ASEAN-China FTA negotiations stall

The two sides were due to agree on schedules for the liberalization of merchandise trade by the end of the month. bq. Ong, the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the absence of a common position by Southeast Asian countries on which products should be included in a basket of goods to be liberalised could delay an agreement on the chapter covering trade in goods.(“ChannelNewsAsia”: Why can’t the ASEAN’s agree on the goods to put in the ‘liberalization basket’ (forget the WTO rules that say substantially all trade must be liberalized)? Because ASEAN’s own free trade area is “dogged”: by a host of different liberalization ‘baskets’, including different products assigned by each member country to its self-declared temporary, transitional and permanent exclusion lists.

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