ASEAN member countries have stated that they have strengthened efforts to facilitate and reduce barriers for intra-bloc trade in the processed food sector while protecting consumers in the region.

They gathered at a meeting between the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group (PFPWG) and relevant ASEAN groups on health and agriculture, which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia from November 18-20.

Delegates discussed issues related to management systems and appropriate assessment procedures required to stimulate the internal market for processed foodstuff while protecting consumers.

They also exchanged views on food trade in ASEAN as well as concerns and expectations of the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and put forth recommendations to promote the development of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement for the prepared foodstuff sector among member countries.

At the meeting, representatives from the EU’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers and the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance shared their knowledge and experience in removing trade barriers while ensuring food safety for consumers.-VNA