ASEAN trade committee to meet

ASEAN’s Single Window Steering Committee will today begin its 26th meeting, which is set to conclude on April 9. The

Asean trade committee

Photo: ASEAN Secretariat

ASEAN’s Single Window Steering Committee will today begin its 26th meeting, which is set to conclude on April 9.

The trade-focused committee oversees the transnational program mandated with standardising, collecting and sharing of customs and commercial data between ASEAN member states. The program aims to reduce transaction costs while expediting cross-border trade within the bloc.

Today’s meeting comes as political momentum for boosting international trade in the Indo-Pacific reaches new heights. In November 2020, the ten ASEAN member states, along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, officially signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to expand reciprocal tariff reduction and overall market access. The trade deal has the potential to increase trade between the signatories by $428 billion by 2030 and cement the region’s status as the global engine of post-pandemic growth. China’s National People’s Congress recently ratified the deal three months ahead of schedule—a public vote of confidence in the agreement by the group’s largest economy. Despite greater economic cooperation, bilateral relations between ASEAN and China will still be tested while overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea persist. Expect the trend of trade liberalisation to continue in the long-term, eventually moving to include the professional services sector.

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