Home » Customs & Trade » ASEAN economic ministers dialogue with business leaders on trade facilitation

Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic ministers and U.S. trade officials held a dialogue with Asian and American business representatives at the first-ever ASEAN Trade Facilitation Forum to discuss strategies for hastening trade flows in the region.

Business leaders from Southeast Asia, East Asia and the U.S. attended the one-day ASEAN Trade Facilitation Forum held August 14 at the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, to get an update on ASEAN integration efforts.

The discussions gave the business sector the opportunity to gain information and provide input on the regional pursuit of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and single market by 2015.

During the forum, a snapshot of the ASEAN economic integration progress was provided with the presentation of a study entitled “ASEAN 2030: Growing Together for Shared Prosperity.” The study articulated the overall growth aspiration of ASEAN to achieve a “RICH ASEAN” status by 2030, with “RICH” an acronym for “resilient, inclusive, competitive and harmonious.”

The businessmen for their part identified priority trade facilitation measures that could improve the efficiency of cross-border transactions:

  • Improve regulatory transparency and establish an effective e-border clearance process;
  • Harmonize standards and conformity assessment procedures; and
  • Simplify customs procedures and logistics.

ASEAN member-states are working to realize an AEC and single production base by 2015, aiming to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and capital.

The association represents a market of 8.8 percent of the world’s population, ranks as the ninth largest economy in the world, and is the third largest in Asia in nominal GDP, the ASEAN said in an online statement.

The United States has steadily increased its cooperation with ASEAN. Trade between the United States and ASEAN countries totaled more than US$146 billion in 2009, and U.S. investment stood at over $3.3 billion, accounting for over 8.5 percent of total foreign direct investment in the region.

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