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THINKING GLOBALLY,
PROSPERING REGIONALLY
ASEAN Economic Community 2015
Thinking globally prospering regionally AEC 2015
THINKING GLOBALLY,
PROSPERING REGIONALLY
ASEAN Economic Community 2015
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967.
The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
For inquiries, contact:
The ASEAN Secretariat
Public Outreach and Civil Society Division
70A Jalan Sisingamangaraja
Jakarta 12110
Indonesia
Phone	 : (62 21) 724-3372, 726-2991
Fax	 : (62 21) 739-8234, 724-3504
E-mail	 : public@asean.org
General information on ASEAN appears online at
the ASEAN Website: www.asean.org
Catalogue-in-Publication Data
Thinking Globally, Prospering Regionally – ASEAN Economic Community 2015
Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat, April 2014
337.159
1. ASEAN – Economic Integration
2. Trade – Investment
ISBN 978-602-7643-87-1
Photo credits: ASEAN National Tourism Organisations
The text of this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, provided proper acknowledgement
is given and a copy containing the reprinted material is sent to Public Outreach and Civil Society
Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta.
Copyright Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2014.
All rights reserved.
The long journey ASEAN began with the adoption of the
ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint in 2007 has made
major strides toward the goal of an ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) in 2015. The tasks set out in the Blueprint
are multi-faceted and the process of community building is
far from straightforward. Nonetheless, progress has been
made on many fronts and the benefits from these advances
have been far reaching.
This booklet aims to expand awareness and understanding
among the business sector and the general public, youth
included, on the benefits of the AEC. Part I highlights
initiatives under the four pillars of the AEC where progress
has gained traction. Part II sets forth key messages on the
AEC that are targeted toward the business sector and the
public. Part III focuses on what lies ahead after 2015.
Through invigorating public awareness, this booklet is a
testament to ASEAN’s commitment to further enhance
community building efforts among its people.
Le Luong Minh
Secretary-General of ASEAN
iii
Foreword
Thinking globally prospering regionally AEC 2015
v
ASEAN: State of the Nations
1990 20122000
ASEAN
Member States
Total GDP (US$ Billion)
Total Trade (US$ Billion)
Intra-Trade (US$ Billion)
FDI Inflows (US$ Billion)
Population (Million)
FDI Inflows
(% of Global Inflows)
Infant Mortality Rate
(per 1,000 live births)
1
Weighted by population.
2
Includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.
3
As of 2010.
Sources: ASEANStat, IMF, UNCTAD and World Bank.
Poverty Rate2
(% Population Living
Below US$1.25 PPP
per capita per day)
Avg GDP per capita (US$)1
334.1
306.4
144.1
12.8
317.2
6.2
27.3
45.0
760.9
2,311.3
2,476.4
602.0
110.3
617.2
8.2
22.4
15.33
3,748.4
606.4
759.1
166.8
21.8
517.3
1.6
35.9
33.0
1,172.4
Brunei
Darussalam
Indonesia
Malaysia
Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Brunei
Darussalam
Cambodia
Lao DPR
Indonesia
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Viet Nam
Brunei
Darussalam
Cambodia
Lao DPR
Indonesia
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Viet Nam
Thinking globally prospering regionally AEC 2015
1
ASEAN Economic Community
“THINKING GLOBALLY, PROSPERING REGIONALLY”
ASEAN Economic Community 2015
This is ASEAN’s time. In the
geographic heart of the world’s
premier growth corridor, ASEAN is
poised to “seize the moment,” in the
words of a recent mid-term report
on the fulfilment of the goals for the
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). At stake is a long-standing
commitment by the ten Member States of ASEAN to “hasten
the establishment of the AEC by 2015 and to transform ASEAN
With a market of over
600 million consumers
and combined GDP
of nearly US$3 trillion,
ASEAN is vibrant and
growing
Introduction
2
ASEANEconomicCommunity
into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment,
skilled labour and freer flow of capital.”
With a market of over 600 million consumers and combined
GDP of nearly US$3 trillion, ASEAN is vibrant and growing,
offering a future to its people of increasing prosperity and
stability. The AEC is one of the foundations of that future.
Indeed, much of this future is already at hand. The ASEAN
Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), in force since May 2010,
covers all aspects of trade in goods under a legal framework to
realise the free flow of goods within the AEC.
The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) serves
to substantially eliminate restrictions on trade in services among
ASEAN Member States in order to make it easier for services
suppliers to operate within the borders of ASEAN. The ASEAN
ComprehensiveInvestmentAgreement(ACIA)cameintoeffectin
March 2012 to support a free, open, transparent and integrated
investment regime in line with the goals of the AEC.
Where do we stand?
The AEC Blueprint, signed in 2007 in Singapore by the Leaders
of all ten Member States, reaffirms the goal of regional economic
integration declared at the Bali Summit in October 2003. The
3
AEC will “establish ASEAN as a
single market and production base
with the goal of making ASEAN
more dynamic and competitive.”
Regional integration and
connectivity are to be accelerated
through facilitating the movement of skilled persons, capital
and goods, lowering barriers to trade and strengthening the
institutional mechanisms of ASEAN.
There are four pillars to the AEC: 1) Single Market and
Production Base; 2) Competitive Economic Region; 3) Equitable
To gain the many
benefits available, the
people and businesses
of ASEAN must be
engaged by the AEC
process
4
ASEANEconomicCommunity
Economic Development; and 4) ASEAN’s Integration into the
Global Economy. ASEAN has made significant progress on
each of these pillars, and this has opened up new opportunities
for both investors and ASEAN people.
Single Market and Production Base
Within the single market and production base are five core
elements:
1. Free flow of goods;
2. Free flow of services;
3. Free flow of investment;
4. Freer flow of capital; and
5. Free flow of skilled labour.
As ambitious as they are, on many fronts the goals have
been met.
On free flow of goods, as of 2010, duties were eliminated on
99.2% of tariff lines for the ASEAN-6 Member States (Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and
Thailand); in the remaining Member States (Cambodia, Lao
PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam), 97.52% of tariff lines have
been reduced to 0-5 percent. The pilot program for the ASEAN
5
Self-Certification System has also
been launched, which is aimed
at allowing certified exporters to
self-certify whether their exports
meet the origin requirements in
export documents. This will reduce trade costs and expedite
movement of goods across borders.
Trade facilitation is ongoing with evident progress as seven
Member States have already tested the preliminary exchange
of trade data and information through the ASEAN Single
Window Gateway (ASW). With ASW, respective National Single
Windows (NSWs) will be connected. This will expedite customs
clearance, reducing transaction time and cost. The technical
and legal foundations of the ASW, arguably the world’s first
regional single window, are being set up for live implementation
by 2015.
Measures to reduce technical barriers to trade are also in
place, including mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs),
and the harmonisation of standards and a regulatory regime.
About 170 technical standards are now harmonised in ASEAN.
Mutual recognition of testing and certification for electrical and
electronic equipment are being enjoyed by ASEAN Member
The prospect of
an ASEAN region
functioning as a single
unified market is
groundbreaking
6
ASEANEconomicCommunity
States, with 21 testing laboratories and 5 certification bodies
listed under the ASEAN Sectoral MRA for these types of
equipment.
In addition to trade in goods, ASEAN Member States have
also worked towards achieving free flow of services under the
ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). Through
packages of liberalisation commitments, ASEAN Member
States have eased restrictions to cross-border trade in at least
80 subsectors, with a majority of these subsectors allowing for
majority foreign ownership.
ASEAN is also committed to building an investment climate
that is conducive for business. Aside from individual country
initiatives, the region agreed on an investment framework aimed
at enticing investors and helping those who are doing business
in the region. ASEAN created the ASEAN Comprehensive
Investment Agreement (ACIA), which contains commitments
to liberalise and protect cross-border investment activities.
Furthermore, ACIA embraces international best practices in
the treatment of foreign investors and investments.
The AEC seeks to foster a culture of fair
competition, including institutions and laws that
underpin the effort
7
To promote the freer flow of capital, the stock exchanges from
ASEAN-5 and Viet Nam have collaborated to form the ASEAN
Exchanges, which aims to promote ASEAN capital markets
and offer more opportunities to investors across the region. In
September 2012, the ASEAN Exchanges launched the ASEAN
Trading Link, a gateway for securities brokers to offer investors
easier access to participating exchanges. Bursa Malaysia,
Singapore Exchange and Stock Exchange of Thailand are now
connected via the ASEAN Trading Link. Also, liberalisation
of other financial services in ASEAN has continued to further
8
ASEANEconomicCommunity
strengthen the region’s financial sector and to allow for more
efficient allocation of capital to support the development of the
AEC.
ASEAN also works towards facilitating the free flow of skilled
labour in the region. The ASEAN Agreement on the Movement
of Natural Persons (MNP) provides the legal framework to
facilitate temporary cross-border movement of people engaged
in the conduct of trade in goods, services and investment.
Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) have also been
concluded in eight professions to facilitate the movement of
ASEAN professionals in these areas through recognition of their
qualifications.
Competitive Economic Region
In creating a competitive economic region, the AEC seeks to
foster a culture of fair competition, including institutions and laws
that underpin the effort. This includes protection for consumers
region-wide and strong guarantees for intellectual property
rights.
Competition policy and law will play an increasingly important
role as strong economies are founded upon healthy and effective
competition. By creating a level playing field for businesses
9
operating in the region, competition policy and law encourages
greater innovation, productivity and efficiency, bringing about
benefits for businesses and consumers alike.
ASEAN Member States have been intensifying their efforts to
introduce competition policy and law by 2015. Various outreach
activities have also been carried out to educate the general
public on the importance of competition policy and how it could
possibly affect them.
A competitive economic region also requires support for
physicalinfrastructurelikehighways,airportsandraillinks,power
10
ASEANEconomicCommunity
grids and gas pipelines. The designated roads and highways
of the Member States forming the ASEAN Highway Network
(AHN) are being physically connected, although the quality of
some routes needs to be improved up to agreed standards. The
ASEAN Highway Network, including its priority “Transit Transport
Routes (TTR),” is a vital infrastructure and logistics component
which supports trade facilitation, investment opportunities and
tourism. Road and numbering signs along the TTR in the ASEAN
mainland have already been installed in order to enhance safety
and provide greater comfort for road users.
The ASEAN Power Grid (APG) is aimed at building a regional
power transmission network linking all Member States. Six out
of the planned 16 cross-border interconnections have already
been put into operation. In addition, the Trans-ASEAN Gas
Pipeline (TAGP) aims to connect the gas pipeline infrastructure
of ASEAN Member States and enable gas (including liquefied
natural gas) to be transported across Member States’ borders.
There are currently 11 bilateral pipeline connections with a
total length of 3,020 km. This allows the connected Member
States to enhance cross-border electricity trade in order
to meet growing demands for electricity. The project also
provides private sector opportunities in investment, financing
11
and technology transfer.
All the agreements and
protocols on the liberalisation of air
services under the ASEAN Open
Skies Policy for both cargo and
passenger services have been concluded and implemented
by most Member States. This has substantially enhanced
air connectivity in the region with increased air capacity and
created more opportunities for a greater number of people to
fly to neighbouring countries.
With the emergence
of an ASEAN
Community, the
incremental has
become exponential
12
ASEANEconomicCommunity
Another sector of ASEAN infrastructure that is undergoing
continuous enhancement is telecommunication. ASEAN
telecommunication regulators in 2012 announced the intention
to reduce international mobile roaming rates within ASEAN.
Malaysia and Singapore were the first Member States to make a
bilateral agreement to reduce the mobile roaming rates charged
by their respective telecommunication providers. By mid-2013,
the rates were half compared to the rates in 2011.
Equitable Economic Development
A key component of the AEC is to enhance the competitiveness
and expansion of small and medium enterprises in ASEAN
through flagship projects under the Strategic Action Plan
for ASEAN SME Development (2010-2015). Thirty business
incubator and innovation centres make up the ASEAN Business
Incubator Network (ABINet) to promote business matching and
development. The ASEAN SME Guidebook towards the AEC
2015 has been developed to enhance awareness of the financial
facilities and market opportunities for SMEs available in ASEAN
Member States.
Another crucial goal of the AEC is to ensure that the different
levels of economic development of ASEAN Member States
13
are given utmost consideration. Under the Initiative for ASEAN
Integration (IAI), new approaches have been developed so that
the benefits of the AEC are more evenly shared between all
ASEAN Member States, including the newer ASEAN Member
States (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam) and
the sub-regions (such as the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-
Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area and the
Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle).
The ASEAN Framework for Equitable Economic Development
(AFEED) was introduced in 2011. It is the guiding framework for
14
ASEANEconomicCommunity
Member States to enable regional economic integration based
on the principles of inclusive and sustainable growth, poverty
alleviation and narrowing the development gap within and
betweenallASEANMemberStates.Effortsarebeingundertaken
to develop indicators to be used to monitor the operation of
AFEED.
Integration into the Global Economy
One of the important success stories of the AEC is ASEAN’s
integration into the global economy. Through a number of
“ASEAN+1” free trade agreements with the People’s Republic
of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand
and India, ASEAN is well-positioned at the centre of global
supply chains, and has developed strong trade links with the
major regional economies, which has allowed for the creation of
significant business opportunities.
ASEAN is also negotiating the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RCEP), an FTA involving ASEAN and its
six FTA partners. The ASEAN-led agreement, expected to be
concluded by the end of 2015, will allow ASEAN to achieve a
modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial
economic partnership agreement with its FTA partners. With a
15
combined GDP of about US$21.2
trillion, which is about 30% of
global GDP, the RCEP also has the
potential to transform the region
into an integrated market of about
3.4 billion people (or 48% of the world’s population). When
concluded, RCEP is expected to deliver tangible benefits to
businesses through potential improvements in market access,
trade facilitation, regulatory reform and more liberal rules of
origin.
One of the important
success stories of
the AEC is ASEAN’s
integration into the
global economy
16
ASEANEconomicCommunity
Increased business interest in the AEC
ASEAN has enjoyed a steady increase in foreign direct
investment (FDI), with an average growth of 14% since 2000.
In 2012, FDI flows to the region reached US$110.3 billion. Such
strong FDI growth is a result of a multitude of factors, including
the comprehensive ASEAN integration efforts that have made it
cheaper, faster and easier to trade in the region.
Already,wehaveseenstronginterestintheAECfrombusiness.
For example, the US Chamber of Commerce in a recent survey
found that 54% of American companies had an ASEAN strategy
in place and looked forward to the full implementation of the
AEC; 84% of executives surveyed expected profits to increase
in 2014 as integration continued.
As we move closer to our goal of AEC 2015, we fully expect
business interest in the AEC to continue to rise, as more
businesses benefit from such ASEAN integration efforts, and
start to develop ASEAN strategies as part of their corporate
policies. The process is well under way, as witnessed by the
emergence of groups like the ASEAN Business Club, which is
backed by some of the region’s biggest corporations and sees
creating a high level of awareness of the AEC as a core priority. In
addition, the largest consulting companies in the region have all
17
jumped on the AEC bandwagon, helping to promote awareness
of the AEC. Universities in the region have begun establishing
AEC centres and think tanks are commissioning studies on the
impact of the AEC.
The recent ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s (ABAC) report
noted that in the ABAC Survey on Competitiveness, conducted
fromMaytoAugust2013,almosthalfofthebusinessessurveyed
(48% of respondents) said that their organisation takes into
account the investment attractiveness of the ASEAN region as
a whole when planning investment strategies. This is up from
39% as recorded in the 2011-2012 survey and is an encouraging
sign that a growing number of ASEAN businesses now have an
“ASEAN strategy” in mind.
18
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“SHARED MARKET, SHARED BENEFITS”
“FROM TEN to ONE”
• 	With reduced barriers to trade and investment, investors can
move more freely in the region, have greater access to capital
and benefit from moving goods easily across borders.
• 	EXAMPLE: Four years before ASEAN was established, the
Jebsen & Jessen Group of Companies started small in the
region. Today, it is a US$866 million operation and a model of
regional integration with entities in nine out of the ten ASEAN
nations,thankstogreaterliberalisationofmarkets.AsASEAN
grew, the company expanded from trading into chemical
manufacturing and other operations, taking advantage of
ASEAN as a platform for growth. Benefitting from regional
integration, the company has moved into technology,
communications and other pursuits and is one of the first
industrial companies in Southeast Asia to be carbon neutral,
offsetting its emissions for all operations.
Key AEC Messages
19
20
ASEANEconomicCommunity
• 	EXAMPLE: Jollibee, one of the region’s most successful and
fastest-growing fast-food chains, has benefitted greatly from
integration, allowing it to build an efficient supply chain that
helps keep prices down. It sources both processed and basic
ingredients from suppliers in its home country and around the
region, enabling the company “to share its good food to more
ASEAN people at very affordable prices.”
• 	EXAMPLE: The liberalisation of air services within the ASEAN
region and outside the region with Dialogue Partners will
enable greater air connectivity, which will in turn lower fares
for the carriage of goods and passengers, and provide
businessmen and the travelling public with more options.
ASEAN signed its first air services agreement with China
in 2011 and expanded the agreement in 2012. ASEAN will
embark on greater engagement with its Dialogue Partners to
conclude more liberal air services agreements.
• 	EXAMPLE: The establishment of the ASEAN Community-
Based Tourism Standard will empower local communities to
enjoy the benefits of their tourism potential by improving the
quality of visitor experiences through partnerships with the
private sector, which ultimately will provide more opportunities
for youth employment and entrepreneurship.
21
22
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“SIMPLIFIED RULES, GREATER ACCESS”
“TRADING ON A BIGGER STAGE”
• Trade in the region will be facilitated through simple,
harmonised and streamlined trade and customs
documentation as well as rules and procedures.
• 	EXAMPLE: Denso Corporation, a manufacturing company
with operations in five ASEAN countries, has benefited
from the trade facilitation provisions of ATIGA and the pilot
self-certification system. Employing more than 22,000
people and with US$2.9 billion of investments in ASEAN,
the company has seen a reduction in document processing
time and costs for its trade-related activities, contributing
to the increase of its exports to the ASEAN market.
• 	EXAMPLE: Sony EMCS (Malaysia), a manufacturer of audio
and video products as well as household appliances, uses
the listed testing laboratory in Malaysia. Television sets are
tested prior to export, and the test results are accepted
by regulatory authorities in importing ASEAN countries.
For ASEAN consumers, this arrangement ensures that
23
imported electronic goods are safe and comply with all
relevant standards.
• 	EXAMPLE: Simplified rules, greater transparency and
enhanced regulatory coherence for trading and investment
provide incentives for young entrepreneurs to launch
businesses that take advantage of a unified market to
expand and target regional consumers. With the “buzz”
increasing around the AEC, young people, especially from
the SME sector, can also be expected to reach out to
partners in neighbouring states to build synergies.
24
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“ASEAN: HOME FOR YOUR INVESTMENT”
“PARTNERS IN BUSINESS”
• 	A more conducive business environment will encourage
investors who are not yet in ASEAN to do business in
the region, provide greater confidence among current
investors to expand their investments and increase intra-
ASEAN investment.
• 	EXAMPLE: Prudential Insurance has been in the region
for 80 years, expanding rapidly in the ASEAN era. The
company calls itself “as much an Asian company as a
British one.” Active in seven ASEAN countries and still
expanding, the company “sees its future as intertwined
with the future of ASEAN.”
• 	EXAMPLE: Caterpillar, an international heavy equipment
company, has made a major commitment to ASEAN
as it sees the labour force expanding and a growing
commitment to building modern infrastructure. From
the company’s vantage point, “ASEAN provides many
opportunities. At the same time, each country is highly
25
26
ASEANEconomicCommunity
distinct. Each country in the region offers its unique
challenges and opportunities. The future is bright for
ASEAN.”
• 	EXAMPLE: India’s Fortis and the Bangkok Hospital Group
have built up considerable expertise and experience in
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Similar partnerships
provide better healthcare for the general public.
• 	EXAMPLE: For young people, lowered barriers to foreign
investment and greater integration are providing better
educational services in the context of the AEC. Student
mobility, the transfer of academic credits and the creation
of research clusters will help improve ASEAN’s higher
education system and provide support to the estimated
6,500 higher education institutions and 12 million students
in the ten Member States.
27
28
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“MAKING CAPITAL WORK FOR YOU”
“EXPANDING ACCESS TO FINANCE”
• 	AmorerobustASEANfinancialsectortranslatesintostronger
financial intermediation, capacity and risk management
to support national and regional growth, and stronger
cooperation to reduce vulnerabilities to external shocks and
market volatility.
• 	EXAMPLE: The seven ASEAN Exchanges have a combined
market capitalisation of approximately US$2.9 trillion with
more than 3,600 companies listed on their exchanges. Since
the launch of ASEAN Exchanges in April 2011, a number of
key initiatives have been rolled out. Some of these include
the ASEAN Trading Link, the ASEAN Stars and the Invest
ASEAN Retail Roadshow. These initiatives have created
significant awareness of ASEAN as an attractive location for
retail and institutional investors. The collaboration will jointly
promote the development of ASEAN as an asset class and
increase liquidity by streamlining access to ASEAN capital
markets.
29
• 	EXAMPLE: CIMB, a strong advocate of regional financial
integration, thinks of itself as an ASEAN bank. Now operating
in nine out of the ten ASEAN countries, the bank has what
it calls a “multi-local” business model that strongly relies on
localexpertisetodeepenitsinvolvementandbranchnetwork
into rural and urban areas in many countries at once.
• 	EXAMPLE: With a more developed banking sector, small
and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs will have better
access to financial services. In addition, initiatives on financial
inclusion and financial literacy will support individuals in their
own financial planning.
30
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“ASEAN PROFESSIONALS ON THE MOVE”
“BEST PEOPLE AND BEST PRACTICES”
• 	The diversity of talent found in the ten Member States is a
major benefit for ASEAN employers as they build regional
companies.
• 	EXAMPLE: ASEAN has come up with an information
and communications technology (ICT) skill standards
and certification framework in order to develop human
capital and enable the free flow of ICT professionals
within the region. The framework focuses on five key ICT
areas: software development, ICT project management,
enterprise architecture design, network and system
administration and information system and network
security.
• 	EXAMPLE: Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs)
such as ASEAN’s MRA in engineering and architectural
services provide for recognition and registration of certified
professionals to practice in other ASEAN countries. The
MRAs will also change the way ASEAN professionals
31
32
ASEANEconomicCommunity
think about their careers as the prospect of marketing and
utilising their skills across the ASEAN region becomes
more attainable.
• 	EXAMPLE: AirAsia, the regional low-cost air carrier, has
expanded its network greatly ahead of the open skies
policy under the AEC. But as important as hardware and
landing rights are, the company’s employees are the key
to success. “People are our greatest asset,” the company
says. Its mechanics, pilots, cabin crew and others come
from many different ASEAN countries, allowing the airline
to benefit from ASEAN’s diversity.
• 	EXAMPLE: Under the MRA on Tourism Professionals
signed in 2012, training and education institutions using
the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum will help improve
their graduates’ eligibility to work in other Member States.
This opens up great opportunities to enhance the quality
of services and human resources in the tourism industry.
33
34
ASEANEconomicCommunity
“OUR COMMUNITY, OUR JOURNEY”
35
What comes next?
ASEAN is committed to fulfil the 2007 pledge to implement
the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015.
That said, many of the AEC deliverables have already been
realised between 2007 and now, and our businesses are
already enjoying the fruits of greater ASEAN integration
as a result. ASEAN has now focused its attention on the
implementation of remaining deliverables under the AEC.
While there are challenges that we will face in completing the
task, ASEAN’s commitment to implementing the AEC remains
undiminished.
AEC 2015 will also not be the end of ASEAN integration
efforts. At their annual summit meeting in Brunei Darussalam
in 2013, the ASEAN heads of
state committed to creating
a “Post-2015 Vision” that
builds on the blueprint for an
ASEAN Community and the
Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. The leaders’ goal is to
realise a community that is “politically cohesive, economically
integrated, socially responsible and a truly people-oriented,
We need to continually
engage the private sector
as the key partner in
making the AEC a success
36
ASEANEconomicCommunity
people-centred and rules-
based ASEAN.”
The heads of state, leaders
in the private sector and other
experts know that regional integration and the building of a
single market for the AEC is a process that is just beginning.
It will continue past 2015 as barriers are lowered, connectivity
is enhanced, infrastructure is built and legal frameworks are
refined to fit the community. New situations will emerge,
fears must be overcome, unforeseen consequences will be
encountered and solutions will be found.
Our ASEAN people, in all their diversity and creativity, are
the most crucial factor on our journey. We need to continually
engage the private sector as the key partner in making
the AEC a success. We encourage ASEAN businesses in
particular to think of ASEAN as a whole and develop their
own ASEAN strategies, leveraging on the AEC initiatives and
the opportunities they present. This is a golden opportunity
for the region’s growing business community.
Seize the moment. Get involved!
“2015: JUST THE BEGINNING”
We are embarked on
a journey to transform
economic relations in
Southeast Asia
Thinking globally prospering regionally AEC 2015
www.asean.org
@ASEAN
ASEAN

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Thinking globally prospering regionally AEC 2015

  • 4. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia. For inquiries, contact: The ASEAN Secretariat Public Outreach and Civil Society Division 70A Jalan Sisingamangaraja Jakarta 12110 Indonesia Phone : (62 21) 724-3372, 726-2991 Fax : (62 21) 739-8234, 724-3504 E-mail : public@asean.org General information on ASEAN appears online at the ASEAN Website: www.asean.org Catalogue-in-Publication Data Thinking Globally, Prospering Regionally – ASEAN Economic Community 2015 Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat, April 2014 337.159 1. ASEAN – Economic Integration 2. Trade – Investment ISBN 978-602-7643-87-1 Photo credits: ASEAN National Tourism Organisations The text of this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, provided proper acknowledgement is given and a copy containing the reprinted material is sent to Public Outreach and Civil Society Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta. Copyright Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2014. All rights reserved.
  • 5. The long journey ASEAN began with the adoption of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint in 2007 has made major strides toward the goal of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The tasks set out in the Blueprint are multi-faceted and the process of community building is far from straightforward. Nonetheless, progress has been made on many fronts and the benefits from these advances have been far reaching. This booklet aims to expand awareness and understanding among the business sector and the general public, youth included, on the benefits of the AEC. Part I highlights initiatives under the four pillars of the AEC where progress has gained traction. Part II sets forth key messages on the AEC that are targeted toward the business sector and the public. Part III focuses on what lies ahead after 2015. Through invigorating public awareness, this booklet is a testament to ASEAN’s commitment to further enhance community building efforts among its people. Le Luong Minh Secretary-General of ASEAN iii Foreword
  • 7. v ASEAN: State of the Nations 1990 20122000 ASEAN Member States Total GDP (US$ Billion) Total Trade (US$ Billion) Intra-Trade (US$ Billion) FDI Inflows (US$ Billion) Population (Million) FDI Inflows (% of Global Inflows) Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 live births) 1 Weighted by population. 2 Includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. 3 As of 2010. Sources: ASEANStat, IMF, UNCTAD and World Bank. Poverty Rate2 (% Population Living Below US$1.25 PPP per capita per day) Avg GDP per capita (US$)1 334.1 306.4 144.1 12.8 317.2 6.2 27.3 45.0 760.9 2,311.3 2,476.4 602.0 110.3 617.2 8.2 22.4 15.33 3,748.4 606.4 759.1 166.8 21.8 517.3 1.6 35.9 33.0 1,172.4 Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Singapore Thailand Brunei Darussalam Cambodia Lao DPR Indonesia Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Singapore Thailand Viet Nam Brunei Darussalam Cambodia Lao DPR Indonesia Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Singapore Thailand Viet Nam
  • 9. 1 ASEAN Economic Community “THINKING GLOBALLY, PROSPERING REGIONALLY” ASEAN Economic Community 2015 This is ASEAN’s time. In the geographic heart of the world’s premier growth corridor, ASEAN is poised to “seize the moment,” in the words of a recent mid-term report on the fulfilment of the goals for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). At stake is a long-standing commitment by the ten Member States of ASEAN to “hasten the establishment of the AEC by 2015 and to transform ASEAN With a market of over 600 million consumers and combined GDP of nearly US$3 trillion, ASEAN is vibrant and growing Introduction
  • 10. 2 ASEANEconomicCommunity into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and freer flow of capital.” With a market of over 600 million consumers and combined GDP of nearly US$3 trillion, ASEAN is vibrant and growing, offering a future to its people of increasing prosperity and stability. The AEC is one of the foundations of that future. Indeed, much of this future is already at hand. The ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), in force since May 2010, covers all aspects of trade in goods under a legal framework to realise the free flow of goods within the AEC. The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) serves to substantially eliminate restrictions on trade in services among ASEAN Member States in order to make it easier for services suppliers to operate within the borders of ASEAN. The ASEAN ComprehensiveInvestmentAgreement(ACIA)cameintoeffectin March 2012 to support a free, open, transparent and integrated investment regime in line with the goals of the AEC. Where do we stand? The AEC Blueprint, signed in 2007 in Singapore by the Leaders of all ten Member States, reaffirms the goal of regional economic integration declared at the Bali Summit in October 2003. The
  • 11. 3 AEC will “establish ASEAN as a single market and production base with the goal of making ASEAN more dynamic and competitive.” Regional integration and connectivity are to be accelerated through facilitating the movement of skilled persons, capital and goods, lowering barriers to trade and strengthening the institutional mechanisms of ASEAN. There are four pillars to the AEC: 1) Single Market and Production Base; 2) Competitive Economic Region; 3) Equitable To gain the many benefits available, the people and businesses of ASEAN must be engaged by the AEC process
  • 12. 4 ASEANEconomicCommunity Economic Development; and 4) ASEAN’s Integration into the Global Economy. ASEAN has made significant progress on each of these pillars, and this has opened up new opportunities for both investors and ASEAN people. Single Market and Production Base Within the single market and production base are five core elements: 1. Free flow of goods; 2. Free flow of services; 3. Free flow of investment; 4. Freer flow of capital; and 5. Free flow of skilled labour. As ambitious as they are, on many fronts the goals have been met. On free flow of goods, as of 2010, duties were eliminated on 99.2% of tariff lines for the ASEAN-6 Member States (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand); in the remaining Member States (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam), 97.52% of tariff lines have been reduced to 0-5 percent. The pilot program for the ASEAN
  • 13. 5 Self-Certification System has also been launched, which is aimed at allowing certified exporters to self-certify whether their exports meet the origin requirements in export documents. This will reduce trade costs and expedite movement of goods across borders. Trade facilitation is ongoing with evident progress as seven Member States have already tested the preliminary exchange of trade data and information through the ASEAN Single Window Gateway (ASW). With ASW, respective National Single Windows (NSWs) will be connected. This will expedite customs clearance, reducing transaction time and cost. The technical and legal foundations of the ASW, arguably the world’s first regional single window, are being set up for live implementation by 2015. Measures to reduce technical barriers to trade are also in place, including mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs), and the harmonisation of standards and a regulatory regime. About 170 technical standards are now harmonised in ASEAN. Mutual recognition of testing and certification for electrical and electronic equipment are being enjoyed by ASEAN Member The prospect of an ASEAN region functioning as a single unified market is groundbreaking
  • 14. 6 ASEANEconomicCommunity States, with 21 testing laboratories and 5 certification bodies listed under the ASEAN Sectoral MRA for these types of equipment. In addition to trade in goods, ASEAN Member States have also worked towards achieving free flow of services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). Through packages of liberalisation commitments, ASEAN Member States have eased restrictions to cross-border trade in at least 80 subsectors, with a majority of these subsectors allowing for majority foreign ownership. ASEAN is also committed to building an investment climate that is conducive for business. Aside from individual country initiatives, the region agreed on an investment framework aimed at enticing investors and helping those who are doing business in the region. ASEAN created the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), which contains commitments to liberalise and protect cross-border investment activities. Furthermore, ACIA embraces international best practices in the treatment of foreign investors and investments. The AEC seeks to foster a culture of fair competition, including institutions and laws that underpin the effort
  • 15. 7 To promote the freer flow of capital, the stock exchanges from ASEAN-5 and Viet Nam have collaborated to form the ASEAN Exchanges, which aims to promote ASEAN capital markets and offer more opportunities to investors across the region. In September 2012, the ASEAN Exchanges launched the ASEAN Trading Link, a gateway for securities brokers to offer investors easier access to participating exchanges. Bursa Malaysia, Singapore Exchange and Stock Exchange of Thailand are now connected via the ASEAN Trading Link. Also, liberalisation of other financial services in ASEAN has continued to further
  • 16. 8 ASEANEconomicCommunity strengthen the region’s financial sector and to allow for more efficient allocation of capital to support the development of the AEC. ASEAN also works towards facilitating the free flow of skilled labour in the region. The ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons (MNP) provides the legal framework to facilitate temporary cross-border movement of people engaged in the conduct of trade in goods, services and investment. Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) have also been concluded in eight professions to facilitate the movement of ASEAN professionals in these areas through recognition of their qualifications. Competitive Economic Region In creating a competitive economic region, the AEC seeks to foster a culture of fair competition, including institutions and laws that underpin the effort. This includes protection for consumers region-wide and strong guarantees for intellectual property rights. Competition policy and law will play an increasingly important role as strong economies are founded upon healthy and effective competition. By creating a level playing field for businesses
  • 17. 9 operating in the region, competition policy and law encourages greater innovation, productivity and efficiency, bringing about benefits for businesses and consumers alike. ASEAN Member States have been intensifying their efforts to introduce competition policy and law by 2015. Various outreach activities have also been carried out to educate the general public on the importance of competition policy and how it could possibly affect them. A competitive economic region also requires support for physicalinfrastructurelikehighways,airportsandraillinks,power
  • 18. 10 ASEANEconomicCommunity grids and gas pipelines. The designated roads and highways of the Member States forming the ASEAN Highway Network (AHN) are being physically connected, although the quality of some routes needs to be improved up to agreed standards. The ASEAN Highway Network, including its priority “Transit Transport Routes (TTR),” is a vital infrastructure and logistics component which supports trade facilitation, investment opportunities and tourism. Road and numbering signs along the TTR in the ASEAN mainland have already been installed in order to enhance safety and provide greater comfort for road users. The ASEAN Power Grid (APG) is aimed at building a regional power transmission network linking all Member States. Six out of the planned 16 cross-border interconnections have already been put into operation. In addition, the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) aims to connect the gas pipeline infrastructure of ASEAN Member States and enable gas (including liquefied natural gas) to be transported across Member States’ borders. There are currently 11 bilateral pipeline connections with a total length of 3,020 km. This allows the connected Member States to enhance cross-border electricity trade in order to meet growing demands for electricity. The project also provides private sector opportunities in investment, financing
  • 19. 11 and technology transfer. All the agreements and protocols on the liberalisation of air services under the ASEAN Open Skies Policy for both cargo and passenger services have been concluded and implemented by most Member States. This has substantially enhanced air connectivity in the region with increased air capacity and created more opportunities for a greater number of people to fly to neighbouring countries. With the emergence of an ASEAN Community, the incremental has become exponential
  • 20. 12 ASEANEconomicCommunity Another sector of ASEAN infrastructure that is undergoing continuous enhancement is telecommunication. ASEAN telecommunication regulators in 2012 announced the intention to reduce international mobile roaming rates within ASEAN. Malaysia and Singapore were the first Member States to make a bilateral agreement to reduce the mobile roaming rates charged by their respective telecommunication providers. By mid-2013, the rates were half compared to the rates in 2011. Equitable Economic Development A key component of the AEC is to enhance the competitiveness and expansion of small and medium enterprises in ASEAN through flagship projects under the Strategic Action Plan for ASEAN SME Development (2010-2015). Thirty business incubator and innovation centres make up the ASEAN Business Incubator Network (ABINet) to promote business matching and development. The ASEAN SME Guidebook towards the AEC 2015 has been developed to enhance awareness of the financial facilities and market opportunities for SMEs available in ASEAN Member States. Another crucial goal of the AEC is to ensure that the different levels of economic development of ASEAN Member States
  • 21. 13 are given utmost consideration. Under the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), new approaches have been developed so that the benefits of the AEC are more evenly shared between all ASEAN Member States, including the newer ASEAN Member States (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam) and the sub-regions (such as the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia- Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle). The ASEAN Framework for Equitable Economic Development (AFEED) was introduced in 2011. It is the guiding framework for
  • 22. 14 ASEANEconomicCommunity Member States to enable regional economic integration based on the principles of inclusive and sustainable growth, poverty alleviation and narrowing the development gap within and betweenallASEANMemberStates.Effortsarebeingundertaken to develop indicators to be used to monitor the operation of AFEED. Integration into the Global Economy One of the important success stories of the AEC is ASEAN’s integration into the global economy. Through a number of “ASEAN+1” free trade agreements with the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, ASEAN is well-positioned at the centre of global supply chains, and has developed strong trade links with the major regional economies, which has allowed for the creation of significant business opportunities. ASEAN is also negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an FTA involving ASEAN and its six FTA partners. The ASEAN-led agreement, expected to be concluded by the end of 2015, will allow ASEAN to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement with its FTA partners. With a
  • 23. 15 combined GDP of about US$21.2 trillion, which is about 30% of global GDP, the RCEP also has the potential to transform the region into an integrated market of about 3.4 billion people (or 48% of the world’s population). When concluded, RCEP is expected to deliver tangible benefits to businesses through potential improvements in market access, trade facilitation, regulatory reform and more liberal rules of origin. One of the important success stories of the AEC is ASEAN’s integration into the global economy
  • 24. 16 ASEANEconomicCommunity Increased business interest in the AEC ASEAN has enjoyed a steady increase in foreign direct investment (FDI), with an average growth of 14% since 2000. In 2012, FDI flows to the region reached US$110.3 billion. Such strong FDI growth is a result of a multitude of factors, including the comprehensive ASEAN integration efforts that have made it cheaper, faster and easier to trade in the region. Already,wehaveseenstronginterestintheAECfrombusiness. For example, the US Chamber of Commerce in a recent survey found that 54% of American companies had an ASEAN strategy in place and looked forward to the full implementation of the AEC; 84% of executives surveyed expected profits to increase in 2014 as integration continued. As we move closer to our goal of AEC 2015, we fully expect business interest in the AEC to continue to rise, as more businesses benefit from such ASEAN integration efforts, and start to develop ASEAN strategies as part of their corporate policies. The process is well under way, as witnessed by the emergence of groups like the ASEAN Business Club, which is backed by some of the region’s biggest corporations and sees creating a high level of awareness of the AEC as a core priority. In addition, the largest consulting companies in the region have all
  • 25. 17 jumped on the AEC bandwagon, helping to promote awareness of the AEC. Universities in the region have begun establishing AEC centres and think tanks are commissioning studies on the impact of the AEC. The recent ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s (ABAC) report noted that in the ABAC Survey on Competitiveness, conducted fromMaytoAugust2013,almosthalfofthebusinessessurveyed (48% of respondents) said that their organisation takes into account the investment attractiveness of the ASEAN region as a whole when planning investment strategies. This is up from 39% as recorded in the 2011-2012 survey and is an encouraging sign that a growing number of ASEAN businesses now have an “ASEAN strategy” in mind.
  • 26. 18 ASEANEconomicCommunity “SHARED MARKET, SHARED BENEFITS” “FROM TEN to ONE” • With reduced barriers to trade and investment, investors can move more freely in the region, have greater access to capital and benefit from moving goods easily across borders. • EXAMPLE: Four years before ASEAN was established, the Jebsen & Jessen Group of Companies started small in the region. Today, it is a US$866 million operation and a model of regional integration with entities in nine out of the ten ASEAN nations,thankstogreaterliberalisationofmarkets.AsASEAN grew, the company expanded from trading into chemical manufacturing and other operations, taking advantage of ASEAN as a platform for growth. Benefitting from regional integration, the company has moved into technology, communications and other pursuits and is one of the first industrial companies in Southeast Asia to be carbon neutral, offsetting its emissions for all operations. Key AEC Messages
  • 27. 19
  • 28. 20 ASEANEconomicCommunity • EXAMPLE: Jollibee, one of the region’s most successful and fastest-growing fast-food chains, has benefitted greatly from integration, allowing it to build an efficient supply chain that helps keep prices down. It sources both processed and basic ingredients from suppliers in its home country and around the region, enabling the company “to share its good food to more ASEAN people at very affordable prices.” • EXAMPLE: The liberalisation of air services within the ASEAN region and outside the region with Dialogue Partners will enable greater air connectivity, which will in turn lower fares for the carriage of goods and passengers, and provide businessmen and the travelling public with more options. ASEAN signed its first air services agreement with China in 2011 and expanded the agreement in 2012. ASEAN will embark on greater engagement with its Dialogue Partners to conclude more liberal air services agreements. • EXAMPLE: The establishment of the ASEAN Community- Based Tourism Standard will empower local communities to enjoy the benefits of their tourism potential by improving the quality of visitor experiences through partnerships with the private sector, which ultimately will provide more opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship.
  • 29. 21
  • 30. 22 ASEANEconomicCommunity “SIMPLIFIED RULES, GREATER ACCESS” “TRADING ON A BIGGER STAGE” • Trade in the region will be facilitated through simple, harmonised and streamlined trade and customs documentation as well as rules and procedures. • EXAMPLE: Denso Corporation, a manufacturing company with operations in five ASEAN countries, has benefited from the trade facilitation provisions of ATIGA and the pilot self-certification system. Employing more than 22,000 people and with US$2.9 billion of investments in ASEAN, the company has seen a reduction in document processing time and costs for its trade-related activities, contributing to the increase of its exports to the ASEAN market. • EXAMPLE: Sony EMCS (Malaysia), a manufacturer of audio and video products as well as household appliances, uses the listed testing laboratory in Malaysia. Television sets are tested prior to export, and the test results are accepted by regulatory authorities in importing ASEAN countries. For ASEAN consumers, this arrangement ensures that
  • 31. 23 imported electronic goods are safe and comply with all relevant standards. • EXAMPLE: Simplified rules, greater transparency and enhanced regulatory coherence for trading and investment provide incentives for young entrepreneurs to launch businesses that take advantage of a unified market to expand and target regional consumers. With the “buzz” increasing around the AEC, young people, especially from the SME sector, can also be expected to reach out to partners in neighbouring states to build synergies.
  • 32. 24 ASEANEconomicCommunity “ASEAN: HOME FOR YOUR INVESTMENT” “PARTNERS IN BUSINESS” • A more conducive business environment will encourage investors who are not yet in ASEAN to do business in the region, provide greater confidence among current investors to expand their investments and increase intra- ASEAN investment. • EXAMPLE: Prudential Insurance has been in the region for 80 years, expanding rapidly in the ASEAN era. The company calls itself “as much an Asian company as a British one.” Active in seven ASEAN countries and still expanding, the company “sees its future as intertwined with the future of ASEAN.” • EXAMPLE: Caterpillar, an international heavy equipment company, has made a major commitment to ASEAN as it sees the labour force expanding and a growing commitment to building modern infrastructure. From the company’s vantage point, “ASEAN provides many opportunities. At the same time, each country is highly
  • 33. 25
  • 34. 26 ASEANEconomicCommunity distinct. Each country in the region offers its unique challenges and opportunities. The future is bright for ASEAN.” • EXAMPLE: India’s Fortis and the Bangkok Hospital Group have built up considerable expertise and experience in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Similar partnerships provide better healthcare for the general public. • EXAMPLE: For young people, lowered barriers to foreign investment and greater integration are providing better educational services in the context of the AEC. Student mobility, the transfer of academic credits and the creation of research clusters will help improve ASEAN’s higher education system and provide support to the estimated 6,500 higher education institutions and 12 million students in the ten Member States.
  • 35. 27
  • 36. 28 ASEANEconomicCommunity “MAKING CAPITAL WORK FOR YOU” “EXPANDING ACCESS TO FINANCE” • AmorerobustASEANfinancialsectortranslatesintostronger financial intermediation, capacity and risk management to support national and regional growth, and stronger cooperation to reduce vulnerabilities to external shocks and market volatility. • EXAMPLE: The seven ASEAN Exchanges have a combined market capitalisation of approximately US$2.9 trillion with more than 3,600 companies listed on their exchanges. Since the launch of ASEAN Exchanges in April 2011, a number of key initiatives have been rolled out. Some of these include the ASEAN Trading Link, the ASEAN Stars and the Invest ASEAN Retail Roadshow. These initiatives have created significant awareness of ASEAN as an attractive location for retail and institutional investors. The collaboration will jointly promote the development of ASEAN as an asset class and increase liquidity by streamlining access to ASEAN capital markets.
  • 37. 29 • EXAMPLE: CIMB, a strong advocate of regional financial integration, thinks of itself as an ASEAN bank. Now operating in nine out of the ten ASEAN countries, the bank has what it calls a “multi-local” business model that strongly relies on localexpertisetodeepenitsinvolvementandbranchnetwork into rural and urban areas in many countries at once. • EXAMPLE: With a more developed banking sector, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs will have better access to financial services. In addition, initiatives on financial inclusion and financial literacy will support individuals in their own financial planning.
  • 38. 30 ASEANEconomicCommunity “ASEAN PROFESSIONALS ON THE MOVE” “BEST PEOPLE AND BEST PRACTICES” • The diversity of talent found in the ten Member States is a major benefit for ASEAN employers as they build regional companies. • EXAMPLE: ASEAN has come up with an information and communications technology (ICT) skill standards and certification framework in order to develop human capital and enable the free flow of ICT professionals within the region. The framework focuses on five key ICT areas: software development, ICT project management, enterprise architecture design, network and system administration and information system and network security. • EXAMPLE: Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) such as ASEAN’s MRA in engineering and architectural services provide for recognition and registration of certified professionals to practice in other ASEAN countries. The MRAs will also change the way ASEAN professionals
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  • 40. 32 ASEANEconomicCommunity think about their careers as the prospect of marketing and utilising their skills across the ASEAN region becomes more attainable. • EXAMPLE: AirAsia, the regional low-cost air carrier, has expanded its network greatly ahead of the open skies policy under the AEC. But as important as hardware and landing rights are, the company’s employees are the key to success. “People are our greatest asset,” the company says. Its mechanics, pilots, cabin crew and others come from many different ASEAN countries, allowing the airline to benefit from ASEAN’s diversity. • EXAMPLE: Under the MRA on Tourism Professionals signed in 2012, training and education institutions using the Common ASEAN Tourism Curriculum will help improve their graduates’ eligibility to work in other Member States. This opens up great opportunities to enhance the quality of services and human resources in the tourism industry.
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  • 43. 35 What comes next? ASEAN is committed to fulfil the 2007 pledge to implement the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015. That said, many of the AEC deliverables have already been realised between 2007 and now, and our businesses are already enjoying the fruits of greater ASEAN integration as a result. ASEAN has now focused its attention on the implementation of remaining deliverables under the AEC. While there are challenges that we will face in completing the task, ASEAN’s commitment to implementing the AEC remains undiminished. AEC 2015 will also not be the end of ASEAN integration efforts. At their annual summit meeting in Brunei Darussalam in 2013, the ASEAN heads of state committed to creating a “Post-2015 Vision” that builds on the blueprint for an ASEAN Community and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. The leaders’ goal is to realise a community that is “politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible and a truly people-oriented, We need to continually engage the private sector as the key partner in making the AEC a success
  • 44. 36 ASEANEconomicCommunity people-centred and rules- based ASEAN.” The heads of state, leaders in the private sector and other experts know that regional integration and the building of a single market for the AEC is a process that is just beginning. It will continue past 2015 as barriers are lowered, connectivity is enhanced, infrastructure is built and legal frameworks are refined to fit the community. New situations will emerge, fears must be overcome, unforeseen consequences will be encountered and solutions will be found. Our ASEAN people, in all their diversity and creativity, are the most crucial factor on our journey. We need to continually engage the private sector as the key partner in making the AEC a success. We encourage ASEAN businesses in particular to think of ASEAN as a whole and develop their own ASEAN strategies, leveraging on the AEC initiatives and the opportunities they present. This is a golden opportunity for the region’s growing business community. Seize the moment. Get involved! “2015: JUST THE BEGINNING” We are embarked on a journey to transform economic relations in Southeast Asia