Asean focusing on non-tariff barrier removal

Posted on 05 May 2016

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 Trade Repository.”

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 with trade.

“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.

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