- The EU-ASEAN Business Council & ASEAN
Business Advisory Council today launched a report on Non-Tariff Barriers in
ASEAN that they jointly commissioned.
- The report identifies the existence of a
large number of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the region in the Automotive,
Agri-Food and Healthcare sectors.
- It also sets out a number of recommendations
for ASEAN to follow if the region is to accelerate the process of NTB removal
as set out in the AEC Blueprints.
- Both Organisations encourage faster movement on
achieving ASEAN's objectives linked to the ASEAN Economic Community, particularly
on the removal of trade distorting Non-Tariff Barriers.
business groups continue to have concerns over the slow progress in achieving
the objectives of the AEC, particularly on NTB removal, and the continued
impact this has on holding back intra-ASEAN trade and achieving the full
benefits of economic integration.
SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 24
June 2019 - In line with ASEAN's 2019 theme of "Advancing Partnership for
Sustainability", the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and ASEAN Business
Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) today launched a joint report " Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in ASEAN and their
elimination from a business perspective" which examines the prevalence of NTBs to trade in
three key industrial sectors in ASEAN -- Automotive, Agri-Food, and
Healthcare. The aim of the report is to
highlight the need for faster action in removing NTBs in the region to help
ASEAN achieve its objectives as set out in the two ASEAN Economic Community
Blueprints, and the subsequent targets of reducing the cost of trade transaction
by 10% by 2020 and doubling intra-ASEAN trade by 2025 as agreed by the ASEAN
Leaders in 2017.
EU-ASEAN Business Dialogue roundtable
discussion and launch of the report on "Non-tariff barriers in ASEAN and their
elimination" on 22 June 2019 in Bangkok.
The report sets out a number of
recommendations to ASEAN, aimed at helping the region accelerate the removal of
The Counsellor of the EU Delegation in Thailand,
Mrs Isabelle De Stobbeleir, opened the event by stating that: "The
European Union is a strong supporter of the ASEAN economic integration and the
facilitation of regional trade. Through the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue
Instrument (E-READI), the EU strives to facilitate EU-ASEAN policy dialogues
across all three ASEAN pillars. Thanks to the active engagement of the ASEAN
Business Advisory Council and the EU-ASEAN Business Council, business
communities from the EU and ASEAN are involved in a constructive exchange. Together,
we join forces to promote the economic integration of ASEAN, strengthen
business cooperation and bring forth the perspectives of the private sector."
Commenting on the report, Mr Donald Kanak,
Chairman of the EU-ABC, said: "ASEAN has made excellent progress on removing
tariffs for intra-ASEAN trade, but Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) have increased
markedly despite the commitments made under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
to reduce them. This report by the Asian Trade Centre highlights the extent of
the problem in three sectors within ASEAN.
Reducing NTMs and removing NTBs will foster intra-ASEAN trade, increase
innovation, and lead to lower costs for businesses and for consumers. It should
also create intra-ASEAN trading opportunities for MSMEs."
the launch event in Bangkok, Chairman of ASEAN BAC, Mr Arin Jira, said: "As we
cross over the 10th year anniversary of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA),
we are very pleased to launch this joint research undertaking by ASEAN BAC and
EU-ABC which only affirms the private business sector's commitment to help
address NTBs. While it's only the start of a long tedious process, we're
hopeful that with ASEAN's support and cooperation, we now have a clear starting
point in prioritising which NTBs to address based on the results of the
research as initiated on three sectors: Agri-food, Healthcare and Automotive.
We are now moving from talk mode to action mode."
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 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. Taking faster and clearer action on the
removal of NTBs is vital to both hitting those targets, and to enhancing
business confidence in the AEC process."
The report concludes that
"absent a much clearer, more
sustained and tighter focus on reducing the number and scope of existing NTMs
and eliminating NTBs, ASEAN will not accomplish the objectives of the AEC and
it will fail to meet the targets contained in the AEC Blueprint 2025. Growth
will not be as high as ASEAN Member States could have achieved and much of the
promise embedded in the ASEAN exercise will have been lost."
The report was prepared by the Asian Trade Centre,
commissioned by the EU-ASEAN Business Council and by the ASEAN Business Advisory
Council, and funded by the EU's Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument
( E-READI ).