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Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015

Challenges for Member Countries and Businesses

Sanchita Basu Das

Publication Year: 2012

ASEAN leaders proclaimed to create an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. But achieving the target requires cooperation and coordination both within and among the ten ASEAN economies. Currently, with countries having varying considerations towards complete liberalization, protectionism still persists in certain sectors of the economies. A lot of work needs to be done in addressing the domestic reforms, the gaps in infrastructure, the lack of human resources and adequate institutions. Moreover, it is the businesses whose decisions and actions will help the region to achieve an effective integration. The policymakers have vital roles to play in raising the engagement of the private businesses in ASEAN matters. As time is limited, one way for ASEAN is to focus on "core" elements of integration and implement them earnestly in the shortest possible time. The rest of the process, as envisaged in the AEC blueprint, can follow beyond 2015. This book examines the state of readiness of the member countries for regional integration and discusses the challenges to ASEAN businesses. It gives policy recommendations to address some of the issues faced by the key stakeholders.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

No doubt, when 2015 comes around, whether at its beginning in January or its end in December or sometime in between, ASEAN will proclaim the AEC to have been achieved. In certain ways, it will be right. The AEC, like the two other pillars of the ASEAN Community — the Political-Security and the Socio-Cultural Communities...

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pp. xi-xii

For several years now the ASEAN Studies Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies has been working across the ASEAN community to urge and to support initiatives that are designed to move all of the ASEAN communities into a more common foundation. The work...

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pp. xiii-xvii

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Vision 2020, adopted in December 1997, envisaged “a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment and freer flow of capital, equitable...

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pp. xix

Acknowledgements for a project with two conferences are the most essential part of the job for an editor. First of all we would like to thank the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for its financial support of the ASEAN Round Table 2010. Many contributed substantially to the round table...


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pp. xxi-xxii

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

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1. Introduction: State of Readiness of ASEAN Economies and Businesses

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pp. 1-9

ASEAN leaders have repeatedly conveyed their political will and commitment to building an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. They signed the ASEAN Charter in 2007, which puts in place the institutions and mechanism to build up an ASEAN Community. The...

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2. ASEAN’s Readiness in Achieving the AEC 2015: Prospects and Challenges

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pp. 10-18

In today’s rapidly evolving economic and financial landscape spurred by globalization, ASEAN lies in the midst of the strategic and dynamic region of East Asia. To maintain its centrality in the region and as an increasingly important player on the global stage, ASEAN needs to be...


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3. Achieving the AEC 2015: Challenges for Brunei Darussalam

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pp. 21-36

Brunei Darussalam, being the smallest country in Southeast Asia in terms of its population, stands out amongst its ASEAN peers as being one of the most unique. Although it has one of the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the world, it remains an economy that...

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4. Achieving the AEC 2015: Challenges for Cambodia and its Businesses

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pp. 37-52

Over the past decade, Cambodia enjoyed high annual economic growth of around 8 per cent on average (Figure 4.1). More impressive, for four consecutive years (2004–07), the real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a two-digit rate. The growth impetus chiefly came from the industry...

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5. AEC 2015, Cambodia, and the Lao PDR: View from the GMS

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pp. 53-70

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is an integral pillar of the ASEAN vision, envisaging the Southeast Asia region as an integrated community by 2015. The AEC Blueprint has set an ambitious agenda that seeks to establish ASEAN as a single market and production...

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6. Deadline 2015: Assessing Indonesia’s Progress towards the AEC

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pp. 71-84

On 1 January 2010, ASEAN entered yet another important phase in its advance towards the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. On that day, the ASEAN Six members, including Indonesia, was to eliminate all tariffs under the inclusion list...

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7. Towards an Integrated AEC: Where is Malaysia?

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pp. 85-98

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967 with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as the original members, and was subsequently enlarged to include Brunei and the transition economies of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia...

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8. Achieving the AEC 2015: Challenges for the Philippines

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pp. 99-124

ASEAN member countries are moving towards achieving the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. Recent studies have shown the benefits of the AEC. For example, the study edited by Plummer and Chia (2009) presents estimates that ASEAN economic welfare...

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9. ASEAN Economic Integration: Perspectives from Singapore

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pp. 125-137

When the leaders of five countries in Southeast Asia decided to come together and form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) almost forty-three years ago, the Cold War was being fought and the military conflict in Vietnam was escalating beyond the country’s borders...

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10. Achieving the AEC 2015: Challenges for Thailand

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pp. 138-160

The main objectives of this chapter are to discuss some progress in Thailand’s commitments and implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint and the challenges it faces in pursuing the AEC commitments. The chapter will discuss five issues...

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11. Achieving an Efficient AEC by 2015: A Perspective from Vietnam

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pp. 161-177

In December 1997, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted a vision till 2020, aimed at “transforming ASEAN into a stable, prosperous, and highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities”. In...


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12. ASEAN Economic Integration: Challenges to Brunei Businesses

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pp. 181-195

Within ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Brunei Darussalam occupies a distinct position mainly as a result of its domestic characteristics. Thus its actions towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and regional economic integration are guided in some instances...

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13. Perspective of the Indonesian Business Sector on the Regional Integration Process

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pp. 196-223

In recent years, Indonesia has engaged itself in a number of free trade agreements (FTA) and other initiatives, such as the Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA; 2008), ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA; 2010), and ASEAN Economic Community...

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14. Achieving the AEC 2015: Challenges for the Malaysian Private Sector

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pp. 224-248

In January 2007, heads of ASEAN governments declared their strong commitment to accelerating the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to 2015 as envisioned in the ASEAN Vision 2020. The ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint which comprises four...

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15. Role of the Private Sector in Regional Economic Integration: A View from the Philippines

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pp. 249-273

Sustainable economic development continues to be elusive for the Philippines. A wide spectrum of economic policies has been implemented during the past five decades. Yet the boom-bust cycle has remained a constant feature of the economy, along with a relatively high poverty...

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16. Role of the Singapore Private Sector in ASEAN Economic Integration

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pp. 274-285

With the ASEAN governments increasingly calling on the region’s private sector to play its part in regional economic integration, the weightage of the role of the business community has become intrinsic to ASEAN’s economic aspirations. As a result, the ASEAN private sector...

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17. Thailand’s Perspective on the Role of the Private Sector in the Process of Regional Integration

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pp. 286-306

The ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) was one of the first ASEAN attempts towards integration of its member nations. Moving towards a zerotariff zone between its members is one result many regard as a success to date. Some argued initially that ASEAN nations produced similar...

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18. The Private Sector’s Participation in Regional Integration: A Perspective from Vietnam

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pp. 307-324

After her national unification, Vietnam undertook continuous economic reforms under pressure from severe economic problems. During the period 1980–87, some micro-reform attempts were made with a bottom-up approach, reflecting the enhancement of incentives at the micro...


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19. Conclusion and Recommendations for an Effective AEC

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pp. 327-333

ASEAN has made commendable progress on the road to an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). It has worked in integrating the regional economy, notably, by eliminating tariffs on intra-ASEAN trade and laying the foundations for economic integration through measures pertaining...


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pp. 335-347

E-ISBN-13: 9789814379656
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814379649

Page Count: 347
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1