KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Malaysia will continue to assume an active role in driving regional economic integration under the second phase of the Asean Economic Community Blueprint, especially in championing the efforts to resolve the long-standing issues of Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs), Non-tariff Measures (NTMs) as well as standards and conformance.
Towards this end, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has called on Asean member states to reduce the NTBs among themselves first, as a precursor to bigger and more coordinated efforts in resolving them at a regional level.
According to a study conducted by the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, the number of NTMs had increased to 5,975 in 2015 from 1,634 in 2000.
Mustapa said as countries develop, more stringent measures aimed at ensuring compliance of products to stringent health, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, were expected to increase.
“It is important that these new measures are made transparent and are not imposed with the intention to protect inefficient domestic industries,” he said in a statement today.
Mustafa added that the Asean Solutions for Investment, Services and Trade (ASSIST), which is an online platform for the private sector to lodge complaints on cross border issues, has not been fully utilised by the business community.
ASSIST was launched when Malaysia was the Chairman of Asean in 2015 as the country believed that ASSIST would be an effective instrument in addressing NTB issues.
“In this regard, there is a need to get private sector feedback as to why only one complaint has been lodged by the private sector,” he said.
Mustapa led the Malaysian delegation to the four-day 49th Asean Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Pasay City, Manila, the Philippines, which began yesterday, to further deepen the region’s economic ties.
He also held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the AEM Meeting. — Bernama
Source: The Malay Mail Online