THIS MONTH’S TOPICS
- EU-ASEAN Debate in Singapore: how to advance regional integration?
- ASEAN Food Safety Policy –Enhancing Food Safety in an integrated ASEAN Market
- Radio Waves Become a Scarce Resource – READI Facilitates ASEAN Spectrum Policy
- Supporting the development of International Trade In Services Statistics (SITS) in Indonesia
- ASEAN Trade Repository is one step closer
EU-ASEAN Debate in Singapore: how to advance regional integration?
Singapore, 15 April. The 3rd debate of the EU-ASEAN series was organised by the EU Delegation to Singapore. Moderated by Channel News Asia’s anchor Teymoor Nabili, a prominent panel raised the pros and cons of enforceable agreements as a tool to advance ASEAN’s integration. To a crowded room of enthusiastic participants from across European and Asian businesses, academic, public and non-profit circles, panelists energetically debated the motion “This house believes that for the true benefits of economic integration, you need enforceable multilateral agreements.” The discussants, including officials, distinguished academic fellows and business leaders questioned whether there was enough political will among leaders in the region to leapfrog with pooled sovereignty. And likewise, whether establishing a legally binding framework would advance integration – or rather would come too early at this moment.
The EU-ASEAN Debate Series aims to increase awareness and discussion on regional integration before the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes into force at the end of this year.
ASEAN Food Safety Policy –Enhancing Food Safety in an integrated ASEAN Market
Kuala Lumpur, 23 March – The EU’s food safety policy is widely recognized as the gold standard. To help ASEAN pushing their own policy, a workshop gathering experts from agriculture, health and trade, together with specialists from ARISE reviewed the ASEAN food safety policy.
Establishing such a policy in ASEAN shall serve as a common basis for safety measures in Member States applicable throughout the food chain from primary production to processing, storage and distribution. Such a policy shall guide the development and implementation of regulations in a harmonised manner. Thus, it will enable the free movement of safe food products within the ASEAN community.
The content of the policy is derived from principles established in Codex guidance documents, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, and the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. It takes into account ASEAN’s unique priorities and references the ASEANs initiatives on risk assessment and on the alert systems. The ASEAN food safety policy will be the basis for the planned ASEAN Food Safety Regulatory Framework allowing for free movement of safe food in ASEAN.
More information can be accessed on the ARISE website.
Radio Waves Become a Scarce Resource – READI Facilitates ASEAN Spectrum Policy
Vientiane (Laos), 18 March 2015 – Radio waves are the essential and increasingly scarce resource allowing for wireless exchange of data. This is the technological basis of rapidly spreading mobile services of all kinds, available over smartphones and tablets.
The ASEAN Spectrum Policy Forum (ASPF) met for the 5th time under the heading “Re-farming 2G bands (800/900/1800MHz)”. Attended by over 70 delegates from the ASEAN and the EU regions, both radio spectrum experts from administrations and of the private sector (equipment manufacturers and network operators) were represented.
The workshop aimed at exchanging EU and ASEAN experience for managing radio resources, in particular in the light of new wireless technologies such as 3G (UMTS and HSPDA) and 4G (LTE). This requires re dedicating radio spectrum bands so far assigned to 2G technologies, a process called “re-farming”.
Re-farming can generate significant economic benefits – ultimately for consumers in terms of advanced mobile data services. But it also requires consideration of technical and economic challenges. These range from band planning, in-band and out-of-band interference, cross-border coordination, to the impact on competition in the mobile market.
In sum, re-farming requires new policies and regulations. Given the global nature of communication services and the need to ensure interoperability across borders, re-farming is a true regional challenge of coordination both at ASEAN and EU level.
“Radio frequency spectrum is becoming an increasingly scarce resource for increased access to communications or ICTs. Telecommunication/ICT is not only facing increased demands for bandwidth, but increases pressure on users of the spectrum, who see their requirements for larger bandwidths rapidly growing. Hence the roles of the government – regulators are the key enablers for an effective management of the radio spectrum”, mentioned Laotian Vice Minister Thansamay Kommasith in his opening address.
The meeting made policy recommendations for ASEAN regulators. ASPF meeting recommendations were endorsed by the ASEAN Subgroup on Spectrum Management (SMM) and serve as basis for SSM proposals to be submitted to ASEAN ministers.
“Since 2012, ASPF has become an effective forum for ASEAN spectrum experts to discuss, share knowledge and exchange experiences internally, as well as with European and industry experts. ASFP is now a platform to coordinate ASEAN views on spectrum management. We hope the EU and ASEAN member states continue the dialogue on spectrum management issues” said Le Van Tuan, Deputy Director General of the Vietnamese Agency for Radio Frequency Management (ARFM) and SSM chair.
More information on the READI website.
Supporting the development of International Trade In Services Statistics (SITS) in Indonesia
Jakarta, 16-18 March – EU-ASEAN Capacity Building Project for Monitoring Integration Progress and Statistics (EU-ASEAN COMPASS) together with Bank Indonesia facilitated a workshop on “Statistics of International Trade in Services (SITS) Workshop” at the premises of Bank Indonesia.
The objectives were to provide participants with understanding on the data availability and strengthen the ability to utilize these data to support policy making and international trade negotiation, particularly on the international trade services sector.
Participants were statisticians and policy makers, coming from Statistics Indonesia, Indonesia Financial Services Authority, Ministry of Trade, National Development Planning Agency, Ministry of Tourism, the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Public Work Ministry of Industry, and from the host Bank Indonesia. The workshop was also attended by representative of the ASEAN Secretariat Statistics Division (ASEANstats).
More information on the COMPASS website.
ASEAN Trade Repository is one step closer
Bangkok, 10 April: a regional workshop to present the ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR) to…..XXX was organized by ARISE.
The ATR is one of the key requirements under the ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and is intended to provide transparency on ASEAN Member States (AMSs)’ trade and customs laws and procedures. The ATR interface developed by ARISE will connect all AMSs’ National Trade Repositories (NTRs) and allow users to retrieve trade-related information through a single regional search engine. The ATIGA provides that the ATR be accessible to the public, through the internet, for free and in English.
As underlined by Mr. Hassan Bin Ali, Assistant Director of the ASEAN Secretariat’s Trade Facilitation Division, “the ATR will play a critical role in achieving regulatory transparency and therefore is considered as a key factor of trade facilitation and a powerful catalyst that will foster regional economic integration through greater intra-ASEAN trade and investment”. ARISE will continue assisting AMSs in their efforts to operationalize the ASEAN Trade Repository, providing institutional support to the ASEAN Secretariat and dedicated assistance to AMSs, particularly with respect to the key aspect of identification, classification and notification of non-tariff measures (NTMs). The objective is to roll-out the ATR and make it available on-line to the public before the end of 2015.
More information can be accessed on the ARISE website.