AEC formation awaiting consensus on date

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Dr Surin Pitsuwan interviewed by Al Jazeera at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 in Doha

The formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the implementation of a currency authority for the ten ASEAN member states were discussed by ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 held on October 8 and 9 in Doha, Qatar.

The economic integration of the 10-nation bloc in 2015, which has previously been reported as being stalled, will continue as planned, Pitsuwan assured a room full of local and international media.

“We need to clarify a date first,” Dr Pitsuwan said.

“We have been discussing an appropriate anniversary with which to form the AEC, but it will be in 2015.”

First collecting consensus on the exact date follows the overarching objective of the community to create a unifying identity for the 600-million-people bloc, an economically disparate region that includes countries at different stages of economic and social development.

“The AEC is being designed so that all 10 nations can walk together in the same direction,” Pitsuwan said.

Once formed, member states will liberalise the flow of labour and goods, along with integrating their capital markets. Taking into consideration the pains dealt by the single-currency regime created in the euro zone, policy makers have also discussed using a stable currency system in ASEAN instead of creating a new one, Pitsuwan said.

“The Chinese yuan, the Singapore dollar, with the Brunei dollar pegged to it, and the Japanese yen are being considered as reference currencies,” he said.

One or all three of the proposed currencies might be used to define a stable reference currency band for all currencies in the AEC, with a respective AEC monetary authority located in Singapore, Pitsuwan mentioned.

Interview with Dr. Surin Pitsuwan by Al Jazeera at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012

South China Sea dispute

China’s economic influence over Southeast Asia has supported its steadfast claims over disputed islands in the South China Sea, wrangling in Vietnam and the Philippines in particular to continued bouts of China-style brinkmanship that has captured world headlines. Establishing a body of norms to diffuse tension in the South China Sea will be a task inherited by the following secretary general after Pitsuwan hands over the baton of the non-renewable five-year term to Vietnam’s current deputy foreign minister, Le Luong Minh.

A “Code of Conduct” will be formed, said Pitsuwan.

“The South China Sea situation is not only important to Asia, but to the world. It is the artery of global trade,” he said.

Indeed, secure passage through the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait is a large focus of China’s national security policy, through both of which flow the country’s trade of exports and energy supplies. Citing a meeting between Southeast Asian and Chinese officials in Phnom Penh in September, Pitsuwan confirmed that progress is already underway for implementing the Code of Conduct, which he said should be finalised and implemented in 2013.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr Surin Pitsuwan interviewed by Al Jazeera at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 in Doha

The formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the implementation of a currency authority for the ten ASEAN member states were discussed by ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 held on October 8 and 9 in Doha, Qatar.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr Surin Pitsuwan interviewed by Al Jazeera at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 in Doha

The formation date of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the implementation of a currency authority for the ten ASEAN member states were discussed by ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012 held on October 8 and 9 in Doha, Qatar.

The economic integration of the 10-nation bloc in 2015, which has previously been reported as being stalled, will continue as planned, Pitsuwan assured a room full of local and international media.

“We need to clarify a date first,” Dr Pitsuwan said.

“We have been discussing an appropriate anniversary with which to form the AEC, but it will be in 2015.”

First collecting consensus on the exact date follows the overarching objective of the community to create a unifying identity for the 600-million-people bloc, an economically disparate region that includes countries at different stages of economic and social development.

“The AEC is being designed so that all 10 nations can walk together in the same direction,” Pitsuwan said.

Once formed, member states will liberalise the flow of labour and goods, along with integrating their capital markets. Taking into consideration the pains dealt by the single-currency regime created in the euro zone, policy makers have also discussed using a stable currency system in ASEAN instead of creating a new one, Pitsuwan said.

“The Chinese yuan, the Singapore dollar, with the Brunei dollar pegged to it, and the Japanese yen are being considered as reference currencies,” he said.

One or all three of the proposed currencies might be used to define a stable reference currency band for all currencies in the AEC, with a respective AEC monetary authority located in Singapore, Pitsuwan mentioned.

Interview with Dr. Surin Pitsuwan by Al Jazeera at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012

South China Sea dispute

China’s economic influence over Southeast Asia has supported its steadfast claims over disputed islands in the South China Sea, wrangling in Vietnam and the Philippines in particular to continued bouts of China-style brinkmanship that has captured world headlines. Establishing a body of norms to diffuse tension in the South China Sea will be a task inherited by the following secretary general after Pitsuwan hands over the baton of the non-renewable five-year term to Vietnam’s current deputy foreign minister, Le Luong Minh.

A “Code of Conduct” will be formed, said Pitsuwan.

“The South China Sea situation is not only important to Asia, but to the world. It is the artery of global trade,” he said.

Indeed, secure passage through the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait is a large focus of China’s national security policy, through both of which flow the country’s trade of exports and energy supplies. Citing a meeting between Southeast Asian and Chinese officials in Phnom Penh in September, Pitsuwan confirmed that progress is already underway for implementing the Code of Conduct, which he said should be finalised and implemented in 2013.

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