Source: The Sun Daily
Agriculture, healthcare, logistics and retail are sectors that will
be given special attention this year in terms of the removal of
non-tariff barriers in Asean.
Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia chairman Tan Sri
Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid said the private sector is recognised as a
collaborator in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) integration.
“We’re working hard to make sure the private sector participates in
working groups to address those problems in those prioritised four
sectors,” he told reporters at a media luncheon here.
Munir said the four sectors are chosen because they are
people-centred and that Asean-BAC is mobilising expert resources to
participate in working groups.
“What’s been happening is all these dialogues take place only with
leaders, ministers and senior economic officials. It’s not enough
progress. Therefore you must go bottom-up so that the working groups can
discuss these things and push up to the leaders, ministers and senior
officials the things that we want to see achieved,” he explained.
Munir observed companies in Asean taking advantage of AEC and urged
Malaysian firms to get their fair portion of what is beneficial in the
larger Asean market.
“We’d like to see Malaysian companies that have problems in Asean not
to be negative about it but find ways and means to solve problems.
There are developments taking place to solve these problems, such as
Assist (Asean Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade) and Asean
He said every country in Asean has a national trade repository,
except Myanmar and Brunei, which is aimed at providing transparency on
trade and customs, laws and procedures of member Asean states.
On the Assist system, he said it expects to get approval from the
Asean Economic Ministers by June to come up with a website, starting
“A company having a problem with exports or investments in another
Asean country can complain through the system, which goes through the
Asean Secretariat, which will then pass the complaint to the country
themselves. If the problem is unresolved after 60 days, it will be
advertised on the portal,” he said.
This is in line with Asean’s target to adopt a zero tariff policy by 2018, including for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.