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December 1, 2008

Asean Integration Drive:
More imports from Cambodia, Myanmar to granted duty-free treatment

Philippines President Gloria M. Arroyo has granted duty-free privileges to more imports from Cambodia and Myanmar, in line with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Integration System of Preferences (AISP), which seeks to narrow the gap between old and new members of the bloc, reported the Business World daily.

The directive is contained in Executive Order no. 768, signed by the President last November 7.

Under the order, imports from Myanmar that will enjoy a zero tariff are basketballs, wickerwork, "articles made directly to shape from plaiting materials," and articles made of loofah or vegetable materials.

Products from Cambodia that will be duty-free are clothing, specifically women’s or girls’ suits, ensemble jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts; men’s or boys’ shirts, both knitted or crocheted; as well as products made of textiles other than ramie, linen or silk.

The National Economic and Development Authority Board approved the removal of the tariffs of the said items last August 5, the order said.

A preference is a unilateral offer made by old Asean members — or the so-called "preference-giving" countries the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — to new Asean members or the "preference-receiving" countries Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

This is meant to narrow the development gap among these countries and to facilitate the integration of new Asean members.

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