Chiangrai Times – Asean will strengthen cooperation among member nations as it moves towards the Asean Economic Community in 2015, as well as with other key trading partners in Asia, North America, Russia and the European Union, to ensure growth in the region.
These issues will be discussed by senior officials during an economic meeting of Asean countries in Chiang Rai from July 15-20. This will be the first meeting that will see senior officials from non-Asean states take part.
The outcome of the meeting will be proposed to the Asean Economic Ministers and East Asia Summit next month.
Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Negotiations Department, said the meeting would outline clear-cut plans to reform the rules and laws in each member state so that trade and investment would be effectively liberalised among Asean nations in time for the full integration in 2015.
The Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) has suggested that Asean should focus on regulatory reform as various rules are obstructing the move towards a single market. Asean will also strive for cooperation to create a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) to promote acceptance of each country’s industrial rules and creating a self-certification on rule of origin.
Asean will also hold discus-|sions with six of its main trading partners – China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand – about moving forward with the Asean+6 free-trade agreement (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). It will also hold talks with the United States and the EU, which also have plans to forge closer connections with Asean in the future.
During the Chiang Rai meeting, representatives from the East Asia Business Council, representatives of the furniture industry in Asean, and the Asian Development Bank will also join and discuss how to promote regional growth.
Asean will also discuss with Japan and India further liberalisation of service and investment under current free-trade deals. It will also draw up a plan to review the economic-partnership agreement between Asean and Japan in the next 10 years to follow up on the free-trade implementation. Asean will also study the benefits and impact of the Asean-China FTA, as Hong Kong would like to be a part of the agreement.