In order to implement the mandate of APEC Leaders and Trade Ministers, the Committee on Trade and Investment approved a project which will provide hands-on technical assistance to a suite of pilot projects using Global Data Standards in APEC supply chains. Following an open tender GS1 Hong Kong was awarded the official APEC contract which will cover implementation of pilots that will be measuring the efficiency gains by using GS1 standards and EPCIS data sharing platforms in international supply chains and cross-border government procedures.
The outcome of the pilot projects will assist APEC member economies to consider whether and how Global Data Standards can improve their supply chain performance in terms of reduction of time, cost and uncertainty as well as improvement in risk management. They will also assist APEC member economies to implement their commitments under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) e.g. by providing advance and detailed information which can help government agencies focus risk assessments on high risk consignments and expedite the release of low risk consignments. Pilot shipments are scheduled to be completed by August-September 2016.
Optimizing and further enhancing the logistical elements of the global supply chains that enterprises need to engage in production and distribution on a global footing, including supply and production logistics, international transportation, and sales distribution, is growing in importance.
APEC member economies are working toward achieving the Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific. Enhancing supply chains to reduce the time, cost, and uncertainty involved in movement of goods and services in the Asia-Pacific is tremendously important to advancing liberalization of trade and investment and furthering economic growth in the region. This importance is reflected in developments such as the Supply Chain Connectivity Initiative and the Supply Chain Chokepoints. The issue has remained high on the agenda since 2009.
Given their importance, active steps need to be taken to develop and enhance reliable supply chains by, among other things, capacity building to develop single windows, Authorized Economic Operators and lowering barriers to small and medium enterprises(SMEs) joining global value chains.
In any international transaction of goods, a range of information needs to be exchanged between various parties as the goods move along the supply chains. This was recognized by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), which recommended that APEC should explore the potential of leveraging Global Data Standards in APEC supply chains, for efficiency, security and visibility purposes. Global Data Standards is used to ensure that relevant information is provided in a common format which is easily understood and sharable by all parties. APEC Leaders and Trade Ministers have recognized the contribution that Global Data Standards can make to enhancing supply chains in the APEC region.
In 2013, APEC Ministers “recognized the contribution that global data standards can make to enhancing supply chain efficiency, and encouraged officials to explore what more can be done to facilitate mutual compatibility amongst data standards frameworks, and the compatibility of economies’ frameworks with the use of GDS”. In 2014, they instructed officials “to further advance work on global data standards by developing pilot projects with the participation of the private sector”. And, in their 2014 Declaration, Leaders encouraged APEC member economies to work with the private sector to promote further cooperation on GDS and their wider use by developing pilot projects.