1. The AEM Retreat in Yangon, Myanmar on 1 May 2000 agreed to allow limited flexibility in the implementation of the CEPT Scheme Temporary Exclusion List. The modality to be used is based on Article XXVIII (Modification of Schedule) of GATT 1994. To that end, officials had worked hard to finalise the Protocol.
2. At the 32nd AEM Meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 5 October 2000, the Ministers endorsed the Protocol Regarding the Implementation of the CEPT Scheme Temporary Exclusion List.
3. The major features of the Protocol are:
(i) Objective :
To allow a Member State to temporarily delay the transfer of a product from its Temporary Exclusion List into the Inclusion List or to temporarily suspend its concession on a product already transferred into the Inclusion List.
(ii) Scope :
The modification would be limited only to the last tranche of TEL manufactured products which were in the CEPT TEL as at 31 December 1999, or the relevant dates applicable to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
A written submission should be made to the AFTA Council. Countries should include information on the product whose transfer is to be temporarily delayed or the concession of which is temporarily suspended, the duration of the delay or the suspension requested, the reason for the request and the real problems faced.
The Submission would be considered by relevant ASEAN bodies and separately between Members. The separate discussions may include provision for compensatory adjustment measures which may take any form including those under the Agreement, mutually agreed to by the applicant Member State and Member States having principal or substantial supplying interest.
(v) MFN Principle:
Any compensatory adjustment negotiated shall be extended on a most favoured nation basis to all other Member States, where applicable.
If no agreement is reached within 180 days of the date of receipt of the Submission, and a Member proceeds with the delay of the transfer or suspension of the concession, substantially equivalent concessions may be withdrawn by the Member State with principal or substantial supplying interest.
(vii) Time frames:
The total time period allowed in coming to a decision on a submission shall not exceed 180 days from the date of receipt of the Submission.
4. The Ministers agreed that the Protocol was meant only for those countries facing real difficulties and reaffirmed their commitment to realise the ASEAN Free Trade Area by the year 2002. The Protocol was signed during the pre-Summit AEM in Singapore in November 2000.