16 June 2015
Media Release - #2015053, 2015

Australia to lead APEC data flows project to increase small business trade

Joint media release with
Standard Australia

  • Launch of Australia-led APEC project to enhance international trade and business opportunities for small business and family enterprise.
  • Project will seek to harmonise data and information flow standards to facilitate the movement of data across APEC economies.
  • APEC SMEs and relevant stakeholders can participate in a survey that will inform the project.

To support trade for SMEs in the region, Standards Australia and the Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson on behalf of the Australian Government have launched a project to deliver recommendations on harmonising standards for the movement of data and information across APEC economies.

Global supply chains include all of the people across a number of countries involved in the production of a good or service. They can contain a number of businesses which each contribute a step or steps in the production process.

Currently, regulatory inconsistencies amongst APEC economies and other non-regulatory barriers present obstacles to the flow of data and information across APEC economies.

In some cases this restricts small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from getting involved in global supply chains and exchanging ideas, which means our hardworking entrepreneurial men and women from across many sectors of the economy are missing out on potential new customers and corporate knowledge.

The use of Internet-based platforms and data flow technologies allows SMEs to participate in regional markets without having to establish physical operations in different economies.

Moving data efficiently and securely across the region has become an essential feature of modern day business practices for SMEs.

Dr Bronwyn Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Standards Australia, said that facilitation of cross-border data flows will become even more important as trade in digital goods and services increases.

“Data flows across APEC are vital to the growth and competitiveness of APEC member economies,” said Dr Evans. “We believe that the right standards infrastructure can support good regulatory practices and the growth of SME trade in the region.”

As part of the project, National Standards Bodies, businesses, governments and regulators will exchange views on the role of data management and interchange standards in facilitating SME trade.

The project will identify standards development, technical convergence and regulatory coherence initiatives that can further support data flows and increase the participation rate of SMEs in APEC cross-border trade.

“Regulatory cooperation in APEC is needed to avoid the rise of new technical barriers to the free flow of data”, said Dr Evans.

The Hon Bruce Billson MP, Minister for Small Business said, “This project is part of the Government’s commitment to getting road blocks out of the way so small businesses have more opportunities to grow.

“It is aligned to our objectives of having Australian enterprises able to take full advantage of regional and global value chains. It will allow them to exchange ideas, adopt best practices from across the region, and open up new trade opportunities.”

The project will kick off with a survey of stakeholders across APEC economies to identify key issues and opportunities. The survey will be open from 16 June to 3 July 2015.

The survey will inform an issues paper and APEC workshop around the key challenges and opportunities to use relevant international standards that will support global trade.

The project is funded through the APEC Economic Diplomacy Fund, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

About Standards Australia

Founded in 1922, Standards Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, recognised by the Commonwealth Government as the peak non-government Standards development body in Australia. It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia's need for contemporary, internationally-aligned Standards and related services. The work of Standards Australia enhances the nation's economic efficiency, international competitiveness and contributes to community demand for a safe and sustainable environment. Visit the Standard Australia website