Effects of AFTA-CEPT on ASEAN Member

Many old ages ago, many enterprises of developing states to set up regional economic integrating, such as ASEAN Free Trade Area were taken by caputs of authorities, or stimulated by international organisations, without any engagement of the private sector. AFTA is a trade axis understanding by the Association of Southeast Asiatic Nations in order to back up local fabrication in all ASEAN states. When it is originally signed, ASEAN had 6 members, which are Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. By now, AFTA consist of 10 states of ASEAN. All of them had signed the AFTA understanding and for the 4 latecomers ( CLMV ) they had been given longer clip to run into AFTA ‘s tariffing decrease duties.

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The ASEAN Heads of Government hope economic sciences in ASEAN go more effectual and competitory in epoch of globalisation by increasing the ASEAN ‘s production through the remotion of non-tariff barriers and low intra-regional duties ( scope from 0 to 5 % ) . Therefore, companies within ASEAN part ( free trade country ) can bask advantage of the economic sciences of graduated table. To accomplish those, an implementing mechanism called the Common Effective Preferential Tariff ( CEPT ) strategy was established and being signed in 1992. AFTA is a corporate attempt by ASEAN members to cut down or extinguish duties on intra-ASEAN trade. The aim of AFTA is to make an incorporate domestic market within ASEAN and increase the part ‘s competitory border as a production base in the universe market.

Enhanced CEPT Agreement 2007

In August 2007, ASEAN agreed to reexamine and update the CEPT Agreement to go a comprehensive Trade in Goods ( TIG ) Agreement for AFTA. The grounds are to update some commissariats to suit the current development in ASEAN every bit good as to amend all past amendments in CEPT understandings in different protocols to be merged into new comprehensive understanding. Besides, the past understandings are found to hold some incompatibilities between the commissariats in the CEPT, so these jobs can be solved. However, how far the AFTA-CEPT aid in liberalisation of the market part and what sort of impacts of AFTA-CEPT can convey to ASEAN in societal and economic facets?

Advantages of AFTA-CEPT for ASEAN Member

The chief advantage of AFTA is increased intra-regional trade and investing and improved resource allotment within the part. These benefits can be captured as duties and other trade barriers are reduced and markets are integrated. But what sort of duties or trade barriers stated in CEPT strategy?

2 classs of duty decreases in CEPT strategy:

The fast-track agenda for duty decrease applies to 15 merchandise groups. Fast path decrease aims at cut downing duties on points presently above 20 % or lower to 5 % by the twelvemonth 1998. Products on fast path strategy are vegetable oils, cement, pharmaceuticals, chemical fertilisers, plastics, gum elastic merchandises, leather or fell merchandises, mush and paper, fabrics and dress, ceramic, glass merchandises, treasures, Cu cathodes, electrical contraptions, and wooden and rattan furniture. Actually, the sectors covered by the Fast Track plan are more than 15 merchandises that had been originally agreed in the 1992 Singapore Declaration. The extra merchandises are mechanical contraptions and mineral merchandises.

For normal path agenda applies to other manufactured goods and it will confront duty decreases in 2 stairss. Tariffs presently above 20 % must be reduced to below 5 % by twelvemonth 2003, while duties presently at 20 % or less than it will cut down it to below 5 % by the twelvemonth 2000.

Non Tariffs Barriers ( NTBs ) mean measures other than duties which efficaciously prohibit or restrict import or export of merchandises within Member States.

Beginnings: Article 1 Agreement on the Common Effective Preferential Tariff Scheme for the AFTA

Example of NTB can be import prohibitions, merchandise criterions, import licences, “ Buy National ” policy, and Intellectual belongings Torahs like patents or right of first publications, restrictive licences, seasonal import governments, graft and corruptness.

Quantitative limitations means restrict or prohibit on trade on other member provinces through quotas, licences, and demands. For illustration the most common is import quota.

Foreign exchange limitations are the measurings taken by the member provinces in the signifier of limitations and other administrative processs in foreign exchange and therefore believe can be effectual in curtailing trade.

Through greater market integrating and trade liberalisation, AFTA will lend to accomplish higher income per capita and economic public assistance, and greater economic resiliency for the regional economic systems. AFTA facilitates specialisation on the footing of comparative advantage, engineering transportation among concerns, and improved resource pricing and direction.

Intra-ASEAN trade has been increasing steadily by 100.33 % from US $ 89.7 billion in 1993 to US $ 179.7 billion in 2000 ( Table 1 ) . At the same clip, the entire planetary trades of ASEAN states contribute to US432.0 billion in 1993 to US $ 782.7 billion in 2000. This shows that per centum of intra-ASEAN trade has been increasing from 20.76 % in twelvemonth 1993 to 22.96 % in 2000. We can therefore see that intra-ASEAN trade is playing increasing of import function in promote the economic system development of ASEAN states.

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The potency of AFTA to farther addition intra-regional trade can non be ignored. As a individual market, AFTA has an estimated population of 513 million and an increasing combined national income from US469.011 billion in1998 to US $ 580.2 billion in 2000 ( Table 2 ) .

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With the enlarge market, AFTA provides an chance for ASEAN endeavors to profit from larger economic systems of graduated table. Businesss are in a better place to reexamine their operational constructions by taking into consideration of a larger market potency than they used to. It is a opportunity for them to overhaul their operations by puting in modern engineerings and larger workss to provide for a larger market. Therefore, engineerings can be exchange and enhanced as the labours can go even more adept. Furthermore, there can be help to advance research and development ( R & A ; D ) in certain sectors as good.

AFTA besides provides an chance for concerns to farther benefit from lower cost inputs. Costss of inputs are expected to cut down due to increased competition among providers. The competition will non merely heighten the efficiency of input providers, but will besides profit other industries by hiking their competitory border as competiveness is the positive impact for better the efficiency of the sectors. To vie with other state, each state will upgrade their production. So, the productiveness is better with the execution of AFTA. Therefore we can reason that competiveness is the positive impact to do ASEAN sectors become better in future as they will bring forth choice goods in big economic sciences graduated table. This can take to chances for concerns to spread out their market. As a consequence of improved efficiency and fight, it opens the window of chance for many domestic endeavors, particularly those in the little and moderate-sized classs, entree to international market.

On the other manus, increased intra-regional trade due to AFTA will heighten ASEAN as an attractive investing location for regional and international investors, by supplying the expected lower costs of making concern in the part. As had been agreed, AFTA does non use a common external duty on imported goods. At most, that is merely 0 boulder clay 5 per centum of duty will bear down among ASEAN state. When there are low or no revenue enhancement in-charge in those imported point, foreign investors will experience attractive to put because of the low investing cost. Those foreign investor will gain more net income if invest on ASEAN sectors and therefore this can assist in allotment of resources more efficaciously. For illustration, one time an investor invests on Malaysia oil thenar industry, there will be more financess to develop oil thenar industry. They can utilize better engineering to pull out latex from oil thenar tree. Puncture tapping or micro tapping which can ensue in an increased production of latex is an illustration of betterment in engineering. In long term, this will further increase the function of ASEAN in lending to planetary growing. At the same clip, it helps ASEAN state to cut down dependance on their traditional trading spouses. Thereby, increase the dickering power of ASEAN states.

As intra-regional trade in goods or ware additions, it will besides hold a trickle-down consequence on the services sector. The demand for services such as transportation, conveyance, storage and repositing, packaging, telecommunications, finance and insurance will spread out consequently. Therefore, we can deduce that AFTA will advance and hike the development of the services sector and farther Foster the economic sciences growing of the state. Hence this can assist to diminish unemployment rate in the state as there is a high demand for labour to work in assortment of the service sectors. So, this can assist the state to accomplish full-employment and cut downing the societal jobs like robbery instances.

Last but non least, we believe that the CEPT strategy will function its intent to accomplish AFTA ultimate end where to guarantee intra-regional trade and investings are enhanced and facilitated where CEPT strategy seeking to allow merchandises exported to measure up as AFTA merchandises and eligible for discriminatory duty intervention where ASEAN has simplified the regulations and processs for CEPT Scheme to promote trade among ASEAN. This is implemented to specific merchandises through the application of Product Specific Rules ( PSR ) in add-on to the bing demand of 40 % local content.

But what is local content and PSR? Products content besides can be called as “ Regional Value Content ” -RVC that originate from any ASEAN state.

The expression to cipher the local content is:

RVC= Raw stuff cost + direct labour cost + direct operating expense cost + net income + other cost x 100 % FOB value

While, PSR is included Change in Chapter ( CC ) , Change in Tariff Heading ( CTH ) , Change in Tariff Sub Heading ( CTSH ) and Process Rule. Both are really under CEPT regulations of beginning. Manufacturers must turn out that the non-originating stuffs in bring forthing the concluding merchandise have undergone significant transmutation through any of the undermentioned methods:

CHANGE IN CHAPTER RULE ( CC ) : Concluding merchandise categorization alterations at the first two digit degree of non arising stuffs. The natural stuffs from non-ASEAN states are derived from other Chapter in order for the concluding merchandise to bask the CEPT rate.

Concluding merchandise

HS 2105.00 Ice Cream


Non-originating ASEAN Material

HS 0401.10Fresh Milk

CHANGE IN TARIFF HEADING ( CTH ) : Concluding merchandise categorization alterations at the first four digit degree of non arising stuffs. The natural stuffs from non-ASEAN states are derived from OTHER HEADING in order for the concluding merchandise to bask the CEPT rate.

Concluding merchandise

HS 1706.00 Chocolate Cream

Non-originating ASEAN Material

HS 1704.00 White Cocoa


CHANGE IN TARIFF SUB-HEADING ( CTSH ) : Concluding merchandise categorization alterations at the first six digit degree of non arising stuffs. The natural stuffs from non-ASEAN states are derived from OTHER SUB HEADING in order for the concluding merchandise to bask the CEPT rate.

Concluding merchandise

HS 1701.11 Refined Sugar

Non-originating ASEAN Material

HS 1701.99 Raw Sugar


Procedure Rule: In this regulation, the merchandises must undergoes chemical reaction procedure. The chemical reaction procedure are known as biochemical procedure which consequences in a molecule with a new construction by interrupting intramolecular bonds and organizing new intramolecular bonds, or by changing the spacial agreement of atoms in a molecule.Example of the merchandises are textile, Cu and chemical merchandises. The Product Specific Rules presently being implemented are as follows:

Effective day of the months

No of lines


1 January 1996


Fabric, Wood based, aluminium and wheat flour

1 January 2007


All sectors

1 August 2008


All sectors

By making so, this no uncertainty can assist to heighten rapid growing and fight of the ASEAN as more merchandises can be exported as ASEAN merchandises and bask CEPT duty strategy. Therefore, together with political and economic stableness of the state, every bit good as cooperation and partnership in ASEAN can do the enterprisers choose to merchandise and making concern within ASEAN part. The economic sciences chances of ASEAN can said to be bright.

Disadvantages of AFTA for ASEAN Members

AFTA, or the ASEAN Free Trade understanding, turn out that is good to all the ASEAN states. However, there are pros and cons of this understanding. The chief disadvantage of AFTA is the common external duty or the CEPT. This duty is non applicable on all import goods. There is a charge or duty imposed on the imported goods, which is non good from the point of position of client. The goods that are imported from outside the non-participating ASEAN states are to a great extent taxed.

With the larger market size, consumers in ASEAN are now offered a wider assortment of quality goods produced regionally at lower monetary values. However, there is increasing competition for domestic industries for certain merchandises, due to the liberalized market. This could be illustrated from the impact of execution of AFTA on Malaysia ‘s car industry. Previously, Malaysia used local policies and charged high import responsibility on import autos to protect national autos, domestic assembly programs and constituent parts shapers. With debut of AFTA, duties at 20 % and below will be reduced to 0-5 % within 7 old ages ( effectual by 1 January 2000 ) . It means that all trade barriers will be removed and these have negative deductions for future development of local automotive industry. As we know, last clip people buy national autos because it ‘s cheaper than import autos, but with the decrease of duty, monetary value for import autos is about the same as national autos. Therefore, with the apprehensiveness in heads that import autos are high category and quality confidence, Malaysians prefer to purchase foreign autos with merely a somewhat higher monetary value. Firms that are little and inefficient in operation will fall in because can non vie with others.

All non-tariff barriers must take analogue on merchandises whose duties are being reduced. This policy has been carried out to forestall return of non-tariff barriers in merchandises confronting duty decrease under CEPT Scheme. It means that merchandises which were antecedently under quota limitations or import prohibition, in order to protect local good, is no more protected. In this context, all protection regulations and policies are removed, such as AP, quota system and monopoly position. The states no more competitory advantage when all merchandises are equal from quality and monetary value.

Execution could do declined fight of traditional export industries. The jobs are more critical in the CLMV ( Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam ) . The states are confronting jobs such as deficiency of adequately trained and skilled human resources in all countries of activities and sectors. This lack is permeant. Furthermore, with the rapid technological progress, many traditional industries in the ASEAN states particularly CLMV go disused. The engineerings used can non catch up with the gait of development of other more developed states. Furthermore, there is apprehensiveness in the heads of many that merchandises from CLMV states are comparatively low quality from their more comfortable neighbours such as Malaysia, Singapore which will ensue in prostration of the nascent fabrication sector.

Very late, ASEAN abolished about 63 per centum of the responsibility charges on about all the merchandises in intra-ASEAN trade, or trading among take parting Asiatic states. The import revenue enhancements and responsibility charges have been cancelled on a figure of common goods to ease the trade processes. Anyway, some industries that have been exempted from this regulation are rice, tropical fruits, pieces, baccy, sugar, and spirits. By excepting these industries, AFTA is holding a negative impact on the local husbandmans in different Asiatic states who are seeking to maintain mentioned industries alive.

AFTA-CEPT strategy besides said to convey negative impacts on nutrient security in and out of the state. It can be proved when AFTA reduced the duties on 1000s of ASEAN merchandises to between nothing and 5 % from Jan 1 this twelvemonth. As one of the universe ‘s major farm goods exporters, Thailand is peculiarly concerned about the duty cuts on 23 farm points. The Commerce Ministry expects half of the 23 farm merchandise to endure a negative impact from AFTA, including garlic, onions, rice, baccy, corn and palm oil. These impacts range from an inflow of inexpensive green goods from neighbouring states to the commixture of poor-quality imported goods with high-quality farm merchandises produced in Thailand. Organic husbandman Decha Siripat, manager of the Khao Kwan Foundation, said the authorities could safeguard Thai husbandmans from AFTA merely by work outing bing jobs they had faced for old ages. The most distressing job was widespread usage of farm chemicals and fertilisers which are expensive and harm husbandmans ‘ wellness and the environment.

In export footings, ASEAN states will derive an estimated US $ 3-4bilion from release, but benefits from AFTA will be distributed unevenly throughout part. Although industries which adjust rapidly plenty will profit from hypertrophied possible market in Asean, but industries which are slower to set will endure because import incursion will be unstoppable. ( Beginning: Asean free trade understanding, deductions and future waies ) . As we know, removed barriers of entry and duty decrease cause certain industries confronting reduced competitory advantage. The industries need to do alterations to accommodate to the new concern environment, such as tight cost control, efficient operating or cutting costs to accomplish cost leading. Those industries that are slow in response or non good in scheme direction will be slowdown far behind and possibly will discontinue from the market.

Even though we can said that cooperation through AFTA-CEPT would take an addition in trade efficiency and procure a more economical allotment of resources, but we must recognize that really AFTA involves 10 states with different background of economic sciences, therefore it faces jobs in procuring internal execution. For illustration, each member states are clearer of their ain big external seeking than it is about its internal aims every bit good as retains the right to set up its ain separate protection against imports from the remainder of the universe. They besides have their specific sectors to be protected. Examples are the car industry for Malaysia, machinery and electrical contraptions sectors in Brunei, chemicals sector in Indonesia, textiles sectors in the Philippines, and vehicles sectors in Thailand. Thus those merchandises are under Temporary Exclusions, ‘the state itself may non cook to include some sensitive merchandises in the CEPT strategy and would wish to except it on a impermanent period ‘ . Within the current model of AFTA, each state is acted as individualistic instead than collaborative or complementary with one another. This non-collective planning and schemes among ASEAN members raises the possibilities of a peculiarly dark scenario trade warp to take topographic point. With the continuity of this unhealthy tendency non merely makes ASEAN as a whole might non derive jointly from AFTA, so all of them might be worse off.


Actually there are a figure of troubles in measuring the effects of AFTA. As there are a figure of other things go oning at the same clip as its execution, it is by no agencies easy to insulate its effects. For case, the Asiatic fiscal crisis of 1997/98 may hold influenced trade flows during the AFTA execution. Although the understanding came into consequence in January 1992, non all duties between the original six ASEAN members were removed on that day of the month. Indeed, for most trade goods, there was a agenda over a 10 to 15 twelvemonth period during which duties would be phased out. Trade liberalisation both under the World Trade Organization and one-sidedly by some states are being undertaken at the same clip as AFTA ‘s execution, and could hold doubtless affected trade forms.

However, we still can non deny where AFTA-CEPT can convey positive every bit good as negative impacts to ASEAN. Positive impacts of AFTA are increasing intra-regional trade and investing, better resource allotment within the part, achieve higher income per capita and economic public assistance and greater economic resiliency for regional economic systems, facilitates specialisation, lower cost inputs, addition chances for concern to spread out market, enhance ASEAN as attractive investing location for regional and international investors, and promote and encouragement development of the services sector.

On the other manus, AFTA besides give disadvantage for some occasions or conditions. Negative impacts of AFTA on ASEAN members are increasing competition for domestic industries for certain merchandises, and worsen fight of traditional export industries.

As an overall decision, the basic characteristic of the AFTA is the liberalisation of trade in the part, done through the riddance of intra-regional duty and non-tariff barriers. As good, AFTA besides have their specific advantages and disadvantages. The execution is of import because the impact of AFTA will act upon the hereafter of ASEAN members.


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