KUALA LUMPUR: Trade within Asean can be expanded if non-tariff barriers are removed, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Miti has been receiving feedbacks on the non-tariff barriers imposed by a number of Asean countries against Malaysian products.

“We will be engaging the various trade and industry associations within the next one month to obtain further feedbacks on problems faced by Malaysian businessmen in trading within the region,” he said in a statement released by his ministry yesterday.

The issue of non-tariff barriers has been frequently raised by the private sector from within and outside the region.

Asean Economic Ministers endorsed the Import Licensing Procedures Guidelines, to encourage greater transparency in rules and regulations and to provide advance notice to the private sector on any new measures.

Mustapa was speaking at the 25th Asean economic ministers-Asean Free Trade Area (AEM-Afta) council meeting in Manado, Sulawesi, yesterday.

The three-day meeting was opened by Indonesia’s Vice-President Professor Dr Boediono.

On the self-certification pilot project, which was launched on November 1 2010, Mustapa said Malaysia has appointed 30 certified exporters as participants.

The pilot project, which involves Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, allows certified exporters to make out invoice declarations on the origin of goods exported under Afta.

Thailand has also announced its decision to join the project in October and Mustapa has urged other member states to join.

A self-certification scheme has been one of the proposals submitted by the private sector as it will lead to not only reduced cost of doing business but also speedier movement of goods within the region.

The pilot project has been extended for another year.

Read more: Lifting of non-tariff curbs can boost Asean trade http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/rup1000e/Article/#ixzz1UiGfySHB