ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
AEC implementation may be delayed: ASEAN BAC
Saturday, April 18, 2015: THE ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) may not be fully realised by this year with some of the aspects in the AEC Blueprint delayed from its targeted date, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council for Brunei (ASEAN BAC) said in a statement yesterday.
The council, whose Brunei members are Fauziah DSP Hj Talib and Lisa DP Hj Ibrahim, said the AEC 2015 is a “progressive reality that is not to be taken lightly” by businesses in the region as it requires participation and active collaboration on a national and regional level.
“Despite that, we believe that a lot of progress has been made under the pillars of the AEC which are a single market and production base, competitive economic region, equitable economic development and integration with the global economy,” said the statement.
The council noted on some of the steps made such as the substantial reduction of tariff rates which will encourage intra-ASEAN trade in manufactured goods and farm products. Other areas of progress includes the signing of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) in 2012 and the National Single Window (NSW) programme.
The ACIA provides a building block for a better business environment for the private sector while the NSW programme will reduce trade costs among ASEAN economies in the future.
In its response to the recent World Bank report, ASEAN BAC said that the challenge is “still real” for the region with the urgency to realise the AEC “more pressing”.
“Furthermore, there is also real concern that ASEAN’s strategy, when translated within the AEC Blueprint, may not be relevant to 21st century business that leverage on innovative productivity,” the group said.
ASEAN BAC added that a deeper involvement is required from the region’s leaders and business community to implement support programmes that will sustain growth.
This involves working together to identify the non-tariff measures and barriers which hurt growth within the priority sectors in ASEAN.
The World Bank earlier said ASEAN’s services sector still lags behind its other industries despite significant expansion. The Washinton-based lender said ASEAN failed to tap into opportunities in the information technology and business-related services.
“While trade in services has grown rapidly in ASEAN countries, it did not exceed gross domestic product growth unlike in other middle-income and emerging economies,” the World Bank said in its report.--The Brunei Times
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