Trade Facilitation: The Way Forward for ASEAN and Its FTA Partners
ASEAN is working towards establishing a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with its FTA partners. All five existing ASEAN+1 FTAs contain provisions on trade facilitation. Although varying in their scope, specificity and depth of commitments, they tend to cover several core areas and affirm the application of international agreements, standards and instruments. A review of trade facilitation performance shows that there are great disparities among ASEAN countries and their FTA partners. Reform efforts in the area of trade facilitation could be tracked regularly through a set of specially-compiled indicators. The following policy recommendations could inform discussions on trade facilitation coverage in the context of a wider agreement between ASEAN and its FTA partners: (i) define a consistent set of trade facilitation principles; (ii) adopt specific trade facilitation measures; (iii) monitor performance in core trade facilitation areas and set targets; (iv) share best practices and implement capacity-building measures in priority areas; and (v) keep abreast of developments in the multilateral process.