America wants to liberalise trade with ASEAN group

America wants to liberalise trade with ASEAN group

In a speech at Singapore’s Management University, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk lately affirmed that America is prepared to begin discussions on further liberalising trade with the ten member countries of ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Currently America is in negotiation with Australia, Brunei, Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam on TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and four ASEAN Countries are involved there, namely Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam) process with the objective to reach agreements in the Asia-Pacific region and probably for the Asian continent. Also Canada, Japan, Mexico and Costa Rica wish to join the ongoing process. It is expected that these negotiations will not be finalised during 2012 because of some critical aspects, for instance Vietnam’s footwear and apparel products and market access for certain American products to Vietnam. Also the U.S. is not inclined to seek further Free Trade Agreements on a bilateral basis but rather in blocks. But with the Philippines America has signed last September a bi-lateral customs and trade facilitation agreement and has established a Partnership for Growth to support its implementation. A similar process is under way with Thailand also with possible positive side effects on the transformation in Myanmar. America welcomes also the to the Laos accession to the WTO World Trade Organisation.

Kirk made sure that America remains firmly committed to the perception that trade liberalisation at the multilateral level holds the highest potential for securing wide ranging market-opening outcomes while at the same time advancing trade as an economic engine for global development. And he added: “because the WTO Doha Round is at an impasse, the U.S.A. is seeking to work with “like-minded countries” to focus on new pathways for more productive, trade liberalising work within WTO”. Therefore new multi-lateral agreements are the name of the game to open up trade in goods and services and expanding to the coverage of the Information Technology Agreement (adding around USD 190 billion to the global GDP annually).

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