the agenda for the 3rd APEC Ministerial Meeting (TELMIN3). The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) proceeded smoothly with Officials reaching agreement on several significant areas of cooperation.
Electronic Commerce Initiatives
Senior Officials agreed today to push forward a pro-active agenda on electronic-commerce (e-commerce). They defined a constructive APEC TEL reference framework for action, which will:
a) promote e-commerce for use by businesses and by consumers;
b) contribute to the harmonisation of the region's e-commerce policies;
c) promote the development of e-commerce infrastructure, services and applications in ways relevant to the needs of users in the region; and
d) facilitate the electronic delivery of government services.
These initiatives will enhance the capabilities of APEC economies to harness available information technologies to function effectively in the emerging digital economy. Recognising the primacy of the private sector in this field, Officials have recommended an enhanced partnership with the private sector to ensure the success of these efforts.
Officials also expressed commitment to work co-operatively with other APEC fora that have also undertaken e-commerce activity, in particular the APEC Electronic Commerce Task Force1. Both Singapore and Australia are co-chairs of this Task Force.
Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Conformity Assessment
Senior Officials finalised details of the world's first multilateral MRA covering telecommunications equipment. The MRA will reduce technical barriers to trade in telecommunications equipment by allowing equipment to be tested in the exporting economy in accordance with the importing economy's standards.
Telecommunications equipment can then be accepted in the importing economy with minimal further regulatory action, thereby shortening manufacturers' time to market.
Negotiations on the MRA were concluded in a short space of 9 months with the majority of APEC economies today indicating their willingness to commit dates for their participation. Ministers are expected to endorse this landmark agreement when they meet during the Ministerial on Thursday.
Universal Access Principles
Senior Officials also addressed a key impediment to economies' transition into the digital economy, that is, access to basic telecommunications infrastructure. The SOM will seek Ministerial endorsement of a list of Universal Access Principles which will provide guidance on how APEC economies should address this task in a manner consistent with existing legal and regulatory environments of each economy.
Notes to Editor:
1. The APEC Task-Force on E-Commerce was set up in response to the APEC Leaders' call in November last year for a co-ordinated APEC-wide workplan on e-commerce.