The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has recommended APEC support the alignment of regulatory frameworks around advertising, following the Advertising Standards Dialogue held in Hanoi last month. In its recent report to the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment outlining recommendations following the event, ASB highlights the need for APEC economies to acknowledge the role advertising plays in economic development and how self-regulation can build consumer trust in market.

Following the Dialogue - the second held under APEC’s Regulatory Cooperation Advancement Mechanism on Trade-Related Standards and Technical Regulations (ARCAM) - ASB champions the convergence of advertising standards and regulation based on international best practice. It also calls for APEC economies to acknowledge the role that industry-led standards and complaints resolution frameworks have in complementing and enhancing existing regulation.

However ASB recognises that self-regulation is in its early stages in APEC and there is much more focus and investment required in capacity building, information sharing and research to understand the current advertising standards and regulation practice within APEC economies.

It recommends tasking the APEC Policy Support to ‘take stock’ on the currently advertising standards and regulation practice to understand the current state of regulation across all economies. This will then form the basis for further capacity building within the APEC region to “promote effective self-regulation of advertising and help economies develop appropriate systems”.

ASB urges the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) to consider leading the capacity build programmes and facilitate information exchange across the APEC network. Specifically, the Bureau sees an opportunity to set up a Regulatory Mentorship Programme which would provide guidance for advertising regulators and existing Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs) in APEC on legislation, regulation and codes. This would be further supported by a Self-Regulatory Organisation Workshop which would provide technical perspective on regulation and standards.

Will Gilroy, Communications Director of the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) supports the recommendations of the ASB and the overall outcomes of the Dialogue.

“Industry-led advertising standards benefit consumers, society and, by reducing barriers to trade and creating greater transparency in the advertising process, the economy. This is a big opportunity to build awareness and understanding of industry best practice across the region,” he said.

A copy of the most pertinent presentations from the Advertising Standards Dialogue can be downloaded here: