JAKARTA – The ASEAN Secretariat organised a two-day High-Level Policy Dialogue on Labour and Environment in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on August 15-16 to discuss the linkages between trade, environment and labour.

In his opening remark, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak highlighted that in recent years the world has witnessed the broadening of scope and coverage of FTAs beyond market access. He added that ‘there is a growing realisation of the need for ASEAN to be more proactive in looking into its concerns and positions on such issues.”

The dialogue underscored the importance of labour and environmental considerations in relation to trade and the potential contribution of trade to their objectives, while recognising the different priorities, levels of development, and regulatory readiness among economies. It also emphasised the fundamental principle that environment and labour related measures shall not serve as disguised restrictions to trade.

Supported by the USAID’s Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade, and E-Commerce Project and the ASEAN-USAID Partnership for Regional Optimisation within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities Project, the dialogue brought together Chairs, Leaders and representatives of Senior Economic Officials Meeting, ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment, and Senior Labour Officials Meeting, as well as Chairs or representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, ASEAN Committee on Women, and the Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development.

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