The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) has been congratulated for work that has led to the adoption by APEC Ministers of an important set of principles on non-tariff measures.

NZ International Business Forum Executive Director Stephen Jacobi has singled out ABAC member Katherine Rich, FGC’s Chief Executive, and the forum’s Associate Director Stephanie Honey who led the work.

The measures were adopted at the APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea in November.

Mr Jacobi said red tape, unscientific requirements, arbitrary technical regulations and other so-called ‘non-tariff barriers’ (NTBs) add costs and make trade more difficult.

“APEC Ministers, including our own Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, have endorsed a bold set of principles aimed at ensuring that these measures do not erode the benefits of trade for business and consumers in the region. This is a signal achievement.”

He said the work led by Katherine Rich and Stephanie Honey had led the development in ABAC of an ambitious set of WTO-consistent cross-cutting principles on non-tariff measures and NTBs. Those principles had inspired New Zealand officials to push for the APEC approach.

“The NZ ABAC team has worked tirelessly over several years to develop the ABAC Principles.”

Katherine Rich said that at a time when global trade is facing significant headwinds, it has never been more important to affirm our commitment to open markets and to freeing up trade and investment. NTBs are part of that effort.”

She said that unless APEC continued to press ahead with deepening regional economic integration, economies would struggle to achieve their long-held vision of sustainable and inclusive growth and prosperity for the Asia-Pacific.

Besides Katherine Rich, the New Zealand ABAC members are Phil O’Reilly, of Iron Duke Partners, and Tenby Powell, of Hunter Powell Investments. Stephanie Honey is the ABAC NZ policy advisor. Stephen Jacobi serves as Alternate Member.

For more information on the cross cutting principles, go to the NZ International Business Forum website.