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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has launched the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) upgrade negotiations to maximise the potential of intra-Asean trade and deepen economic integration.
These upgrade negotiations aim to, among other things, facilitate trade through addressing non-tariff barriers, promoting transparency, facilitating AMS's participation in global and regional supply chains, as well as responding to emerging issues such as digitalisation and the green economy.
The launch took place during the 28th Asean economic ministers' retreat that began on Wednesday (Mar 16). The retreat was hosted by Cambodia, the Asean Chair for 2022.
The meeting also affirmed its commitment towards a rules-based regional order through enhancing the Asean Plus One free trade agreements (FTAs), such as the ongoing Asean-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) upgrade negotiations.
Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong attended the retreat, where he proposed 3 key areas Asean could work together to drive economic recovery.
The first area is the importance of continued unity and open, rules-based regional economic integration as Asean member states navigate economic uncertainties such as inflationary pressures and economic disruptions arising from geopolitical complexities and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gan's proposals also included the need for Asean to band together and act swiftly in response to current challenges, including through strengthening regional supply chains and upgrading Asean FTAs, as well as the need for Asean to position itself as a progressive and dynamic regional bloc through cooperation in emerging areas such as the digital and green economies.
Said Gan: "The launch of negotiations to upgrade the ATIGA, progress in the AANZFTA upgrade negotiations as well as initiatives in new and emerging areas such as digitalisation and sustainability will benefit our people and businesses, unlock the region's economic potential and position us for the future."
Source: The Business Times