Asean ministers to sign deal on Asean MRAs
Asean economic ministers are scheduled to sign a pact on mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) for automobiles and parts as well as the improvement of protocols for dispute settlement mechanisms in September.
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the third senior economic official meeting (SEOM) held during July 14-18 in Bangkok agreed to propose the two important documents at the meeting in Bangkok in September.
MRAs are deals between two or more parties to mutually recognise or accept some or all aspects of one another's conformity assessment results. MRAs can be concluded at the technical or government-to-government levels.
Through MRAs, products that are tested and certified before export can enter the importing country directly without having to undergo similar conformity assessment procedures in the destination.
The Asean SEOM in Vientiane held April 4-5 approved MRAs for automotive products among the 10 bloc members after negotiations lasting seven years.
Once effective, the pact will help reduce production costs and facilitate exports and imports of automotive products among members.
The MRA will cover automotive products such as braking systems, safety belts, seats, tyres, steering systems, speedometers and safety glass.
Previously, Asean countries agreed on MRAs for processed food and electricity and electronic products.
Mrs Auramon said the second document covers the improvement of protocol on dispute settlement mechanisms. The improvement will update Asean's dispute settlement mechanism to come in line with the changing environment and World Trade Organization dispute settlement principles.
Asean is the biggest trade partner for Thailand. In 2018, Thailand's two-way trade with Asean totalled US$114 billion, up 13% from 2017.