Bangkok, Thailand, 22 January 2020.
54 government officials and private sector representatives, i.e., business or trade associations, chambers of commerce, and business councils from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered to discuss, in an informal setting, the important issue of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in ASEAN, following the NTB Study Report from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) and the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC), which was published in June 2019 and presented to the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC) meeting in July 2019. The report was funded by the EU through the E-READI programme.
The roundtable discussion was organized by the EU-ABC and the ASEAN-BAC in cooperation with the ATF-JCC and with support from the EU through the ARISE Plus Project. It was convened based on the ATF-JCCs request in order to allow for greater understanding of the report and its findings, and also to allow ASEAN to provide feedback to the private sector on the current processes and procedures that are in place to deal with NTBs.
The roundtable discussion reviewed the methodology used in examining the extent of NTBs in the Automotive, Agri-Food, and Health sectors in ASEAN, the extent of the problem of NTBs in ASEAN, existing ASEAN commitments to eliminate NTBs and current processes in place to deal with the issue, as well as the recommendations contained in the report. The roundtable discussion also discussed a way forward for ASEAN to better identify NTBs, and implement a more transparent process for their elimination in line with ATIGA obligations.
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Mr. Paul Mandl, Team Leader, ARISE Plus; Mr. Gonzalo Herrera-Dominguez, Economic and Trade Section, European Union Delegation in Thailand; and Ms. Kejpiroon Kohsuwan, Deputy Director-General, Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand