On 11 November, Heads of State of the 21 APEC economies officially declared “We endorse the APEC Action Agenda on Advertising Standards and Practice Development to promote alignment of advertising standards and reduce the cost of doing business across the region”, during an APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Beijing. 

The meeting was follow-up to the APEC Senior Official Meeting (SOM) held in August. The SOM included a forum and mentoring Workshop on Ad Standards, jointly hosted by the Chinese Association of National Advertisers (CANA) and the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). The forum and workshop brought together representatives from 16 APEC Economies, self-regulatory organisations (SROs) from across EASA’s network, and global industry partners, including the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). 

The APEC Action Agenda recognizes the role of advertising and endorses the development of self-regulatory industry codes. It recommends APEC members reflect the following principles in their advertising regulatory regimes: 

  1. Be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
  2. Conform to the principles of fair competition, as generally accepted in business. Advertisers should respect intellectual propertyrights, and the legitimate rights of brand holders and advertising agencies.
  3. Respect the cultural, legal, and economic context of each individual APEC economy.
  4. Give special care in advertising practice directed towards or featuring children or young people. Advertisements targeting, or portraying, children shall not contain anything that will lead to physical and mental harm to them and shall not take advantage of their potential vulnerability or credulity.
  5. Advertising should not undermine healthy and active lifestyles or healthy balanced diets.
  6. Advertising should take particular care to ensure truthfulness and integrity in relation to environmental claims.
  7. Respect and protect personal privacy consistent with the APEC Privacy Framework and Cross Border Privacy Rules.
  8. Comply closely with regional laws and regulations, industry standards and ethics.
  9. Facilitate, rather than impede, trade and investment in the region.

Director General of EASA, Oliver Gray said “The endorsement of the APEC Heads of State marks a milestone in the development of effective ad standards in this key economic region; it also sends a strong signal about the important role effective self-regulation has to play in the regulatory mix.”

Since the organisation of the first APEC Ad Standards Dialogue in 2012, EASA's work on the APEC dialogue has been led by its Australian SRO member ASB.  The APEC actions build on a series of activities and events across the region designed support effective self-regulation by IAAWFA, EASA and ICC.

For further information on EASA's work in the APEC region please contact Jennifer Pearson.