The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) has agreed to drive the acceleration of advertising self-regulatory standards in Asia-Pacific during a meeting held earlier last month.

This decision will step up on-going efforts by APEC to create a set of advertising principles for economies within the region to use as references in their respective developments of advertising self-regulatory standards to minimise potential barriers to trade.

At the meeting, which was held as part of the CTI’s discussion on its work priorities for 2013, it was also decided that further review and work needs to be done on the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau’s (ASB) report on the outcomes and recommendations of the Hanoi Dialogue on Advertising Standards – Principles and Practice held last November.

Among the recommendations highlighted in the report is a call for the convergence of advertising standards and self-regulation in the region. The report also proposed that CTI facilitates information sharing and capacity-building activities to promote concepts of regulatory convergence and advertising self-regulation in the region.

Will Gilroy, Communications Director of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), who gave the keynote presentation on the economic, socio-economic and cultural advantages of advertising standards at the Hanoi Dialogue in November, says that it is encouraging to see the CTI taking steps to build on the outcomes of the Hanoi dialogue.

“Advertising is a key driver of economic growth, contributing an estimated 15 per cent to GDP growth. With the support of CTI in aligning the frameworks for advertising standards in the region, APEC economies can benefit from a media environment which is conducive to economic growth.

“Advertising standards enable the industry to operate effectively by simplifying trade processes and minimising potential inefficiencies caused by government intervention.

“Industry-led advertising standards also create a fast and flexible complaint resolution framework to ensure that consumers’ needs are met. As such, the standards help build consumer trust in advertising,” he said.

Mr Gilroy added that there are already internationally accepted self-regulatory advertising standards which can be applied for broader use within APEC.

“Globally, there are existing best practice benchmarks for advertising standards both in terms of the code and the infrastructure of self-regulatory organisation (SRO), such as the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) Best Practice Self-Regulatory Model.

“Here in Asia, local industry groups in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have taken steps to build on the self-regulatory frameworks and codes of practice in their countries by making additional, industry-led Pledges that determine which products can be advertised to children.

“We encourage all parties to look at best practices when applying and adopting new standards within national contexts,” he said.