1. The Informal Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers was held in Singapore on 29 – 30 October 1987. The Meeting was preceded by the Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM) on 26 – 27 October 1987.
2. The Meeting was attended by H.E. Pengiran Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr. Ismail bin Pengiran Haji Damit, Minister of Development of Brunei Darussalam: H.E. Prof. Dr. Ali Wardhana, Minister Coordinator for Economy, Finance, Industry and Development Supervision of Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Rachmat Saleh, Minister of Trade of Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Hartarto, Minister of Industry of Indonesia; H.E. Datin Paduka Rafidah Aziz. Minister of Trade and Industry of Malaysia; H.E. Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, Minister of Primary Industries of Malaysia; H.E. Mr. Jose S Concepcion Jr., Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Philippines; Hon. Miss Lilia R Bautista, Under secretary of Trade & Industry of the Philippines; Hon. Dr. Florian Alburo, Deputy Director-General of Economic Planning of the Philippines; Hon. Mr. Roberto Ansaldo, Undersecretary of Agriculture & Food of the Philippines; H.E. Brig-Gen (Res) Lee Hsien Loong, Minister for Trade & Industry of Singapore; H.E. Dr. Lee Boon Yang, Minister of State for National Development of Singapore; H.E. Dr. Arun Panupong, Minister Attached to Prime Minister’s Office of Thailand; H.E. Dr. Supachal Panitchpakdl, Deputy Minister of Finance of Thailand; H.E. Mr. Prachuab Chaiyasan, Deputy Minister of Commerce of Thailand: H.E. Mr. Korn Dabbarangsi. Deputy Minister of Industry of Thailand-, and their delegations.
3. H.E. Mr. Roderick Yong, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat and members of his staff were also present.
4. The ASEAN Economic Ministers at their 19th Meeting recommended to submit to the Third ASEAN Summit in December 1987 initiatives to improve the ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangement and to implement a standstill and rollback of non tariff barriers (NTBs). As a follow-up to these recommendations, the Ministers agreed to work out 5-year programmes to:
i) Introduce new items into the PTA Such that items remaining in tile exclusion lists should not account for more than 10% of the traded items of individual countries, and that items remaining in exclusion lists do not account for more than 50% of intra-ASEAN trade value. Efforts would also be made to achieve harmonisation of the exclusion lists, and
ii) Deepen margins of preference for existing items in the PTA to 50%.
5. The Ministers agreed to recommend that the above programmes be implemented from I January 1988. In order to make the improvements to tile PTA scheme ignore predictable and transparent to the private sector, the ASEAN Economic Ministers agreed to publicise the above programmes and their respective product lists before the commencement of the programmes.
6. On the implementation of standstill and rollback of NTBS, the Ministers agreed to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding containing the following salient principles and elements:
i) ASEAN’s commitmeiits on standstill and rollback should go beyond measurcs inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
ii) As member countries have agreed to a standstill on GATT inconsistent measures in the Uruguay Round, only new measures that are GATT consistent may be introduced.
iii) Member countries should unilaterally rollback all GATT inconsistent measures However, with respect to GATT consistent NTBS, ASEAN should negotiate on a preferential basis the rollback of such NTBS. There will be a Surveillance Body responsible for monitoring the adherence of member countries obligations and commitments to the agreement as well as provisions for constiltations and negotiations to take place between member countries in the event of a stispeiisloii and violation of commitments to the agreement.
7. The Ministers recommended that the implementation of the standstill commitments should apply initially for a period of five years within which the negotiation for rollback. of non-tariff measures shall be completed.
8. To enhance intra-ASEAN investments, the Ministers agreed to finalise an ASEAN Investiment Guarantee Agreement before the Third ASEAN Summit. They also endorsed an improved AIJV agreement to be signed before the Summit.
9. The Metting also noted the liberalization of the use of ASEAN Currencies in intra-ASEAN trade which coidd be extended to intra-ASEAN investmient. In order to encourage this development, the Meeting requested ASEAN countries to look further into any existing administrative practices or rules which discourage the private sector from availliig themselves of tile facility.
10. In the ares of transportation and communications, the Ministers agreed the private sector should be encouraged to establish a Broker Telegraph System to facilitate the exchange of information between shipowners and shippers on the availability of shipping space and cargo.
11. The Ministers agreed that ASEAN should enhance closer cooperation and formulate a joint approach on trade in services in the light of its growing importance.
12. The Ministers also reviewed other areas of cooperation discussed at the last meeting, especially commodities, tourism, food, agriculture, forestry, and energy.
13. With regard to Japan’s proposal to set up an ASEAN Development Fund under its new economic cooperation programme to assist in ASEAN economic cooperation and development, the Meeting endorsed a common ASEAN position, Officials from ASEAN and Japan will be meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 12 – 13 November 1987 to discuss the proposed Fund.
14. The Ministers agreed that the ASEAN US Initiative (AUI) should aim to achieve a more predictable access to the US Market for ASEAN Products, to promote greater investment flow and transfer of technology to ASEAN and to provide an additional consultative- mechanism for ASEAN to resolve economic issues with the US. The Ministers further agreed that exploratory discussion on the AUI between coordinators should take place back-to-back with the 8th ASEAN – US Dialogue.
15. The Ministers expressed concern with the anti-tropical oil campaigns in the US and agreed that ASEAN should enhance joint efforts and activities against such campaigns. ASEAN will be sending a, Ministerial delegation to the EC in November 1987 to seew the dropping of the proposed levy on vegetable oils as well as to raise other economic lssues of concern to ASEAN. The delegation will be led by the Minister of Primary Industries, Malaysia, H.E. Dato Dr. Lim Keng Yaik.
16. The Ministers had an informal meeting With the United States Trade Representative, H.E. Mr. Clayton Yeutter, where issues of concern to ASEAN were discussed. These included:
i) US Trade Legislation
ii) ASEAN – US Initiative (AUI)
lii) US GSP
v) Uruguay Round