APEC Helps Business Take Advantage of FTAs

Sapporo, 6 June 2010 – APEC has today launched a new gateway to tariff and rules of origin information to help alleviate the ‘noodle bowl’ effect created by free trade agreements.

APEC’s 21 members account for around 44 percent of world trade, and have concluded over 40 intra-APEC free trade agreements (FTAs); however businesses often don’t take full advantage of these special trading arrangements because information on preferential tariffs and rules of origin (ROO) can be difficult to find.

“Business has told us that a lack of customs transparency is a major impediment to trade. APEC’s new web-based gateway helps lift this barrier by providing businesses with the information they need to better leverage the trade opportunities that exist in the region”, says Dr. Akihiko Tamura, Convenor of APEC’s Market Access Group.

The information now available includes current MFN tariff rates, preferential tariff rates and preferential ROOs in APEC member economies’ FTAs and regional trade agreements.

Says Dr. Tamura, “This initiative is an example of how information sharing in APEC and being responsive to the practical needs of business can help grow trade and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific”.

Since APEC was established, member economies’ total trade has increased six-fold, from US$3 trillion in 1989 to US$17 trillion in 2008.