Special report: Are we ready for Asean Economic Community?

While Asean nations agree that the establishment of the Asean Economic Community shows promise and opportunity for regional economic integration, many are greeting the launch with conservative cheer and prefer to wait and see if it would truly pave t
While Asean nations agree that the establishment of the Asean Economic Community shows promise and opportunity for regional economic integration, many are greeting the launch with conservative cheer and prefer to wait and see if it would truly pave the way for real, barrier-free trade around the region.PHOTO: REUTERS

Asean is set to declare the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) on Dec 31 in its pursuit of a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development and a region that is fully integrated into the global economy. Ten Asean papers of the Asia News Network report on sentiments within their countries for the AEC as the deadline nears in this special report.

Singapore: Benefits of integration still far off for businesses here

Regional governments will reach a milestone at the end of this year, when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is launched - at least in name.

But for businesses, the date will pass without fanfare as Asean has yet to deliver on many of its targets for the ambitious trade pact across the 10 Asean member nations.

Read more here.

The Philippines: Getting ready for challenges, expansion

From the perspective of the Philippines, it is a game changer, maybe the biggest in Asia since China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

But nobody seems to be expecting a big bang when the AEC formally takes off at the end of this year.

Read more here.

Malaysia: More effort needed to prepare SMEs for integrated market

Is Malaysia ready for the AEC?

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed has said the average implementation rate of the measures set out for the AEC framework was 90.5 per cent.

Read more here.

Thailand: Full steam ahead towards regional integration

Big Thai corporate names like Bangkok Bank, Charoen Pokphand Foods, Siam Cement Group and Thai Beverage - all representing different industries - share a similar view that the domestic economy is becoming too small, and are venturing overseas to take advantage of growth opportunities that the Asean Economic Community (AEC) has to offer.

Bangkok Bank, for instance, already has branches in nine countries, all of the Asean states except Brunei. Charoen Pokphand Foods has operations in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, outside of Thailand, in Asean.

Read more here.

Indonesia: Time for SMEs to toughen up

As the largest economy in South- east Asia, Indonesia has a lot at stake in the full implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) by the year end.

By technical measurement, Indonesia is ready for the AEC, given that, by now, its scorecard shows the country's readiness well at 94 per cent, higher than the Asean average of 92 per cent.

Read more here.

Vietnam: Worrying about small firms

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam have paid little attention to the nearing formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

Mr Le Thanh Hai, the deputy manager of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Enterprise Development Foundation, said many enterprises were still little interested in the AEC.

Read more here.

AEC Briefs: Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia

For the latest updates and more stories on the Asean Economic Community (AEC), click here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2015, with the headline 'Are we ready for AEC?'. Print Edition | Subscribe