Asean talks boost trade cooperation, facilitation
VIENTIANE — Asean will further reduce barriers and deepen economic linkages among member states, while lowering business costs and creating a larger market and economies of scale for regional businesses.
That was the message as delegations in charge of trade from countries in the region gathered at the 27th Coordinating Committee on Implementation of the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement and related meetings in Vientiane last week to discuss trade cooperation and import-export policy improvement.
The aim of the gathering was to build a market larger than the individual member countries and reduce trade barriers.
The main consultation and discussion focused on Asean Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) improvement, AHTN 2012 issues, AHTN 2017 issues, most-favored-nation treatment and sweetcorn export barriers between Laos and Thailand, and Myanmar to Thailand along with tariff rate quota elimination.
Participants also stressed the implementation of Asean sales certification, E-form D implementation through the Asean Single Window, Asean Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) program, Laos’ export promotion to other CLMV nations, Asean Trade Repository/National Trade Repository and Non-Tariff Measures.
Asean member countries need to work together to align their various procedures to enable easier trading within the 10-member bloc, according to Lao officials.
Asean has made agreements on trade, but trade facilitation involves many aspects that need to be worked out.
Asean needs to decide on uniform standards that are acceptable to all countries, to enable a freer flow of goods and capital in the region.
The region needs to improve the business environment so that it is more conducive to competition. To do so, each Asean member country needs to improve their legislation and Laos is speeding up the amendment of trade and investment regulations.
To facilitate trade and investment in the region, Asean economic ministers have launched the Asean Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade.
The initiative is a business-friendly internet-based facility that receives and responds to complaints submitted by Asean-based businesses.
The ministers also launched the Asean Tariff Finder, which is a new practical tool for businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises.
This takes the form of a no-cost online search engine to obtain up-to-date facts on tariff-related information applied by Asean member states and their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners under the various Asean+1 FTAs.
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