Good Regulatory Practices to Support Small and Medium Enterprises in Southeast Asia
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can find it challenging to cope and comply
with regulations and adapt regulatory changes. Good regulatory practice (GRP) helps
create a stable and enabling regulatory environment for investment, trade, and entrepreneurhsip,
and thus supports healthy economies and regional competitiveness. This report is the
first comprehensive stock-taking of GRP implementation in Southeast Asia to support
local SMEs and their integration into global value chains. For each of the ten countries
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the report provides examples
of GRP tools and approaches in areas such as administrative burden reduction, e-government,
regulatory impact assessment, ex post evaluation, and stakeholder consultation. The
report also includes an overview of collective efforts pursued at the ASEAN level
to promote the GRP agenda across the region.
Southeast Asian governments recognize the importance of good regulatory practices (GRP)
Southeast Asian countries by and large recognize the importance of GRP and are increasingly streamlining its tools and methodologies into regulatory design and delivery. Almost all countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have initiated some kind of administrative burden reduction programme, and all countries practice stakeholder engagement as well as offer at least a few regulatory processes that can be completed online.
There is no one-size-fits-all regulatory policy for supporting SMEs
SMEs are highly heterogeneous. As a result, the kind of support SMEs want from governments may be very different. Some ASEAN governments have introduced regulatory policies targeted at SMEs, while others have opted to level the regulatory playing field for businesses of all sizes. A dedicated SME regulatory policy may not be necessary as long as the general regulatory environment is fair, transparent, clear and effective.
Further efforts will be required for continuous monitoring and evaluation of regulations and regulatory policies
The consistency and quality of GRP implementation in ASEAN countries are seldom monitored or evaluated. Even when GRP is intended to be applied to all government agencies and arm’s-length bodies, this may not be the case in practice. Very few countries conduct ex-post evaluations of regulations.
DiverseASEAN governance structures requires adaptable and forward-looking GRP tools and methodologies
ASEAN countries vary greatly in terms of governance, institutional organisation, and development priorities as well as levels of economic development and integration. Correspondingly, government approaches to setting regulatory policy and using GRP also differ from country to country. As countries in the region aim to to achieve a single market, national regulatory policies will need to be complementary, if not standardised across countries. Further challenges lie ahead for regulatory co-ordination and implementation.