1. H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia officially opened the Twenty-second Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) which was held on 26 – 27 October 2000 in Phnom Penh, and attended by:

  1. Honourable Abdul Rahman Hj. Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Brunei Darussalam
  2. H.E. Mr. Chhea Song, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia
  3. H.E. Mr. Nazaruddin Nasution, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Indonesia
  4. H.E. Dr. Siene Saphangthong, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR
  5. H.E. Datuk (Dr.) Mohd. Effendi Norwawi, Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia
  6. H.E. Major General Nyunt Tin, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar
  7. H.E. Mr. Francisco E. Atayde, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Philippines
  8. H.E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development, Singapore
  9. H.E. Mr. Prapat Pothasuthon, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
  10. H.E. Mr. Cao Duc Phat, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam
  11. Honorable Mr. Tran Duc Minh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN and their delegations.

2. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Chhea Song, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia and H.E. Nazaruddin Nasution, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia, was the Vice – Chairman.

3. The Ministers reviewed the various activities and programmes and noted with satisfaction the progress made in ASEAN cooperation of food, agriculture and forestry.

4. The Ministers noted that last year’s positive economic growth in ASEAN Member Countries has provided impetus for further regional development and cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry. The Ministers also noted the continued contribution of agriculture and forestry to the economies of ASEAN Member Countries in terms of revenues and employment especially during the crisis. The Ministers, therefore, agreed to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in the food, agriculture and forestry sectors. In order to encourage private sector involvement, the Ministers have agreed to invite the ASEAN Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ASEAN-CCI) to future AMAF meetings for consultations.

5. The Ministers paid particular attention to the problems facing major ASEAN agricultural commodities with the view to enhancing their complementarity in production, marketing and their competitive position in world markets. The Ministers requested the ASEAN Secretariat to carry out a study on this issue for consideration at the next SOM – AMAF Meeting.

6. The Ministers emphasised that in order to sustain economic growth of the Member Countries, intra- and extra- ASEAN trade should be enhanced. In this regard, the Ministers have endorsed a number of trade-enhancing instruments aiming to improve competitiveness of ASEAN’s food agriculture and forestry products in the international market.

7. The Ministers endorsed an additional 122 maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides for various vegetables, which are being widely traded between ASEAN Member Countries. Thus, the total number of MRLs values that have been endorsed by AMAF, to-date, is 175.

8. The Ministers signed the Protocol 8 on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures to Implement the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit to facilitate cross-border movement of agricultural products within ASEAN region.

9. The Ministers endorsed the Framework for ASEAN Regional Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests. The regional Framework will provide guidance to Member Countries in developing national – specific criteria and indicators, which could be used to assess sustainable forest management or for the purpose of timber certification.

10. In the effort to improve SPS status and ASEAN competitiveness in trade in livestock and livestock products, the Ministers agreed to ASEAN’s increased role in regional foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control, with Thailand as the lead country. The Ministers endorsed the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE) campaign for the period of year 2001-2004 to control and eradicate FMD in Southeast Asia.

11. The Ministers supported initiatives to keep pace with the rapid changes in technology in the development of the food, agriculture and forestry sectors of ASEAN.

12. The Ministers noted that biotechnology, particularly with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), has begun to take a dynamic role in shaping the food industry of ASEAN. As imports of agricultural products derived from this technology into the region may increase, Member Countries have taken steps to address possible concerns. The ASEAN Guidelines on Risk Assessment of Agriculture-related GMOs which is now published, will assist Member Countries to evaluate the safety of GMOs and increase the understanding of this technology in ASEAN. A training programme on the use of the Guidelines for regulatory officials, administrators and decision-makers in ASEAN will be organised in collaboration with the International Life Science Institute (ILSI). Additionally, an active Public Awareness Programme on GMOs is now in place. As part of the Programme, a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on GMOs has been compiled and posted on the ASEAN Secretariat’s website: http//www.aseansec.org.

13. Recognising the importance of vegetable production in improving the nutrition and income status in ASEAN, the Ministers approved eight projects proposed by the ASEAN – AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre) Regional Network for Vegetable Research & Development (AARNET). The Ministers acknowledged that close cooperation between ASEAN and AVRDC would contribute to the development of vegetable production in ASEAN.

14. The Ministers underscored the importance of having an ASEAN common position in international agricultural issues. The Ministers agreed that ASEAN would continue to actively address issues of interest in international agricultural trade in the various international fora, and particularly to express deep concern over the continuing restriction of tropical fresh fruits and discriminatory tariffs on ASEAN canned tuna. The Ministers also agreed to instruct their authorities concerned and respective agencies to work closely and expeditiously on these matters.

15. Pursuant to the mandate given by the Leaders at the Third ASEAN Informal Summit on 28 November 1999, the Ministers agreed to work towards the establishment of a forum with the Ministers of Agriculture and the Ministers of Forestry from the Peoples Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (AMAF + 3). The plan to establish the AMAF + 3 forum is considered timely given the importance of agricultural issues in East Asia. The Ministers directed SOM-AMAF to begin work in coordination with their counterparts in China, Japan and Korea to draft the details of the establishment of the AMAF + 3 forum, specifically on areas of cooperation and common interest.

16. The Ministers noted that ASEAN, in collaboration with SEAFDEC, would organise the Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium “Fish for the People” in early November 2001. Ministers from ASEAN Member Countries responsible for fisheries would be invited to participate in the Conference to formulate resolutions for sustainable management of fisheries resources in the Southeast Asia region.

17. The Ministers were concerned with the heavy floods occurring in the areas of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, and expressed sympathy to the victims. In addition to aid given by Member Countries, the Ministers requested the Secretary – General on behalf of ASEAN to convey this information to potential donor countries and international organizations to provide the necessary humanitarian and development assistance and aid to these countries.

18. The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Royal Government of Cambodia for hosting the 22nd AMAF in Phnom Penh from 26 – 27 October 2000 and to the people of Cambodia for their warm hospitality. The next AMAF meeting would be held in Indonesia in October 2001.

Phnom Penh
27 October 2000