The Summit was held last week in Vientiane, Laos, and saw members South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand agreeing to destroy non-tariff barriers as a means of tackling this problem.
Although initiatives by the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements have led to a fall in worldwide tariffs during the last 15 years, non-tariff barriers have more than quadrupled in the same period.
Cosmetics and personal care trade being limited
For cosmetics and personal care businesses, particularly the large multinational players, these non-tariff barriers can have a significant impact on business because they restrict imports and exports of any products that are listed as such, with cosmetics and personal care often cited.
Demands to tackle the growing problem were led by Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korea’s Korea’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Resources, which stated its concerns about protectionism spreading worldwide.
The South Korean representative suggested that the solution would be to remove non-tariff barriers as a means of curbing a growing tide of protectionism, and Japan, Australia and New Zealand all agreed to move ahead with this goal.
The first moves towards this goal will be triggered by research findings from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), a think tank of the EAS that provides information on development, sustainability, human resources development and the end goal of more informed policy recommendations.
The participating countries have also agreed to setting up of subcommittees by sector, with the cosmetics and personal care industry featuring as one of the dedicated groups.
EAS builds on its international gravitas
The East Asia Summit has been held annually since 2005 and originally included all ASEAN countries, together with Japan, China and South Korea.
Since then its gravitas and influence on worldwide affairs and economics has grown, thanks mainly to the extension of membership beyond the original 16 countries, to also include the USA and Russia in 2011.
The addition of these two economic powerhouses and their geographical positioning outside the Asia Pacific region has lent renewed global influence on international affairs, so the latest summit meeting aims to capitalize on that position.