EU-ABC Launches New ASEAN Trade Facilitation Paper: Calls for faster action on AEC objectives

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In line with ASEAN’s 2019 theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) today launched their latest publication “Trade Facilitation and its role in growing economies and helping SMEs”. The report focuses on the progress made in ASEAN in facilitating more trade and investment within ASEAN, and how the region needs to move faster on issues such as removal of non-tariff barriers to trade, and simplifying customs procedures, if it is to achieve its aims of lower of the cost of trade transaction and doubling intra-ASEAN trade.

Commenting on the EU-ABC’s recommendations set out in the paper, Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman of the EU-ABC, said:

“The EU-ABC is dedicated to helping ASEAN realise a safer, healthier and more prosperous future. Helping the region grow and develop its economies, and particular making life easier for MSMEs to trade within ASEAN by simplifying customs procedures. That will ensure that a more prosperous and equitable future for the populations of ASEAN and foster greater innovation.

“ASEAN still has a long way to go on trade facilitation. Whilst we appreciate the great progress on removing tariffs for intra-ASEAN trade in goods, it is an undeniable fact that non-tariff measures have grown significantly to the point where there are now more than 6,000 of them across the region. Many of these are trade distorting, and make trade either more expensive or too difficult to undertake, thus increasing costs for consumers, and reducing innovation.”

Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, Chris Humphrey, added: “ASEAN is at risk of failing to fulfil its potential, unless faster and more proactive action is taken on its own economic integration programme. 2019 marks ten years since the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) was signed but yet some elements of that Agreement have still not been implemented. ASEAN is still a long way from being the single market and production base that the AEC envisaged. Unfortunately, this means that intra-ASEAN trade remains low, and extremely unlikely to hit the goal of doubling intra-ASEAN trade by 2025 set when the Philippines was in the Chair of ASEAN in 2017.”

View the full list of press releases here.

Download the paper.