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11 September 2011

ASEAN starts regulatory reform dialogue

Among many reasons for engaging in international regulatory cooperation, regional economic integration is certainly one of the most promising in terms of competitiveness and growth potential. After devoting a decade (2000-2010) to applying Better Regulation principles to its legal production, the European Union has refined its tools under the name of smart regulation. Other regions are following, as already reported on this blog, including South East Asia and East Africa.
In South East Asia, regional integration took another step forward, as delegates met for the First ASEAN Regulatory Reform Dialogue (ARRD) in Jakarta on July 27. Here are excerpts from the official report online:
“The Dialogue - chaired by Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam -is an important avenue to exchange views and information on regulatory reform efforts and policy measures, and to discuss measures and activities to take forward ASEAN initiatives on regulatory reform related issues.
This effort is a positive and pro-active step towards looking into ways to deal with impediments to trade, and investment facilitation, as ASEAN advances its economic integration.
Specialists in structural and regulatory reforms from the World Bank, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Secretariat, also shared their knowledge, tools, approaches and experiences at the Dialogue.
In today's complex and interconnected world, regulations assume a greater role than ever before as a fundamental tool of government, and an integral part of a well-functioning economy. Regulatory reform is a multi-faceted task that involves various stakeholders, and it requires co-operation between all levels and all stakeholder groups in ASEAN, namely government administration, business, and peoples.
Dato Lim said that "ASEAN is diverse and there is no 'one size fits all' formulation to addressing regulatory reform . but there is scope for a degree of regulatory coherence in many areas, especially in areas committed under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint". He further elaborated that "undertaking regulatory reform will never be an easy task and it is essential to start the process of socialising the issue of regulatory reform within ASEAN today".
The Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, S. Pushpanathan, who participated in the Dialogue, articulated that "behind the border regulatory reform could assist ASEAN countries in realising the full potentials and benefits of trade, investment liberalization, and facilitation at the border." He further added that, "for a successful regulatory reform to take place, it is important that we bring in the private sector and other stakeholders to participate in the regulatory reform and policy-making process".
During the Dialogue, each ASEAN country presented the progress, challenges and issues related to regulatory and structural reform that has and is being undertaken in the areas of trade in services, investment facilitation and transport. The Members then exchanged views on their respective reform efforts and discussed on the possibility of cooperation in these three areas at the regional level.”

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