Economic Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have launched negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the regional bloc said a statement.
The announcement was made during the virtual 28th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat, which was held under the chairmanship of Cambodia’s Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying on Thursday.
“The AEM retreat has adopted the guidelines, terms and conditions for the ATIGA Upgrade Negotiations committee and announced the launch of the ATIGA Upgrade Negotiations,” Sorasak said in the statement.
The ASEAN ministers also fully supported 19 Priority Economic Deliverables for 2022 proposed by Cambodia, and one of them was the ATIGA Upgrade Negotiations, he said.
Signed in Thailand in 2009, the ATIGA aims to achieve free flow of goods in the region resulting in less trade barriers and deeper economic linkages among member states, lower business costs, increased trade, and a larger market and economies of scale for businesses.
The upgraded negotiations are to ensure that ATIGA remains relevant in transforming the region into a more integrated and cohesive economy, particularly in the face of global economic shocks and volatility.
According to the statement, the Ministers also chartered priority tasks for 2022 towards expediting regional economic recovery.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.