ISD Participates in the Kick-Off of the ‘Talking ASEAN’

Jakarta, December 16 2016. December 2016 marks the first anniversary of the official launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Although ASEAN was successful enough in pushing for ASEAN’s economic integration among its members and to the global economy, the homework is still left in integrating the ten economies together. The immediate priority of the AEC now is to complete the plans of 2015 AEC Blueprint and to start working on implementing the AEC Blueprint 2025.

There is a little doubt that ASEAN’s economic integration is becoming more of an anomaly in a world taken over by a wave of populism with a protectionist bent, but experts generally agree that the benefits of a deeper economic integration outweighs the benefits if each ASEAN member state pursues their own distinct agenda. On another hand, business practitioners, especially those who operate within several ASEAN countries, feel that the implementation of AEC has likely or unlikely changed the outlook of their businesses.

In collaboration with The Habibie Center, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Republic of Indonesia, BINUS University, and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to ASEAN, ISD participated in the launching of the collaborative Talking ASEAN: 1 Year ASEAN Economic Community: Progress and Challenges of Southeast Asian Economic Integration. This is the first “Talking ASEAN” that involves concrete cooperation of the aforementioned institutions.

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The session was marked by a presentation of Professor Patrick Ziegenhain from the University of Malaya (Asia-Europe Institute). Professor Patrick noted that despite the 92.7% achievements of ASEAN prioritized measures, there are still two big problems remain unsolved. They are non-tariff barriers and significant reduction of administrative costs. Speaking of potential, Professor Patrick agreed that AEC is very promising in years to come due to the fact that ASEAN is undergoing rising population, rising incomes, growing consumer sophistication, and improving infrastructure.

“In 10-20 years, there will be a higher demand for a wide range of goods and services such as telecommunication, education, financial services and healthcare,” said Professor Patrick.

In the panel session, four panelists concluded that ASEAN should be the hub and enabler for wider trade with the global economy, while in the same time should promote a more inclusive trade among ASEAN member states by eliminating non-tariff barriers. Together with H.E Amb. Rahmat Pramono (Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to ASEAN), Dr. Yose Rizal Damuri (ISD Board of Founders), Dr. Nia Sarinastiti (ISD Board of Directors), and Felia Salim (ISD Board of Advisors) shared their views about how AEC has impacted the Indonesia’s economy.

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