In 1997, the ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 with the goal of creating closer economic integration in the region leading to an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC aims to establish ASEAN as a single market and production base and enhance ASEAN’s economic competitiveness.One of the key goal of AEC is to eliminate Non-Tariff Barrier to Trade, which include technical barriers in the form of diverse national regulations and standards. The key body in ASEAN responsible for removing these technical barriers to trades is the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ). The overall plan is to take a regional approach to harmonize technical regulations and standards, and develop mutual recognition arrangements for test and certification.
ACCSQ – Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group ACCSQ PFPWG
The ACCSQ PFPWG was established was established to assist ACCSQ in addressing the elimination of technical barriers to trades for prepared foodstuff among Member States. The ACCSQ PFPWG consists of regulators from the food authorities in 10 ASEAN Member Status and the current Chair and Co-Chair of PFPWG are Indonesia and Thailand respectively. The PFPWG’s activities include
· Identifying areas for harmonisation and mutual recognition
· Develop, implement and monitor the sectoral Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs)
· Identify the technical infrastructure needs and build-up mutual confidence in testing and conformity assessment
· Exchange of information on standards, regulations, procedures and mandatory requirements in Member Countries related to prepared foodstuff. Review and analyze the comparative study of regulatoryregimes among Member Countries.
To date, the PFPWG has developed the following guidelines
· ASEAN General Standards for the Labelling Prepackaged Food
· ASEAN Maximum Level for Food Additives for Prepared Foodstuff Products
· ASEAN Principles and Criteria for The Establishment of Maximum Level for Contaminants and Toxins in Food and Feed
· ASEAN Food Safety Policy
· ASEAN Principles and Guidelines for National Food Control Systems
· ASEAN General Principles of Food Hygiene
· ASEAN Guidelines for the Design, Operation, Assessment and Accreditation of Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems
· ASEAN Guidelines for Food Import Control Systems
· Guidelines for ASEAN Food Reference Laboratories
· ASEAN Principles for Food Import and Export Inspection and Certification
As the PFPWG continue to meet on regular basis to discuss on the areas for harmonisation and mutual recognition, it is hoped that areas such as Nutrition Labelling could be considered for harmonisation.
ACCSQ – Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Product Working Group ACCSQ TMHS PWG
The ACCSQ TMHS PWG was established in the year 2004 to look into the harmonisation of Traditional Medicines and Health supplements products. The ACCSQ TMHS PWG consist of regulators from the food and drug authorities in the 10 ASEAN Member States, as well as representatives from the Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements industry respectively. The current Chair is from Singapore and Co-chair is from Myanmar. The key tasks for TMHS PWG is to identify and development technical standards and requirements for harmonisation, as well as legally binding agreement to implement these technical standards and requirements. The following technical standards/requirements was identified, developed and agreed upon. These technical standards/requirements will be annexed in the Agreement, which is still under development. The next TMHS PWG meeting, which will be held end of October 2018 in Indonesia, aims to finalise the agreement. The target implementation date based on the current timeline will be end of 2024.
- Annex I – ASEAN Guiding Principles for Inclusion into or Exclusion from the Negative List of Substances for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex II – ASEAN Guiding Principles for the Use of Additives and Excipients in Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex III – ASEAN Guidelines on Limits of Contaminants for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex IV – ASEAN Guidelines for Minimising the Risk of Transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex V – ASEAN Guidelines on Stability and Shelf-Life of Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex VI – ASEAN Guiding Principles on Safety Substantiation for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex VII – ASEAN Guidelines on Claims and Claims Substantiation for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex VIII – ASEAN Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex IX – ASEAN Guidelines on Labeling Requirements for Traditional Medicines (Health Supplements);
- Annex X – ASEAN General Principles for Establishing Maximum Levels of Vitamins and Minerals in Health Supplements
Note: There will be 2 separate agreements for Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements.