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Readying for ASEAN single market

Posted by graham on August 16th, 2013 in Business Trends in the Philippines

By: Albert F. Del Rosario (Secretary of Foreign Affairs)

The Philippine government is gearing up for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) regional economic integration, whose goal is to establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. It is partnering with the business community for a unified stand on trade and liberalization issues. A public-private technical working group (TWG) was created to prepare for intra-regional competition under the ASEAN single market. The working group is composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, the Makati Business Club, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ASEAN, whose motto is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community,” reported that its 10 member-states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – are on track to complete the measures needed to integrate their economies by 2015. AEC 2015 will be a milestone for ASEAN since its creation in Bangkok, Thailand on August 8, 1967. It is premised on three pillars of ASEAN cooperation: Political-Security Community, Economic Community, and Socio-Cultural Community.

ASEAN said it has implemented on its March 2013 report, nearly 80 percent of the measures in the AEC Blueprint. Negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership among member-states and their six free-trade-agreement partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand – have started to promote ASEAN’s emerging role as integration hub in Asia Pacific. By 2015, ASEAN envisions an economic community having a single market and production distribution base based on five core elements: Freer flow of capital, free flow of goods, free flow of services, free flow of investment, and free low of skilled labor. Under AEC, import duties for ASEAN products and services will be cut to zero, and all economic sectors will be open for investment, with equal treatment of ASEAN investors by member-states.

AEC came about during the 2nd ASEAN Informal Summit in Malaysia in 1997 when Leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020 focusing on economic development and regional integration. The vision was concretized through the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II in 2003. At the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu in January 10-15, 2007, the Leaders signed the Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. The goal was moved five years earlier with the signing of the Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration on the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015) during the 14th ASEAN Summit in Thailand.

We congratulate the Department of Foreign Affairs headed by Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, Makati Business Club Chairman Ramon R. del Rosario Jr., and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Atty. Miguel B. Varela, and other Officers, for enhancing government and private sector involvement for the building of the ASEAN Economic Community in the Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!