Other ASEAN agreements are being negotiated, including with Japan, which already has a number of important economic partnerships, while South Korea already has a free trade agreement. Both resemble the above – the reduction of more than 90% of all goods traded between ASEAN and these countries. The manufacturing trend is therefore to continue to develop products for this huge consumer market, but to place the production capacity needed for this purpose on a cheaper site. The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with China allows regional companies and MNN in Asia to do so. This is a trend that is already underway – as we are seeing with Foxconn, the manufacturer of many components that end up in Apple products, who want to relocate their 1.3 million workers from China and Indonesia, where wages are lower and where there is a large and available workforce. This is a solid strategy that is increasingly being adopted by many manufacturers. An Introduction to Tax Treaties Across Asia In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we examine the different types of trade and tax agreements that exist between Asian nations. These include bilateral investment agreements, bilateral double taxation agreements and free trade agreements that cover all companies directly active in Asia. ASEAN has concluded a number of free trade agreements with other Asian countries that are radically changing the global public procurement and production landscape. It has, for example, a contract with China that has effectively reduced tariff reduction to nearly 8,000 product categories, or 90% of imported goods, to zero. These favourable conditions came into force in China and in ASEAN members, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
ASEAN national authorities are also traditionally reluctant to share or cede sovereignty to the authorities of other ASEAN members (although ASEAN trade ministries regularly conduct cross-border visits to conduct on-site checks as part of anti-dumping investigations). Unlike the EU or NAFTA, joint teams to ensure compliance and control of violations have not been widely used. Instead, ASEAN national authorities must rely on the verification and analysis of other ASEAN national authorities to determine whether AFTA`s measures, such as the rule of origin, are being complied with. Differences of opinion may arise between national authorities. Again, the ASEAN secretariat can help resolve a dispute, but it has no right to resolve it. This new analysis proposes to examine two key areas, including port facilities and competitiveness in Internet services. According to the report, reforms in these areas could increase ASEAN trade by 7.5% ($22 billion) and 5.7% ($17 billion). On the other hand, a reduction in tariffs on all ASEAN members on the South-East Asia regional average would increase intra-regional trade by about 2% ($6.3 billion).  The ASEAN bloc has largely eliminated all import and export taxes on goods traded between them, with the exception of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which continue to impose nominal tariffs on certain items. But these will also be fully lifted on 31 December 2015, so that the entire region will be duty-free from that date. The United States, the European Union and Japan continued to be ASEAN`s main export markets. Japan, followed by the United States