Standards Harmonisation in ASEAN: Progress, Challenges and Moving Beyond 2015
Addressing technical barriers to trade is a key priority of ASEAN as part of trade facilitation in achieving the Single Market and Production Base under the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and building an effective and competitive Economic Community beyond 2015. Standards and conformance assessment measures, while seeking to ensure quality and safety of products for consumers should not become technical barriers to trade across the region as ASEAN liberalises its trading regime. A delicate balance needs to be achieved between the two to build a thriving economic region. The region has been undertaking efforts towards standards harmonisation in the ASEAN priority sectors of integration and in bringing about regulatory convergence taking into account the diversities that exist in the ten Member States. More needs to be done in this area for the region to stay competitive and enhance intra-ASEAN trade as well as external trade. This paper looks at how the regional grouping is addressing technical barriers to trade as part of ASEAN's trade integration agenda and what it should do going beyond 2015.