A December 9, 2020 webinar for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Group on Services, organized by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), spotlighted the CPA’s international testing centers as an example of “next generation” regulation. NASBA Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Colleen Conrad described the overseas testing for the international audience. She told them that the impetus for using foreign testing locations came from the Boards of Accountancy that were receiving candidates from around the world.

Thomas H. Fine, USTR Director for Services Trade Negotiations, said the webinar was part of the US commitment to fulfill the APEC “Bogor Goals” for “free and open trade investment in the Asia-Pacific.” The 1994 Bogor, Indonesia, meeting of APEC leaders set the deadline for reaching these goals as “no later than the year 2020.” He described the examples discussed during the webinar as “innovative ideas to cultivate market activities without sacrificing proper regulation.”

A description of overseas CPA testing was included in New Generation Practices for Services Authorization in the Asia-Pacific Region, a 29-page report by USAID (US Agency for International Development).

Also cited as case studies of “real innovation and creativity in developing regulatory interventions” were: Malaysia’s online stakeholder consultation; Mexico’s regulatory sandbox for FinTech firms; Chinese Taipei’s online portal to assist with business and company registration, and the US nursing profession.

The paper states: “…growth in the number of foreign-resident licensed professionals in a sector like accountancy, means that more services can be provided cross-border, using information and communications technologies, rather than in person; this modal shift could also have significant public health benefits as the world economy recovers.”

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