September 9, 2021. Director Myer G. Mula of the BAFS, as the outgoing Chair of the Expert Working Group on Organic Agriculture (ASEAN EWG-OA), formally opened the 4th Workshop for the Development of Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for Organic Agricultural Products with the goal of enhancing and facilitating trade of organic products, economic integration, expanding market access, and ensuring sustainable agricultural production within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Region. The workshop was attended by delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, and from the ASEAN Secretariat.
Photo 1. Screengrab of the participants of the 4th Workshop for the Development of the
ASEAN MRA for organic agricultural products (8 September 2021)
The workshop was held virtually through Zoom on 8-9 September 2021, and moderated by EU ARISE Plus experts, Mr. Rajinder Raj Sud, Mr. Ridzwan Kasim, and Mr. Parama Subramaniam. The extensive discussions were held on the comments from the AMS on the draft ASEAN MRA for organic agricultural products and ASEAN Certification Scheme for Organic Agriculture.
The development of the ASEAN MRA for organic agricultural products commenced in 2019 with Thailand as the lead country and technical assistance is being provided by the EU ARISE Plus project through its commissioned expert on MRAs. In collaboration with Thailand, EU ARISE Plus initiated the development of the 1st draft of the MRA, and continuously consulted salient issues of the sectoral MRA and the proposed contents with the EWG-OA through a series of workshops, which thereafter resulted in further revisions of the draft MRA.
The said initiative is one of two activities of the ASEAN EWG-OA under Strategic Thrust 2 (Enhance Trade Facilitation, Economic Integration, and Market Access) of the Plan of Action for the ASEAN Cooperation on Organic Agriculture (2021-2025). ####