Malaysian PM urges for lowering non-tariff barriers to facilitate intra-ASEAN trade

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-28 15:50:04|Editor: xuxin
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MANILA, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak urged here on Friday for the reduction of non-tariff barriers and measures so as to facilitate intra-ASEAN trade.

"Non-tariff barriers and measures must be reduced and ultimately removed. This is a stubborn worldwide problem, but it is in ASEAN's own interests to lead the way in this endeavor," Najib said while addressing a session themed "Prosperity for All Summit" held during the ASEAN's 30th summit and related meetings.

The Malaysian prime minister said that ASEAN countries had to further bring down the existing trade tariffs.

WTO figures showed average tariffs in ASEAN were around four percent in 2015, and the work to bring them down to zero must be pursued vigorously.

According to Najib, economies of the ASEAN nations are growing faster than most of the rest of the world, and it is expected that by 2050 the ASEAN economy will amount to over 9.2 trillion U.S. dollars, making ASEAN the world's fourth largest economy.

To achieve the goal, there has to be a 20 percent reduction in fixed trade costs, said the prime minister, adding that ASEAN needs to work toward facilitative measures such as standardized customs procedures.

On ASEAN's integration process, Najib said "we are one of the most successful regional associations in the world, and while some have criticized us for moving too slowly, we have avoided the downsides of moving too fast."

As a regional body, he said, ASEAN must be seen as a source of cohesion, solidarity, support, unity, friendship and strength, and greater prosperity.