The next generation of FTAs – what does business want?

While in Qingdao , China, for the APEC Senior Officials’ meeting Stephen spoke to a workshop focused on sharing information between free trade agreements in operation in the Asia Pacific region.  He outlined what business wants to see from FTAs and what the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) wants governments to do at this point to develop the next generation of agreements:

“Next generation issues can be new approaches to old issues as much as new issues not previously thought of. Next generation issues are rather more likely to be found behind the border than at the border. And so more than ever before we need to devise robust processes to address non-tariff barriers and other “behind the border” issues. We need to develop greater coherence in rule making around the region and co-ordinate – to the greatest extent possible our approach to issues like investment, innovation and competition.We need to develop a stronger focus on services trade issues recognizing the by growing share of services trade in global commerce.We need to continue to work on the digital economy and try to incorporate new disciplines relevant to the way business is being done today, including permanent duty free access for digital products.”

Read Stephen’s full address here.