Removing non-tariff barriers a priority of ASEAN Economic Community 2025 blueprint

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Channel News Asia | 31 May 2016

Removing non-tariff barriers a priority of ASEAN Economic Community 2025 Blueprint: Lim Hng Kiang

By Nicole Tan

SINGAPORE: Helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reap the benefits of regional integration, removing non-tariff barriers, driving new businesses and encouraging sustainable growth are the key priorities under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025 Blueprint.

Speaking at ASEAN Conference 2016 on Tuesday (May 31), Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang outlined efforts that the economic grouping will focus on to implement outstanding measures and to deepen cross border relations.

He said upcoming initiatives like the ASEAN Single Window and Self Certification Scheme will enable faster clearance and help reduce transaction time and costs for businesses.

Mr Lim also cited non-tariff barriers that ASEAN will seek to eliminate, ranging from cumbersome import licensing procedures to other import and export requirements, so that “businesses can operate in a transparent, stable and predictable environment”.

The minister added that the AEC 2025 Blueprint will also address new areas relevant to the needs of modern business, and will look for ways to facilitate e-commerce and other emerging trends in manufacturing.

As of end-December 2015, ASEAN completed 93 per cent of high priority measures in the AEC 2015 Blueprint, said Mr Lim. Work to implement the rest of AEC 2015 Blueprint measures will continue this year, he added.

The ASEAN Economic Community brings together a market worth over US$2.6 trillion, and the region has a population of more than 622 million people.