MANILA—The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states need to undertake transparency and regulatory reform efforts for better implementation of non-tariff measures (NTMs).
In a discussion paper, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Senior Research Fellow Erlinda Medalla and Project Development Officer Melalyn Mantaring said the reforms could be implemented for removing unnecessary restrictions and for streamlining procedures for NTMs.
“The challenge for ASEAN countries including the Philippines is how to incorporate efficiency and facilitative measures in the implementation and administration of NTMs,” they said.
Medalla and Mantaring cited documents indicating there has been major progress in the reduction of tariffs across the globe, and to near zero in ASEAN.
However, a rising trend has been noted in the use of NTMs, majority of which are intended for justified reasons such as sanitary and health, environment, security and consumer protection.
To promote transparency in NTMs, they proposed the creation of comprehensive and updated database of NTMs in the region, published and easy to access database and building up the Philippine National Trade Repository.
Medalla and Mantaring said establishing a robust mechanism that would address the NTM issues, including harmonization of standards, was also imperative.
They also pushed for continuing intensive reforms to streamline NTM procedures.
“The importance of Customs Modernization and establishment of the NSW (National Single Window), including an efficient Risk Assessment Mechanism cannot be over emphasized,” Medalla and Mantaring added.
Further, they underscored the need to create a “third party monitor and technical resource” to oversee the progress of the ASEAN member-states in mitigating the negative effects of NTMs on trade.