ASEAN Economic Community behind schedule: Report

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AEC puzzleThe hope for a timely launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by end-2015, which has long been trumpeted by former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan and been reiterated by his successor Le Luong Minh, is increasingly fading.

A report published by the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute on June 20, titled The ASEAN Economic Community: The Status of Implementation, Challenges and Bottlenecks, clearly states that an ASEAN single market, initiated in 2007, is unlikely to come into effect on schedule due to unsettled problems among member states.

It may not be fully implemented in 2015 as it appears there is a mismatch between political ambition and political will among several member states, the report said. The integration was behind schedule anyway, it added, fears that have already been voiced by economists.

Since the ASEAN Secretariat relies on the member states — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — to fill the ASEAN scorecard, the results do not mirror real achievements, according to the research.

“The scorecard is the main indicator of progress, but there is political spin because no country wants to be seen as being behind the others,” Joern Dosch, the report’s principal author, said during the report’s launch in Kuala Lumpur.

The report shows that in 2011, trade within ASEAN only accounted for 25 per cent of total ASEAN trade, down from 25.4 per cent a year earlier and from 25.5 per cent in 2009. Member states still put more emphasis on trade relations between the association and other countries, such as Japan and China, the report says.

The report also highlights the economic and development gap of member states that serves as an obstacle to AEC realisation.

The report also quoted a 2012 survey from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council on ASEAN competitiveness, which stated only 25 per cent of the respondents said they used preferential trade provisions in ASEAN when doing business and 29 percent of them planned to use the provisions. The other 46 per cent said they did not use the provisions, with many of them not even realising the provisions existed.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The hope for a timely launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by end-2015, which has long been trumpeted by former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan and been reiterated by his successor Le Luong Minh, is increasingly fading.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

AEC puzzleThe hope for a timely launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by end-2015, which has long been trumpeted by former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan and been reiterated by his successor Le Luong Minh, is increasingly fading.

A report published by the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute on June 20, titled The ASEAN Economic Community: The Status of Implementation, Challenges and Bottlenecks, clearly states that an ASEAN single market, initiated in 2007, is unlikely to come into effect on schedule due to unsettled problems among member states.

It may not be fully implemented in 2015 as it appears there is a mismatch between political ambition and political will among several member states, the report said. The integration was behind schedule anyway, it added, fears that have already been voiced by economists.

Since the ASEAN Secretariat relies on the member states — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — to fill the ASEAN scorecard, the results do not mirror real achievements, according to the research.

“The scorecard is the main indicator of progress, but there is political spin because no country wants to be seen as being behind the others,” Joern Dosch, the report’s principal author, said during the report’s launch in Kuala Lumpur.

The report shows that in 2011, trade within ASEAN only accounted for 25 per cent of total ASEAN trade, down from 25.4 per cent a year earlier and from 25.5 per cent in 2009. Member states still put more emphasis on trade relations between the association and other countries, such as Japan and China, the report says.

The report also highlights the economic and development gap of member states that serves as an obstacle to AEC realisation.

The report also quoted a 2012 survey from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council on ASEAN competitiveness, which stated only 25 per cent of the respondents said they used preferential trade provisions in ASEAN when doing business and 29 percent of them planned to use the provisions. The other 46 per cent said they did not use the provisions, with many of them not even realising the provisions existed.

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