Asean pushes for better access to essential goods

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which the Philippines is part of, has signed a new document that will address non-tariff measures in trading coronavirus-related products within the region.


In a statement Thursday, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said economic ministers of Asean signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the Implementation of non-tariff measures (NTM) on essential goods at the sidelines of the 19th Asean Economic Community Council Meeting last Nov. 10.


Under the MOU, Asean member states were urged to refrain from “introducing or maintaining trade restrictive measures on essential goods”.


The MOU covers 152 tariff lines of medicines, as well as medical supplies and equipment under the Asean list of essential goods.


“This action is a clear manifestation of Asean’s shared commitment in keeping markets open, ensure the unhampered flow of essential goods, and show economic resiliency amid Covid-19,” Lopez said.


The economic bloc also eyes to expand the list of essential goods to include food and agricultural products.


Some countries in the region implemented export bans and other restricted measures for essential products and agricultural goods at the onset of the coronavirus disease pandemic.


The Philippines is one of the countries that did not implement export bans.


The DTI has encouraged manufacturing firms to repurpose their facilities to produce essential goods like personal protective equipment, including face masks and coveralls, among others


“We also see this as a positive development that will help the Philippine business community in trading with the region,” Lopez added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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