Facilitating Trade in Agricultural Goods in ASEAN

Project description

Title: Facilitating Trade in Agricultural Goods in ASEAN
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Cambodia: General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), Thailand: National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), Viet Nam: Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Office
Overall term: 2017 to 2019



Only roughly 30 per cent of trade from ASEAN Member States is within ASEAN. In its current strategy paper, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has accordingly determined that trade within the region needs to be increased. Agriculture has been defined as a core sector: Thailand, Viet Nam and Cambodia already trade agricultural goods heavily within ASEAN. 

However, the regulations on food safety and phytosanitary measures and their associated processes are not yet aligned between ASEAN Member States. They are frequently not adapted to ASEAN directives, and the documents are often not available in all relevant languages. In the least developed countries (LDCs) in the ASEAN, relevant provisions are completely lacking in some cases, which removes a legal basis for market supervision of imports and exports, with inspections carried out erratically. These processes are also frequently inefficiently organised. The resulting obstacles to the flow of trade at the borders mean that agricultural goods are stuck at the border for long periods, with the risk of spoiling. Consistent quality of food cannot be guaranteed, and the costs of trade for companies rise. 


Recommendations for aligning regulatory framework and simplifying procedures for food safety and phytosanitary measures have been developed between selected ASEAN Member States and ASEAN.



The project funded by the GIZ Trade for Development Fund is being implemented in collaboration with Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, focusing on the following areas of action:

  • Inventory of existing food safety regulations and phytosanitary measures for selected fruits and vegetables (i.e. chili, banana, dragon fruit, longan, lychee and mango) to identify gaps and barriers between the three countries; 
  • Promote peer-to-peer learning and exchange between partner countries through capacity development and workshops as part to develop recommendations for possible alignment and simplification; and
  • Promote the adoption of good examples at regional level by supporting exchange of lessons learned with ASEAN


  • Inventory and comparative analysis of regulatory framework and procedures related to import, export and transit of selected fruits and vegetables in trade between Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam identified barriers and gaps and recommendations to facilitate trade.
  • Phytosanitary information material on national procedure in Cambodia have been developed and made available online including an application form for phytosanitary certificates to facilitate faster application for traders in Cambodia.
  • Translated relevant International Standards on Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) in local languages contribute to further development of national standards and procedures in line with ISPMs.
  • Support development of national Standard Operating Procedures on relevant phytosanitary measures and procedures to ensure that the implementation is credible and trusted.