Asia-Pacific Economies Endorse the Growth of Self-Regulation in the Region
Regional approaches to aligning advertising regulatory frameworks are starting to take shape in an effort to reduce costs, improve market access, and improve consumer confidence. On August 20-21, senior officials from the United States, China, Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Peru, Japan, and 14 other developed and developing economies from around the Asia-Pacific region endorsed an "Action Agenda" to promote the development of advertising standards and self-regulation. This provides an opportunity in the coming year for companies to participate in focused efforts to better align regulatory frameworks for advertisers and to promote the growth of advertising self-regulatory organizations (SRO) according to international standards and best practice.
APEC's work on advertising standards began in 2012 with a sponsored workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam attended by representatives from 17 economies. Participants agreed on the importance of self-regulation consistent with international best practices as a tool for building consumer trust and as a complement to the regulatory system.
In 2013, APEC undertook an analysis of the advertising regulatory and self-regulatory structures throughout the region to identify the similarities and differences. APEC's final report noted that 16 of the APEC economies had some form of self-regulatory system, but their "level of adherence" to international best practices varied. These differences impose unnecessary costs on the ability of global companies to access and compete in APEC economies. The report recommended APEC undertake efforts to assist economies to develop and grow SRO capacity, particularly in developing areas such as digital advertising and green claims.
Following recommendations from a 2013 APEC study, business associations worked with governments to develop the action agenda at an APEC sponsored workshop August 7-8 in Beijing, China. Experts spoke about (1) how consistent advertising regulation drives market access and thus economic growth, (2) the role of international standards such as the ICC's Consolidated Code, and (3) the benefits of advertising self-regulation for regulators and consumers. Training was provided for SRO attendees on key issues such as digital advertising, the complaints process, assessing truth and accuracy, and promoting industry awareness.
Throughout 2015, APEC will sponsor events and host trainings to advance the Action Agenda.
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