Who’s afraid of the ASEAN Economic Community?

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 August) – Mindanao’s business sector is saying it is advantageous to Mindanao, citing the 600 million population of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a potential market when the ASEAN Economic Community begins in 2015.

But business leaders like John Gaisano and  Ricardo Julian admit there’s alot of hard work to do before Mindanao can take advantage of the opportunities that the AEC is expected to bring and business leaders like John Gaisano and  Ricardo Julian admit.

Among these are better farm-to-market roads, stabilizing the island’s power situation, easier access to financing for MSME’s skills improvement of workers, and improving other infrastructure necessary to attract investments to the island.

But what about the threats that accompany promises of opportunities?

The other sectors, among them labor, fisherfolk and farmers, academe, are still studying
what the AEC’s impact will be.

Joel Virador, former Bayan Muna Representative, now Bayan Muna Executive Vice President, acknowledges the need to study the implications of the integration which is barely two years away.

According to the ASEAN website, the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC “shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015” which envisions “a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy.”

The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement for the building of the AEC. In short, the AEC will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.

The ASEAN Leaders adopted the ASEAN Economic Blueprint at the 13th ASEAN Summit on 20 November 2007 in Singapore to serve as a coherent master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community.

For a copy of the full text of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, http://www.thailandaec.com/images/stories/document/ASEAN/AEC_blueprint.pdfc Community 2015  (MindaNews)

[This piece was first published in the August 8, 2013 issue of OUR Mindanao newsmagazine[