ASEAN national authorities are also traditionally reluctant to share or cede sovereignty to the authorities of other ASEAN members (although ASEAN trade ministries regularly conduct cross-border visits to conduct on-site checks as part of anti-dumping investigations). Unlike the EU or NAFTA, joint teams to ensure compliance and control of violations have not been widely used. Instead, ASEAN national authorities must rely on the verification and analysis of other ASEAN national authorities to determine whether AFTA`s measures, such as the rule of origin, are being complied with. Differences of opinion may arise between national authorities. Again, the ASEAN secretariat can help resolve a dispute, but it has no right to resolve it. Although these ASEAN national customs and trade authorities coordinate with each other, disputes can arise. The ASEAN secretariat does not have the legal authority to resolve these disputes, so disputes are resolved bilaterally through informal means or dispute resolution. An Introduction to Tax Treaties Across Asia In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we examine the different types of trade and tax agreements that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment agreements, bilateral double taxation agreements and free trade agreements that cover all companies directly active in Asia.
ASEAN has concluded a number of free trade agreements with other Asian countries that are radically changing the global public procurement and production landscape. It has, for example, a contract with China that has effectively reduced tariff reduction to nearly 8,000 product categories, or 90% of imported goods, to zero. These favourable conditions came into force in China and in ASEAN members, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Negotiations have been slow and it is not certain that the final agreement will be in the form of separate agreements between the EU and the various ASEAN members, which the EU seems to prefer. This would allow European governments not to fulfill all the commitments that support the Burmese regime, but also to deal with the economic heterogeneity among ASEAN members. These two agreements have a collective impact by making ASEAN the strategic hub of global sourcing and manufacturing. With a base of 150 million consumers of the middle class aSEAN, this market, which was then coupled with the 250 million from China and India, represents a middle-class consumer market, with a total free trade of about 650 million people – today. By 2030, in the face of Asia`s growing prosperity and growing dynamism, about 64% of the world`s middle class will be established in Asia, representing 40% of the total global consumption of the middle class. The European Union is considering a bilateral agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On May 4, 2007, the two sides agreed to begin negotiations. ASEAN members have the option of excluding CEPT products in three cases: 1) Temporary exclusions 2.) Sensitive agricultural products 3.) General exceptions.