ASEAN ministers sign deals to boost trade

17 December 2008 10:34  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed three agreements on Tuesday to boost trade and investments within its ten member countries, debunking fears of a possible return to protectionist policies as the region’s economies struggle against the global economic downturn.

The agreements marked the first major step towards achieving a single market and production base in the region, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.

The ASEAN trade in goods agreement (ATIGA) liberalises the flow of goods among member nations, with commitments to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers.

“With increased trade volumes brought about by progressive reduction of tariffs and quotas in international trade, this will certainly benefit traders,” ASEAN said in a statement.

The ASEAN comprehensive investment agreement (ACIA) enhances the investment environment within the region through embracing liberalisation.

The seventh package of the ASEAN framework agreement on services (AFAS) commitment was also signed, strengthening the region’s resolve to fully liberalise its services sector by 2015.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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