Regulatory policy

9th Workshop of the APEC-OECD Co-operative Initiative on Regulatory Reform, Hoi An, Vietnam, 12 September 2006


Three APEC economies applied the Integrated Checklist in 2006: Hong Kong, China; the United States; and Chinese Taipei. The Council for Economic Planning and Development in Chinese Taipei, the Financial Secretary’s Office of Hong Kong, China, and the Office of Management and Budget of the United States were responsible for preparing their respective reports. The results of the self-assessments were presented in written reports and discussed at this policy roundtable. Fifteen economies, including all OECD members of APEC, attended the policy roundtable.


The OECD delegation participating in the policy roundtable delivered comments and advice on the self-assessment reports, introduced the roundtable by reviewing the development of the Integrated Checklist and highlighted that the concept of regulatory reform, a marginal topic even in OECD a decade ago, is now accepted as a goal, even though the process of implementation is not easy or straightforward. Over time, the concept itself has evolved: it no longer is focused primarily on deregulation and privatisation, but instead embraces quality regulation, affirming that regulation has an indispensable role to play in supporting access to and exit from markets, Foreign Direct Investment and trade.


The core underlying message in all three reports is of the importance of regulatory reform for a more competitive, resilient economy, open to innovation and trade. Success begins with strong political backing at a high level and clear assignment of responsibility, consistent with the first question of the Checklist itself. Challenges shared among economies with very different institutional settings include: cross-sectoral co-ordination for a whole-of-government approach; appropriate and effective use of regulatory impact analysis in decision making about when to regulate and how; ex post evaluation of the quality of the regulatory process and of the economic impact of regulators; better incentives to lift the commitment of public servants; and better strategies to deal with vested interests.


The Integrated Checklist has passed its first test, demonstrating that self-assessments support a comprehensive, wide-ranging exchange of experiences among economies on the basis of a common set of questions and criteria. The Checklist is useful for all economies, whatever their level of development or history with the regulatory quality agenda. The policy roundtable confirmed the value of the Checklist not only for the economies applying it to themselves, but to others as well. The reports are a compendium of information not otherwise easily available, presented in a logical framework designed to identify the main elements of regulatory policy in a cross-sectoral perspective. This is a “snapshot” in time because regulatory reform is a dynamic undertaking.