Project Title

Facilitating Trade in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Products through Encouragement of Electronic Labeling Best Practices  

Project Year

2016   

Project Number

CTI 16 2016A 

Project Session

Session 1   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Completed Project   
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Project No.

CTI 16 2016A 

Project Title

Facilitating Trade in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Products through Encouragement of Electronic Labeling Best Practices  

Project Status

Completed Project 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

APEC Support Fund 

Sub-fund

ASF: General Fund 

Project Year

2016 

Project Session

Session 1 

APEC Funding

74,721 

Co-funding Amount

46,669 

Total Project Value

121,390 

Sponsoring Forum

Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance (SCSC) 

Topics

Conformance; Standards 

Committee

Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

United States 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Canada; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; Peru 

Expected Start Date

01/08/2016 

Expected Completion Date

31/12/2017 

Project Proponent Name 1

Courtney Lang 

Job Title 1

International Trade Specialist, ICT Manufacturing 

Organization 1

US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration 

Postal Address 1

1401 Constitution Ave NW, Room 28010F, Washington, DC 20230, USA 

Telephone 1

1-202 4824431 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

Courtney.Lang@trade.gov 

Project Proponent Name 2

Renee Hancher 

Job Title 2

Lead, Standards Policy and Negotiations 

Organization 2

US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration 

Postal Address 2

1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Room 22023, Washington, DC 20230, USA 

Telephone 2

1-202 4823493 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

Renee.Hancher@trade.gov 

Declaration

Courtney Lang and Reneee Hancher 

Project Summary

As a pilot, this project will cover electronic labeling (e-labeling) best practices specifically for consumer ICT products and involve a workshop on the margins of the 2017 SCSC 2 in Viet Nam. Currently, standards and conformance procedures for ICT products are not uniform across APEC economies. This can pose a barrier to trade, especially because APEC economies represent a significant market for ICT goods and play a large role in manufacturing. In line with APEC’s priorities, the project will help APEC economies move toward achieving consistency in e-labeling; increasing regional economic integration and helping to facilitate trade. This work will be coordinated with ASEAN TEL activities to maximize regional regulatory cooperation on ICT products. In particular, this workshop will provide a forum for ICT regulators to hear from economies already using e-labeling and facilitate collaboration to identify measures that encourage implementation of e-labeling and future opportunities for technical trainings.

Relevance

In a rapidly evolving technology environment, regulators face challenges in determining ICT product conformance using both user-friendly and cost-effective tools, which can contribute to the development of technical barriers to trade. APEC economies, in particular, represent a large market for consumer ICT goods and also play a disproportionate role in manufacturing these goods. In 2012, Asia Pacific exports of ICT products were valued at $1.4 trillion, nearly 60 percent of ICT exports globally. By 2020, the Asia Pacific is expected to account for over half of smartphone sales worldwide. Some economies in the region have implemented e-labeling policies for ICT products with an integrated display screen, which includes products like smartphones, smart watches, laptops, e-readers, and tablets. As products that require approval and regulatory labels get smaller and are marketed internationally, it can be difficult for manufacturers to find space on the device to apply a different physical label for each economy they intend to market the device in. Additionally, by examining how certain economies have used electronic labeling thus far and by fostering a dialogue among APEC economies about best practices, this workshop seeks to assuage some of these challenges and foster a move toward regional acceptance of standards and best practices for e-labeling of consumer ICT products. Such a workshop will be beneficial to all APEC economies because it will help to increase regulatory coherence and cooperation, and therefore allow for greater economic integration and reduce the costs of doing business. 

This project falls under Rank 1 (standards, conformity assessment, technical regulations, regulatory cooperation, and regulatory coherence, including good regulatory practices) in the APEC Funding Criteria for 2016. The project will focus specifically on improving regulatory coherence by addressing a specific standards issue – labeling. As such, the project is directly linked to the broader goal of promoting economic integration. Moreover, the project will support information technology and the digital economy by teaching participants about e-labeling, which can be particularly useful for ICT products where change is a constant.

Objectives

1) To share available guidance on e-labeling, including costs/benefits, regulatory challenges and technical issues.

2) Inform APEC economies about international standardization activities relating to e-labeling and to encourage greater APEC economy engagement in the development of an international standard for e-labeling.

3) To conduct an exchange of views on e-labeling best practices and come to a consensus on such practices.

4) To develop a roadmap outlining measures that APEC economies can take to move toward implementation of e-labeling and identify opportunities for future technical exchanges or trainings.

Alignment

An e-labeling workshop on best practices is a step toward achieving consistency in regulatory approaches to verify conformance of ICT products and would help to increase regional economic integration, one of APEC’s foundational priorities.It will also support the Bogor Goals by reducing barriers to trade and reducing business costs for traded consumer ICT products  Such a workshop also supports APEC’s goal of streamlining regulatory progress, like the Ease of Doing Business Action Plan, by minimizing paperwork at the border and making for easier product inspection. This project is particularly relevant to the 2015 Ministerial Declaration on Regulatory Coherence and Cooperation, in which economic leaders pledge to continue “implement[ing] initiatives on regulatory coherence and cooperation and maximize the role of the internet and information technology to strengthen…good regulatory practices.” This commitment followed from the 2013 Ministerial Declaration on Advanced Regulatory Convergence and Cooperation, in which the ministers urged economies to “continue with information-sharing activities to foster a high-quality regulatory environment.” Further, in 2012, APEC leaders acknowledged the importance of ICT technologies as a crucial driver for further integration. E-labeling offers an opportunity for APEC to become more involved in “promoting confidence and trust in electronic environments,” therefore helping to drive integration. 

One of the SCSC’s main strategic goals is to help mitigate the negative impacts of differing standards and conformance procedures across the Asia-Pacific region in order to support APEC’s broader goal of promoting trade facilitation and investment liberalization. This project aligns with this goal as it focuses on forming a consensus on e-labeling best practices, which can be viewed as a step toward recognizing standards for ICT products and thus, reducing challenges faced by regulators. The project also expands on SCSC work that has focused on alignment of energy efficiency regulations for ICT products, as e-labeling was a notion discussed under that project as a way to communicate, display, and improve transportability of energy efficiency information. 

Finally, a workshop on e-labeling is closely linked to work being done within the APEC TEL Working Group, specifically within the Liberalisation Steering Group. This project supports the APEC TEL Working Group’s stated goals of “promot[ing] cooperation, information sharing and the development of effective ICT policies and regulations within the Asia-Pacific region.”

TILF/ASF Justification

This project will support APEC developing economies in several ways. It will help government regulators in attendance to develop their understanding of e-labeling and how it can be applied in their economies, while they also learn about the benefits of e-labeling for consumer ICT products as an alternative to conventional labeling. This new knowledge will be useful in capacity-building, as it can assist developing economies in developing e-labeling policies consistent with others already in place in the Asia Pacific region. Such consistent policy will improve coherence and cooperation between economies, also improving economic integration, reducing or preventing technical barriers to trade, and leading to greater facilitation of trade. In addition, as developing economies begin to develop their own specific marking requirements, e-labeling will make it easier for manufacturers to meet compliance requirements by updating the information displayed on a product’s screen or other electronically assisted method, instead of physically etching a marking into the product or applying a space- consuming physical label.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs:

1) Workshop: A 2-day workshop will be held on the margins or adjacent to the SCSC2 meeting in Viet Nam. It will be focused on demonstrating current e-labeling practices worldwide and give APEC members the opportunity to learn more about how e-labeling can easily apply to ICT products. Presentations given at the workshop will help to inform the concluding roundtable discussion.

2)  Best practices: A list of best practices in e-labeling will be produced through a roundtable discussion including relevant stakeholders such as industry representatives and regulators of ICT consumer products and will help to guide economies looking to develop or implement e-labeling regulations or policies. This document will be shared with economies and related APEC groups.

3) Roadmap: A roadmap will be created, which may include follow-up APEC workshops or future technical trainings to promote adoption of e-labeling in the Asia Pacific region. Both the roadmap and implementation guidelines could be a useful tool for APEC economies interested in e-labelling as an approach The overseers will work with APEC’s communications office to have this work highlighted through APEC communication channels.

4)  Report: A report will be drafted at the end of the workshop, giving an overview of the proceedings and providing a more in-depth look at the sessions held during the workshop.

Outcomes: This workshop is expected to lead to greater buy-in and participation from APEC economies and ASEAN member states in international standardization activities for information technology products as they continue to become more advanced. We also expect participants to share the e-labeling information gained at this workshop with other governments during bilateral dialogues and to also encourage industry associations to develop guidelines based on the best practices document from the workshop. 

As a result of this workshop, we believe APEC economies will move toward adoption of voluntary e-labeling standards for ICT products with integrated display screens or by other electronic methods as a first step toward implementing e-labeling more broadly. In order to do so, we expect that APEC economies will rely on the best practices document created in the workshop to ensure that such a policy will align with other economies e-labeling policies going forward.

In addition, economies could put forth the roadmap created during the e-labeling workshop to the APEC TEL Working Group for their consideration and buy-in. Follow-up workshops on this topic may also be organized should there be adequate interest and need. 

Beneficiaries: Direct project participants will be ICT regulators from relevant government agencies (communications and telecommunications) from APEC economies – especially those from the APEC TEL Working Group --and ASEAN member states and national standards bodies that will engage in the international standardization effort.. Industry will also be involved and presenting their perspectives on the benefits of e-labeling.  The APEC Specialist Regional Bodies, particularly those focused on conformity assessment and accreditation will also be asked to participate. The relevant specialist regional bodies are the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation, the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation and the Pacific Area Standards Congress. 

Workshop participants will be informed about current guidance on e-labeling, engage with counterparts in an exchange on e-labeling best practices, and work to establish a roadmap for implementation of/acceptance of e-labeling in the Asia Pacific region. Participants will be from APEC and ASEAN economies either interested in encouraging e-labeling as an alternate method to meet labeling requirements or that already use e-labeling for ICT products. Those economies that already use e-labeling in the ICT sector will have input into the creation of the agenda and will also be asked to present on their current e-labeling regime at the workshop as a way to illustrate potential best practices. Economies that currently use e-labeling include Australia; Canada; China; Malaysia; and the United States. Those economies that do not already encourage or have an e-labeling policy in place will benefit from the roadmap that will be created at the end of the workshop, as it will help regulators to implement e-labeling in their home economies. 

More broadly, other economies in the Asia Pacific will benefit from this workshop, since it will help to facilitate trade in ICT products by better aligning economies’ e-labeling practices and providing guidance to reduce the possibility of at the border barriers. As more economies move to adopt e-labeling, it will likely become easier to do business cross-border. Finally, economies will be encouraged to engage in international standards development related to e-labeling and eventually use the standard which should facilitate regional trade. 

ICT manufacturers/ICT industry will also share their experiences and challenges with meeting conformity assessment requirements for consumer ICT products as part of the workshop. Adoption of an e-labeling policy will help to reduce costs associated with physical markings.

Dissemination

The target audience for outputs is regulators in the ICT sector, as well as any industry or standards bodies interested in working on encouraging acceptance of e-labeling as a viable alternative to conventional labeling. We plan to publish the best practices document and general roadmap, so that participants are able to easily access the outputs of the workshop. The roadmap will be published electronically on the APEC website and disseminated to the SCSC and workshop participants. PO will also reach out to APEC Communications office to encourage production of an APEC article on this subject.

We do not intend to sell any outputs from this project.

Gender

Workshop organizers will be mindful of balancing participation by men and women in the project and will actively recruit women as participants or speakers. While project objectives are not specifically focused on women, they will help both males and females by increasing regulatory coherence in the Asia Pacific region, and therefore, benefiting APEC economies as a whole. Additionally, the project overseer is a woman working in the ICT sector and she will be involved in the planning and execution of the workshop.

SCSC projects generally have about 30-50% female participation and we expect the same here Per APEC guidance, economies may nominate a speaker of their choosing. The PO, in the nomination form, can encourage economies to nominate female delegates.

Work Plan

January 2016 – June 2016: Seek co-sponsors, work on project proposal, and engage with industry associations to gain a better understanding of perspective on e-labeling. Conduct outreach to ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality and ASEAN IT and Telecommunications Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM) as well as and the APEC TEL Working Group to encourage their participation in this program. Deliverable output would be funding for the workshop. 

June – November 2016: Develop workshop agenda, determine speakers/experts and participants both within and outside of APEC. Deliverable outputs include topics that will be covered under e-labeling, an agenda, and participant list. 

December 2016 – February 2017: Send invitation to speakers and participants. Deliverable output is confirmed experts and speakers, as well as confirmed attendees outside of APEC travel-eligible economies.

August/September 2017: Implement 2-day workshop on the margins of SCSC 2 in Viet Nam, which will take place in either August or September 2017. This workshop will produce both a best practices document and a roadmap on the implementation of e-labeling for APEC economies and ASEAN member states. We will request feedback from participants to gauge the usefulness of the workshop and identify areas that would be of future interest for a follow-on project on e-labeling.  

October 2017: Draft project report reflecting on the projects successes and areas for improvement. 

December 2017: Publish best practices document and roadmap

December 2017: Use feedback to identify the most useful areas of the workshop, as well as areas that could use further clarification for APEC economies. Based upon this information, determine whether future workshops and funding is needed.

Risks

1) Low attendance is a risk, especially for those participants that are travelling far distances. It is also important that the relevant regulatory agencies attend the workshop, since it will be them that help to implement changes at home. To mitigate these risks, we will hold the workshop on the margins of an APEC meeting that will bring together the most regulators – likely either SCSC 2 or the 2017 APEC TEL Working Group meeting.

2) Additionally, representatives from developing economies may be deterred from seriously considering adoption of an e-labeling policy due to a belief that their economies lack the necessary infrastructure (i.e. access to a mobile network or wireless at ports of entry) to be successful. . This risk will be managed through comprehensive discussion of best practices and examples of how other economies have implemented successful e-labeling policies. In particular, we will consider holding a session on best practices for customs and importing/scanning geared towards the concerns of developing economies.

3) In the long-term, a risk would be a divergent approach to development and adoption of e-labeling policies across the Asia Pacific region (and globally). Harmonization of these policies is vital to prevent any technical barriers to trade from arising. To mitigate this risk, during presentations we will emphasize the importance of developing a consistent policy and working to harmonize across multiple economies.

Monitoring and Evaluation

To evaluate the success of the workshop, we will gather information on the number of government regulators and industry representatives that attend. We expect at least one, if not two, government regulators from each APEC economy to attend and approximately 10 industry representatives to participate. Of those in attendance, we expect that approximately 15 to 20 will represent developing economies. Additionally, we will gather stakeholder feedback through a survey distributed at the end of the workshop. The drafting of an agreement on a best practices document and roadmap will also indicate success. 

In the longer term, an increase in APEC economies with an option to use e-labeling instead of conventional labeling to meet regulatory requirements for ICT products would indicate that the workshop was particularly impactful. Achieving greater harmonization in existing e-labeling approaches would also be beneficial.  Presently, there are five APEC economies that allow for e-labeling (though the exact allowances differ in certain ways); this will be used as a baseline. An increase in this number indicates success. Resources permitting, and assuming there is strong interest generated and uptake of the workshop guidance and best practices, it may be possible to check for changes in policy and practice a year or so out from the workshop.

Linkages

E-labeling was raised at the ASEAN IT and Telecommunications Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM) in November 2015, so the United States will strive to bring ASEAN ICT regulators into this exchange, as this could be a step toward regulatory cooperation and good regulatory practice among the broader Asia-Pacific economies. While the focus is primarily on conformity assessment, this work does link to initiatives in other APEC and ASEAN bodies. We will also engage the TEL WG both prior to and following the workshop. We will coordinate with TEL WG on the agenda and with recruitment of participants, and will also encourage members of TEL WG to attend the e-labeling workshop. 

A workshop on e-labeling for ICT goods builds on previous SCSC work carried out on energy efficiency regulations for ICT products during the ICT workshop Aligning Energy Efficiency for ICT Products – Implementing a Strategic Approach. Notably, participants discussed how e-labeling could assist in communicating and displaying energy efficiency information for ICT products. This workshop will explore the concept of e-labeling in more depth, which can further assist in implementing the outcomes associated with previous energy efficiency work. 

APEC is the best source of funds for this project because several APEC economies – the United States, Canada, China, Malaysia, Japan, and Australia -- are leading the way in e-labeling adoption. Presentations from regulators and industry from these economiess would facilitate a useful information exchange on best practices and allow other APEC economiess to move toward a similar policy which will be trade facilitative. Additionally, because the Asia-Pacific region makes up a significant portion of the ICT market, e-labeling for ICT products is particularly relevant and compliments APEC’s work on good regulatory practices and trade facilitation. 

This work will also involve international standardization organizations engaged in ICT standards development activities.

Sustainability

This project will continue to have an impact after APEC funding is completed. For example, a solid network will be created among regulators, which can act as the foundation for future cooperation on e-labeling and also make harmonization of policies easier. Additionally, regulators will bring the information learned back to their home economies and share with other government officials or relevant agencies and industry.  The roadmap can also provide guidance to member economies in furthering work on e-labeling in their respective economies. 

After project completion, possible next steps might include further work on a specific aspect of e-labeling or technical trainings. As this is a pilot focused specifically on e-labeling for consumer ICT products, should participants demonstrate a desire and need for future workshops, this project could be expanded upon. Next steps may also include the use of the best practices document and the roadmap for economies to move toward implementation of an e-labeling policy. The development of a roadmap will increase the sustainability of this project. We will continue engagement and communication with economies that participated in the workshop to track progress on adoption of e-labeling. This work could also be highlighted at a future SCSC Conference on Good Regulatory Practices.

Project Overseers

Courtney Lang, International Trade Specialist, United States Department of Commerce – Courtney Lang is a trade policy analyst in the Office of Health and Information Technologies. In this role, she works to understand perspectives and priorities of the U.S. ICT sector and addresses trade policy issues related to telecommunications equipment, mobile communications devices, and other hardware. She also handles the APEC portfolio. Ms. Lang received her MA from Georgetown University and her BA from Duke University. 

Renee Hancher, Office of Standards and Investment Policy – Renee Hancher is the lead for standards policy and negotiations at the United States Department of Commerce.  She has experience organizing past SCSC workshops for the United States, including CTI 01 2010T Capacity Building in Food Safety: Developing Food Safety Plans for the Supply Chain (November 2010) and CTI 33 2010T Green Buildings and Green Growth: Approaches to Encouraging a Positive Green Building Climate (September 2011).  Ms. Hancher also served as Project Overseer for two APEC multi-year projects: M CTI 02 12A and M CTI 03 12A. 

Kyle Johnson, International Trade Specialist, United States Department of Commerce – Kyle Johnson is a trade policy analyst covering the information and communications technology (ICT) sector for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. In this role, he advises on a wide range of ICT market access, standards, and trade promotion issues, particularly for ICT hardware, smart cities, and the “Internet of Things”. Kyle has previously worked in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of State, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. He received his BA from the University of North Dakota and his MA from Johns Hopkins University.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

Not Applicable.

Waivers

Not Applicable.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
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Project No.

Project Title

Project Status

Publication (if any)

Fund Account

Sub-fund

Project Year

Project Session

APEC Funding

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

Sponsoring Forum

Topics

Committee

Other Fora Involved

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

Proposing Economy(ies)

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Expected Start Date

Expected Completion Date

Project Proponent Name 1

Job Title 1

Organization 1

Postal Address 1

Telephone 1

Fax 1

Email 1

Project Proponent Name 2

Job Title 2

Organization 2

Postal Address 2

Telephone 2

Fax 2

Email 2

Declaration

Project Summary

Relevance

Objectives

Alignment

TILF/ASF Justification

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Dissemination

Gender

Work Plan

Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

Linkages

Sustainability

Project Overseers

Cost Efficiency

Drawdown Timetable

Direct Labour

Waivers

Are there any supporting document attached?

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Reprogramming Notes

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Monitoring Report Received

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