Asean Economic Community still distant

Regional integration is boosting supply chain trade in Southeast Asia but little progress has been made to bring down non-tariff barriers as Asean's 2015 AEC pledge looms.

The leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Asean pledged in 2007 to create an “Asean Economic Community” by 2015 and to “transform it into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and freer flow of capital.”

On the face of it, that 2015 deadline is unlikely to be met not by a long shot.

But perhaps the problem is one of language and differences in interpretation. As Rodolfo Severino, a Filipino diplomat and secretary-general of Asean from 1998 to 2002, told FinanceAsia, that 2015 pledge was an affirmation of members’ continued commitments and an...

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