Ministers also addressed the issue of cross-border crime and welcomed the ASEAN-China agreement on non-traditional security issues and stressed the need for cooperation in counter-terrorism, in particular within the framework of the ASEAN-US Counter-Terrorism Work Plan and other related agreements. Negotiations are also under way with Myanmar (Burma) for an investment protection agreement. Other ASEAN treaties are being negotiated, including with Japan, which already has a series of far-reaching economic partnerships, while South Korea already has a free trade agreement. Both are similar to the above – the more than 90% reduction in all goods traded between ASEAN and these countries. Introduction to tax treaties across Asia In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we see the different types of trade and tax treaties that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment agreements, double taxation treaties and free trade agreements that have a direct impact on companies operating in Asia. While China already has a number of bilateral trade agreements, this is the first time it has signed a regional multilateral trade pact. On January 11 and 14, the 12th ASEAN summit was held, postponed due to Typhoon Seniang, amid controversies over corruption and overvaluation of lamps that illuminated routes to and between summit sites. On the first day of the summit, ASEAN signed five agreements: a declaration for a community of care and sharing, a declaration on the ASEAN Charter plan, a declaration on accelerating the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, the ASEAN declaration on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and the ASEAN Agreement on Combating Terrorism (ACCT). The general exceptions concern products that an ASEAN Member deems necessary for the protection of national security, public morals, the protection of the life and health of persons, animals or plants, and the protection of objects of artistic, historical or archaeological value. ASEAN members agreed to adopt zero tariffs by 2010 for the original signatories on virtually all imports and for cmLV countries by 2015. Unlike the EU, AFTA does not apply common external customs duties to imported goods. Any ASEAN member may, on the basis of its domestic calendars, impose tariffs on goods imported from outside ASEAN.

However, for products originating in ASEAN, ASEAN members must apply a duty rate of 0-5% (the young members of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, also known as cmLVs, have been granted additional time to implement the reduced rates). This is called the common effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT). There has been some resistance, especially where the issue of China`s higher infrastructure is being addressed. However, countries throughout ASEAN have upgraded an upgrade, particularly ASEAN 6. . . .