AANZFTA Parties Resolved to Develop a Regional Mechanism in Monitoring Tariff Preferences8 March 2021
JAKARTA, 8 March 2022 – Today, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) co-organised a virtual regional workshop on “Review Study of ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Party Capacity to Monitor Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Utilisation”. The workshop was attended by 54 representatives from AANZFTA Committee on Trade in Goods (CTG), customs administrations, national statistics offices, and other relevant agencies from across AANZFTA Parties.
The regional workshop created a looked-for opportunity to expound the relevance and significance of monitoring FTA preference utilisation for AANZFTA. In his pre-recorded remarks, Atty. Allan B. Gepty, DTI’s Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy, expressed that “Improving understanding of how FTAs are used is essential for trade policy formulation. It would enable countries to assess how an FTA can be further enhanced. He added that sharing FTA utilisation information amongst Parties will enable countries to better assess how FTAs support their exports.”
At the workshop, participants deliberated practices and methodologies, including the Australian experiences and case studies, in collecting and monitoring the utilisation of tariff preferences. They further discussed findings from an in-depth review study and four national workshops for participating ASEAN Member States (i.e., Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and the Philippines), examining the feasibility and technical constraints they face in collecting and submitting the required data in a CTG-recommended template.
The insights generated at the workshop will be used to refine the review study report and to develop tailored recommendations to help AANZFTA Parties submit the required data—a prerequisite for developing an effective regional mechanism for monitoring the utilisation of AANZFTA tariff preferences.
An effective mechanism for monitoring utilisation of FTA preferential treatment, when in place, both at the national and regional level, would support capacity to undertake trade analysis, including analysis on the effectiveness of the FTA in the current and post-pandemic international trade environment.
The regional workshop was a major component of an AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP) project on “Monitoring Utilisation of AANZFTA Tariff Preferences Phase II – Building Individual Parties Capacities to Submit Compatible Data for CTG Analysis”. The project endeavours to (i) identify challenges faced by Parties in the collection and submission of import data on usage of tariff preferences under a recommended template by the CTG, and (ii) offer recommendations to support the effective implementation of a regional mechanism for monitoring the utilisation of AANZFTA tariff preferences.
“This project provided an opportunity for better understanding on the process of data collection and analysis for an effective mechanism for monitoring utilization of FTA preferential treatment, including possible solutions for challenges faced by countries in developing its internal monitoring process,” said Ms Dina Kurniasari, Director for ASEAN Negotiation, Ministry of Trade of Indonesia at the National Workshop for Indonesia (9 February 2022).
The project underpins AECSP’s preceding efforts (2011-2019) in assessing and building the capacity of all AANZFTA Parties to establish and implement this region-wide mechanism. These included a regional workshop (October 2011), two pilot workshops for the Philippines (September 2014) and Indonesia (September 2015), and in-country seminars for Cambodia (March 2014), Lao PDR (March 2015), and Myanmar (December 2017).
For more information on the project or the AECSP, please contact the AANZFTA Support Unit at https://aanzfta.asean.org/contact-aanzfta.
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