ASEAN Members Should Practice More ‘ASEAN Minus X’ Approaches

By Zarul Effendi Razali | Source: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Bernama) — ASEAN member states should practice more “ASEAN minus X” approaches in overcoming certain issues regarding tariff barriers, says ASEAN Business Club president Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid.

He said it was not necessary to wait for all the 10 countries in ASEAN to agree on each issue before it could be implemented as there might be some constrains that could prevent that particular country from doing so at that time.

“For example, if you look now, the ASEAN trading links only have three (participating) countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

“You just do something with whoever is willing to do it (at that time), and not wait for all the 10 countries to do it together,” he said.

He said this at the launch of the “Lifting-The-Barriers (LTB) Reports 2015,” held in conjunction with the 47th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meetings’ and Related Meetings here Tuesday.

In the report, he said the committee had decided on a three-month period, which is until November, for a possible implementation to lift some non-tariff measures of four sectors, namely, aviation, retail, agri-food and logistics.

“Among the main problems inhibiting the growth of e-commerce is e-payment. Every nation has its own e-payment system. So, to go through that system, to get clearance and payment, is sometimes hard as it is different in each country.

“We can try to solve this e-payment problem on “ASEAN minus X” basis. You can’t do it ASEAN-wide, forcing every ASEAN country to join,” he said.

He said Vietnam and Myanmar were among the countries that might have a problem in implementing non-tariff on the e-payment system, but that should not prevent other member countries from doing so.

“There are countries (in ASEAN) that can do it. So, let’s start and demonstrate the benefit of their cooperation to other countries to attract them to join in.

“Nowadays, we have to think of “ASEAN minus X” to jump-start things,” he added.