VIENTIANE, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Trade negotiating officials from 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries met in the Lao capital Vientiane this week to discuss facilitation for trade and investment within the ASEAN bloc.
The 14th ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee conference took place from Tuesday to Wednesday to follow up the results of previous negotiations that aimed to provide easier transport, import and export and cross-border trade of goods within ASEAN.
The conference said that all members must work together to resolve obstacles to trade and investment by businesses in the region such as transparency and speed, and reduce the number of steps, amount of time, expenses and not-tariff measures in each member country, according to local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday.
The meeting was chaired by the Director General of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Commerce Ministry of Thailand, Auramon Supthaweethum.
The meeting heard reports about negotiation progress by four negotiation committees namely the ASEAN trade negotiation committee, electronic trade negotiation committee, logistics unit negotiation committee, and the customs negotiation committee.
In addition, participants discussed their work plans for 2019, and implementation of non-tariff measure guidelines including technical assistance among ASEAN country members.
Trade facilitation involves sectors related to standards, e-commerce, transport facilitation, customs, and trade in goods. Negotiations on these issues have progressed well and each country has initiated improvements in its one-gate service for national customs declaration.
The older ASEAN country members have implemented information exchange through electronic systems while newer members are improving their systems and plan to put them in practice as soon as possible.
ASEAN members are paying attention to non-tax measures to improve them for transparency, time saving and expense reduction for business operations within ASEAN.