Adding 107 items to ASEAN List of Essential Goods

ASEAN Economic Ministers have approved the addition of 107 agricultural products and foodstuffs to the ASEAN List of Essential Goods, bringing the total number of items in the list to 257 items.

Producing shoes for export at Ha Tay Chemical Weave Company Limited. (Photo: Tran Viet/VNA)
Producing shoes for export at Ha Tay Chemical Weave Company Limited. (Photo: Tran Viet/VNA)

At the 35th ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Council Meeting video conference held on September 8, 2021, Economic Ministers from 11 ASEAN member countries reviewed the implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

Up to now, according to ATIGA's commitment, ASEAN countries have eliminated tariffs on an average of 98.6% of total tariff lines in 2021.

This is a meeting within the framework of the 53rd ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting taking
place from September 8 to 15, 2021.

The Vietnamese delegation attending the conference includes representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice, led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh.

With the aim of creating favourable conditions for businesses to apply rules of origin to take advantage of incentives under ATIGA; and solving existing problems in the process of granting and checking the origin of goods, the Ministers have approved a regulation amending a number of articles in the procedure for the Operational certification procedure (OCP) under the First Protocol to Amend the ATIGA.

As for the handling of non-tariff measures in ASEAN, the conference noted that, in the past year, under the chairmanship of Vietnam at the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on ATIGA, some progress has been made in dealing with the backlog in non-tariff measures.

The mechanism for dealing with non-tariff issues has been streamlined; and a number of new initiatives have been discussed.

In the context where the ASEAN economy is facing challenges due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Ministers said that the upgrade of the ATIGA was expected to actively contribute to the deep economic integration of ASEAN; promote intra-regional trade, develop regional supply chains, and contribute to economic recovery after the pandemic.

Speaking at the conference, the Vietnamese delegation welcomed the achievements in handling ASEAN's non-tariff measures and said that upgrading the ATIGA would help businesses take better advantage of the agreement's benefits.

The meeting also recognised achievements in ASEAN customs cooperation, especially the development of the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) version 2022, expected to be implemented in January 2022.