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Asean To Sign Agreement On Commitment For CEPT-AFTA

Bernama, Malaysia

Asean To Sign Agreement On Commitment For CEPT-AFTA

3 December 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 (Bernama) — A new agreement to further strengthen the Common Effective Preferential Tariff-Asean Free Trade Area Agreement 1992 or CEPT-AFTA, has been drawn up and is expected to be signed at the 14th Asean Summit in Thailand.

The Asean Summit which was scheduled to be held in the middle of this month has been postponed to next March following the poiltical crisis in Thailand.

The Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan said all agreements and protocol related to the liberalisation of trade in goods would be included in one new comprehensive agreement for easy reference in an effort to implement commitment.

"The agreement will inculcate discipline among Asean countries so that achieving the AFTA objectives in 2015 will be easy," he told the Dewan Negara Wednesday.

Jacob said this while replying to a question from Senator Datin Paduka Norhayati Onn, who had asked if the government would consider speeding up intra Asean free trade.

Under the CEPT-AFTA 1992 agreement, Asean countries had agreed to the abolishment of import duties on goods from Jan 1, 2010 for the six original members of Asean and from Jan 1, 2015 for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

This year, Asean as a whole had abolished import duties for 63.45 percent of all products for intra Asean trade, in line with the commitment under the CEPT-AFTA.

For the six original members of Asean — Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines — the abolishment of import duties has reached 84.94 percent.

Malaysia specifically has abolished the import duties for 82.65 percent of products.The complete abolishment of import duties will be done in 2010.

However, an exemption on import duties will be made for products deemed sensitive such as rice, tropical fruits, tobacco, sugar, liquor and firearms.