ASEAN agrees to ease customs procedures and coordinate standards

ASEAN has agreed to work on simplifying the region's customs procedure and coordinating the products standards in the region to boost trade with Japan after it had a discussion with Japanese business leaders at a three-day dialogue in Kuala Lumpur.

ASEAN Deputy Secretary General, Pushpanathan Sundram said laxed regulations, the current customs procedure and gaps in product standards within ASEAN's member states remain a stumbling block in trade with Japan. "We are looking into streamlining the custom procedures, making it easier for trade," Pushpanathan said, giving a timeframe that these issues would be resolved by 2015.

The bloc is currently testing the ASEAN Single Window, a digitised system aimed at easing the filing of import and export documents and ultimately the flow of goods in trade within and beyond ASEAN.