ASEAN member countries have realized the importance of trade between members so that the Leaders of each country had signed the Cebu Declaration which aims to accelerate the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by the year 2015. Therefore, the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standard and
Quality (ACCSQ) was appointed under the ASEAN Economic Ministers in 1992 in order to consider the measures to support and promote the economic integration of ASEAN and to facilitate the economic integration of ASEAN. The major measures are reduction/ abolition of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) which are arising from standards and technical regulations, inspection and certification of goods and harmonization of standards as well as preparation of Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs).
ACCSQ operates by 9 working groups, DSS has participated in the Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group (PFPWG). The PFPWG realize the importance of the establishment of ASEAN Food Reference Laboratory for food contact materials (AFRL) which is a major scientific infrastructure that helps promoting the integration of the ASEAN Community to become single market and single production base.
In the 15th meeting of ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standard and Quality–Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group (ACCSQ-PFPWG) held in Indonesia, DSS was assigned to establish an AFRL. The establishment has been specified in the AEC Scorecard and scheduled to be completed by 2014.
The major activities of establishing AFRL in 2014 are as followings;
- DSS had already completed the on-site visit activities which is one of the key steps for the establishment of AFRL to determine the readiness of DSS to be the AFRL. The on-site visit activities was done by the 3 ASEAN experts; Ms. Joanne Chan Sheot Harn - Expert Panel Leader from Singapore, Ms. Zalilah Nasir - Expert from Malaysia, and Ms. Le Thi Hong Hao - Expert from Vietnam; during 14-15 August 2014.
- DSS provided the training to ASEAN member countries which is one of the key activities of AFRL; namely “Food Contact Materials training”; during 18-22 August 2014. There were 6 participation countries; BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, INDONESIA, MYANMAR, PHILIPPINES, SINGAPORE, and VIETNAM.
- DSS conducted the training “Screening Test for Food Contact Materials by GC-MS” by Mr. Maurus Biederman - Expert from Switzerland, during 8-13 September 2014. The purpose of the training was to enhance the food contact materials analytical testing skills of the scientists in the ASEAN region.
Currently, the status of establishing AFRL was DSS had already been endorsed as the new AFRL by the 19th ACCSQ-PFPWG meeting held in Myanmar during 1-4 September 2014.