The Advertising Standards Bureau Australia (ASBA), together with international partners, is pursuing the development of regional advertising standards following an endorsement from APEC at the Ministerial Meeting in October in Bali, Indonesia.

APEC leaders issued a statement following the meeting stating they “look forward to the progression of advertising standards in the region” and that APEC encourages “interested economies to explore the possibility of using additional tools to strengthen their implementation of good regulatory practices”.

The announcement serves as an endorsement to ongoing efforts aimed at creating a set of consistent advertising standards and regulatory frameworks in the region to minimise potential barriers to trade and protect consumers. It will also enable the recommendations outlined during the November 2012 Hanoi Dialogue on Advertising Standards – Principles and Practice to be implemented.

Recommendations made during the 2012 Hanoi Dialogue include the convergence of standards and self-regulation, and the need to build capacity in promoting concepts of best practice advertising self-regulation.

In a joint ministerial statement following the Ministerial Meeting, the APEC leaders also highlighted the need for capacity-building to help economies strengthen their implementation of good regulatory practices.

Over the past year, ASBA has taken a leading role in driving capacity-building programmes on advertising standards and systems throughout the APEC region. In collaboration with APEC, it is now working to formulate two key areas of work – a Regulatory Mentorship Program and a Self-Regulatory Organisation Workshop – which seek to provide guidance for advertising regulators in the development of advertising standards and systems.

In its statement after the APEC leaders’ announcement, ASBA noted: “APEC will soon finalise a project on identifying gaps in the advertising system and standards in the region. From there APEC members will take action to use the resources of existing systems, such as those in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada and others, to provide capacity building training and development to bring the systems and standards in all APEC economies to a level that will best benefit all communities.”

FIA Policy Director, Melanie Vilarasau Slade, said that it is encouraging to see APEC leaders supporting the need for greater alignment in advertising standards across the region. She also commended ASBA’s leading role in accelerating the introduction of regional advertising standards.

“There are currently different levels of advertising standards and systems across APEC economies, as well as different models of self-regulation approaches. A consistent set of advertising standards will enable the industry to operate effectively by removing any unnecessary barriers to trade and reducing business costs.

“Consumers will stand to benefit from advertising standards and a best practice regulatory system. These standards will help create a complaint resolution framework that can enable consumers to make complaints on advertising and have them resolved independently, building consumer trust in advertising.

“We look forward to seeing how this collaboration and capacity building contributes to the overall standards of the region,” she said.

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