EuroCham Logistics Special Report: EU’s ASSIST tool coming

Companies engaged in intra-ASEAN trade will soon be able to use the ASSIST online tool to raise specific trade-related issues to the governments of ASEAN member states.
On 5th July, EuroCham Cambodia participated in an event coordinated by the EU Delegation promoting the soon-to-be-launched ASSIST online tool. The tool, developed with EU technical cooperation to support ASEAN economic integration, provides ASEAN-based companies opportunity to easily report trade-related complaints to ASEAN Member State governments and receive practical solutions in response.

Who can use the tool?
The ASSIST (ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade) tool is available to use free-of-charge by any company that is legally registered in any of the ten ASEAN countries. It should be noted that the tool addresses issues relating to intra-ASEAN trade, not domestic issues with your host government. Cambodian businesses can use the tool to raise concerns with the governments of neighboring countries, and if encountering challenges on the Cambodian side of the border, your trading partner in another ASEAN country could use the tool to raise these concerns to the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Trade associations and business chambers are equally welcome to use the tool, and companies who wish to maintain anonymity in raising concerns are free to request business associations to issue a complaint on their behalf. EuroCham Cambodia will be happy to provide this service to our members.
Initially the tool will apply only to trade in goods, but as the region continues its integration ASSIST will address trade in services and even troublesome government measures that restricts investment.

How does it work?
The ASSIST program has been formally endorsed by the economic ministers of each of the ten ASEAN countries, each of whom has appointed a National Focal Point tasked with ensuring that issues raised to their country through the ASSIST tool are properly addressed.

ASEAN-based companies or business associations can use the ASSIST tool to raise concerns in English language about any trade restriction being encountered at the borders of other ASEAN nations. Examples include:
- Application of tariff measures when goods should be tariff-free under ATIGA
- Challenges in having Certificates of Origin accepted
- Non-tariff measures such as labelling requirements, phyto-sanitary checks, quotas, mandatory use of national services, etc.

Your company will be asked to provide descriptions of the problem, supporting documentation (if available) and references to any applicable national or ASEAN agreements. The ASSIST Secretariat in Jakarta will receive the complaint, confirm its validity, then forward it to the responsible National Focal Point who will speak to the relevant authorities provide a practical response to the company within 40-60.

Will it really be effective?
ASSIST will be launched in September at the annual ASEAN Economic Summit in Vientiane, and the decision to launch at such a high-level forum demonstrates the commitment of Member State governments. Training workshops such as that attended by EuroCham Cambodia are being undertaken across all ten countries.

Within Cambodia it is the Ministry of Economy and Finance who will have overall responsibility for coordinating the country’s response to issues raised by companies in other ASEAN countries, with the Department of Economic Integration & ASEAN, appointed to serve as National Focal Point and was enthusiastic about the tool during the awareness event.

Annual Platinum Partners

Annual Gold Partners

Founding Chambers & National Chapters