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Media Release : 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting

  1. ASEAN Economic Ministers are fully committed to ensuring that there will be no backsliding or roll-back of measures to enhance the 10-member grouping's competitiveness undertaken in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) initiative.   
  1. They made the pledge at the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The session was chaired by YB Dato Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry. Dato' Sri Mustapa also chaired two other related meetings, the AEM-ASEAN Free Trade Area Council Meeting and the ASEAN Investment Area Meeting. 
  1. The Ministers exchanged views on a wide range of economic issues and agreed that the immediate priority should be the completion of the outstanding AEC ASEAN Economic Community measures by end of this year. They expressed satisfaction that over 91% of the AEC Blueprint Measures have been implemented, pending the formal establishment of the AEC by the end of this year. 
  1. The AEC seeks to establish a single market and production base in ASEAN. When fully implemented, it is expected to deepen regional economic integration by facilitating a seamless flow of trade investment. The AEC's market liberalisation measures are ultimately aimed at ensuring equitable economic growth in the region, and that ASEAN's prosperity is shared by all of the region's 620-million strong population.
  1. ASEAN real GDP growth expanded 4.6 percent in 2014, and is expected to touch almost 5 percent this year. With the implementation of the AEC, ASEAN's GDP is forecast to grow to USD 4.7 trillion by 2020 from the current USD 2.5 trillion.
  1. ASEAN’s total merchandise trade registered modest growth of 0.8 percent year on year in 2014 or US$2.53 trillion. Intra-ASEAN trade reached US$608.3 billion, which, accounts for 24 % of ASEAN’s total trade. China was the next top destination for ASEAN exports (US$150.4 billion or 11.6% of total), followed by EU-28 (US$132.4 billion or 10.2%), the United States (US$122.4 billion or 9.5%) and Japan (US$120.2 illion or 9.3%). 
  1. In terms of FDI, inflows to ASEAN rose from US$117.7 billion in 2013 to USD136.2 billion in 2014 -- an increase of 15.7 percent year-on-year. The European Union remained the top source of FDI to ASEAN, accounting for approximately 22% of the total. Japan was the second largest, with a share of 9.8%, followed by the United States with 9.6% and China with a 6.5%. Intra-ASEAN FDI also continued to grow, reaching US$24.4 billion in 2014 or around 17.9% of total inward FDI into ASEAN
  1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers are determined to ensure that the momentum is maintained, and highlighted several areas that can be enhanced to ensure this goal is met. One of the key initiatives they discussed is in the area of trade facilitation, especially the harmonising of regulations among all 10 ASEAN Member States and the issue of non-tariff barriers. 
  1. In this context, the Ministers welcomed the work undertaken by the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC) and the establishment ASEAN Solutions and Settlements for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST), a consultative, internet-based facility which offers a structured mechanism for the private sector to lodge their complaints in a transparent and open manner.
  1. Other initiatives on trade facilitation where work is being intensified include the ASEAN/National Single Window, ASEAN / National Trade Repository, ASEAN Wide Self-Certification, Customs facilitation and integration. "These initiatives underline ASEAN’s efforts in enhancing transparency and access to information regarding the regulatory environment of each ASEAN Member State and greatly facilitate doing business in the region!" Minister Mustapa said. "They indicate clearly that ASEAN is moving in the right direction. ASEAN Governments will also work closely with the private sector and the various ASEAN business councils to address the issue of non-tariff barriers," he added.
  1. On import duties, the Ministers noted that 95.99 % of tariffs have been eliminated, except for those under the sensitive list, highly sensitive list, general exception List, and products subject to 7% flexibility provision for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam. Malaysia has met the commitments and has eliminated duties on 99.7% of the products, except for a few products such as rice, tobacco and tropical fruits. 
  1. The Ministers also discussed the integration of the services sector and the implementation of the mutual recognition arrangements (MRA) for the mobility of skilled professionals in the region. The Ministers noted the on-going efforts to finalise the tenth and the final package of services commitments under the AEC Blueprint 2015. The Ministers agreed to sign the Protocol to Implement the 10th package at the side-lines of the ASEAN Summit to be held in Kuala Lumpur in November.
  1. The ASEAN Economic Ministers welcomed the work undertaken in drafting the AEC Post-2015 Vision and strategic measures. They endorsed the draft developed by the High Level Task Force for Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) and called on officials to complete the work in developing the strategic action plans for each of the strategic measures listed in the Post -2015 AEC document by no later than April 2016. The strategic action plans will guide officials in their work on strengthening and deepening economic integration of the region over the next ten years.      
  1. Overall, the Ministers expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the implementation of the AEC and agreed that the private sector and other stakeholders will be consulted on a regular basis in the economic integration initiative of ASEAN. The Ministers agreed that information dissemination of the AEC and ASEAN in general will be undertaken on a much larger scale to help the people of ASEAN more fully understand the grouping's efforts.
               Ministry of International Trade and Industry
               22 August 2015

              List of AEM and, AEM-AFTA and AEM-AIA Councils Ministers & Secretary General of ASEAN
  1. H. E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam;
  1. H.E. Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State for Commerce, Cambodia (AEM);
  1. H.E. Ms. Nguon Sokha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodia (AFTA Council);
  1. Dr. Sar Senera, Director, Legal Affairs & Investment Law Department, Council for the Development of Cambodia (AIA Council);
  1. H.E. Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Minister of Trade, Indonesia;
  1. H.E. M. M. Azhar Lubis, Deputy Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) (AIA);
  1. H.E. Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;
  1. H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
  1. H.E. Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
  1. H.E. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
  1. H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of Trade and Industry, Singapore;
  1. Mr. Thawatchai Sophastienphong, Director General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand (AEM & AFTA Council);
  1. Mr. Chokedee Kaewsang, Deputy Secretary General of the Board of Investment, Thailand (AIA Council);
  1. H.E. Nguyen Cam Tu, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam; and
  1. H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.


Last Updated 2015-08-24 08:57:50 by Azuna Hasbullah atau Abd Rahman

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Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry
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