Trade Secretary pushes for trade facilitation at the 54th AEM Meeting

SIEM REAP, Cambodia—The 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting was held on 13-15 September 2022 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The meeting was attended by ASEAN economic ministers and senior officials, including DTI Secretary Fred Pascual.

Secretary Pascual called for ASEAN Member States (AMS) to strive for a smoother implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) commitments, particularly in the issuance and acceptance of Certificates of Origin (CO).

“Outright rejection of ATIGA tariff preferences due to failure of ticking a relevant box in the CO does not support ASEAN’s trade facilitation goals and discourages companies from using our FTAs,” the Trade Chief said.

The 54th AEM Meeting was convened to discuss critical issues within the ASEAN region such as strengthened economic integration and relations with dialogue Partners to facilitate post-pandemic growth and recovery.

Secretary Pascual also expressed support for a number of initiatives that seek to facilitate greater economic integration in the region, including the launch of the ATIGA Upgrade Negotiations, the Negotiations for an ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition, the extension of the MOU on Essential Goods, and the status of Cambodia’s Priority Economic Deliverables for the year as part of their ASEAN Chairmanship this year.

“Out of the 19 Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs) that were put together, we are pleased to see that significant progress has been made and we look forward to ASEAN’s continued cooperation and acceleration of efforts for the timely completion of the remaining PEDs,” Secretary Pascual said.

Externally, the Philippines welcomed the progress made in the negotiations for the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) and the ASEAN-Canada FTA (ACAFTA), as well as the implementation of economic cooperation work plans with ASEAN’s dialogue partners.

The 54th AEM Meeting and Related Meetings ends on Sept 18, 2022 where dialogue partners namely Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United Kingdom will be meeting with ASEAN Economic Ministers to discuss economic cooperation and flows of goods, services, and investments.

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