Structural reform Q&A
In APEC, structural reform refers to the set of policy processes designed to address structural or ‘behind-the-border’ barriers in order to improve regional economic integration.
On 16 June, Structural Reform Ministers will meet virtually. This meeting will also set in motion the Economic Committee’s next five year structural reform agenda, with the endorsement of the Enhanced Action Agenda on Structural Reform.
Q: What is structural reform?
A: In APEC, structural reform refers to the set of policy processes designed to address structural or ‘behind-the-border’ barriers in order to improve regional economic integration.
Q: Why is it important and why should businesses care?
A: ‘Behind the border barriers’ are domestic policies, rules and institutions that impede the efficient operation of markets and the capacity of businesses to access markets and operate more productively. Addressing the ‘behind the border barriers’ will enable businesses to operate more efficiently.
Q: When are APEC Structural Reform Ministers meetings?
A: This Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting will take place on 16 June, 2pm-5pm NZT. These meetings take place approximately every five years. As with all APEC 2021 meetings, it will be held virtually.
Q: Who is attending?
A: Ministers from all 21 APEC economies are invited. Other attendees are Secretary General of the OECD, Mathias Cormann, Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, Chair of the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, Hon Grant Robertson (Minister of Finance, New Zealand), and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
Q: Who is chairing the meeting, and who is the New Zealand representative?
A: The meeting will be chaired by Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, New Zealand. The New Zealand representative is Environment Minister and Associate Finance Minister David Parker.
Q: What’s the focus of the meeting?
A: The focus of this meeting is to enable ministers the chance to discuss the region’s structural policy response to COVID-19, under the overarching theme of structural reform and recovery from economic shocks.
The discussion will focus on two key levers: the interplay between macro and micro economic policies for effective recovery; and how a green recovery can support sustainable economic growth. This meeting will also set in motion the Economic Committee’s next five year structural reform agenda, with the endorsement of the Enhanced Action Agenda on Structural Reform.
Q: What does a green recovery mean?
A: The concept of a green recovery is a broad one, and generally speaking, refers to a package of regulatory, social and environmental reforms. Policies that enable a green recovery are considered to be inclusive in the long-term, ecologically sustainable, innovation friendly, and accelerate the alignment of global capital flows towards green alternatives. In the context of economic shocks, this means avoiding knee-jerk reactionary reforms that simply boost the economy in the short term, and instead considering the long-term consequences from a holistic perspective. In the same vein, the concept of sustainable economic growth is broad-ranging.
Q: What is macro and micro economic policy?
A: Macroeconomic policies are those concerned with the operation of economies as a whole, and may include fiscal and monetary policies, as well as changes to the exchange rate. Microeconomic policies are those that concentrated on particular industries and products, and may include subsidies, indirect taxes, competition policy, price controls, environmental policies, and regulation, among others.