Asean economic unification to be realized 5 years earlier
Tue, June 8 2010 07:12 | 916 Views
Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - ASEAN member states are to unify their economies by 2015 or five years earlier than initially planned, an Indonesian official said.
"The ASEAN member countries are preparing to become an economic entity like the Eurpean Union in Europe. It is the realization of one of three ASEAN accords, the other two being unification in the political and security fields, and in the socio-cultural sphere," Indonesia Ambassador to ASEAN I Gde Ngurah Swanjaya said here Monday.
The ASEAN region would become a single market. No duties would be imposed any more on trade among member countries, he said.
"There will be zero import tariffs among ASEAN countries and this is expected to lower the prices of their goods," said Swanjaya.
Besides cutting import tariffs to zero percent, the agreement would also require industries from outside ASEAN to build plants in the region.
"ASEAN is to become a production center for world industries. Automotive and other industries must have a production base in one of the ASEAN member countries, This would apply for instance to Toyota, Nissan, Panasonic or other international companies," he said.
According to Swanjaya, the economic unification would benefit the ASEAN member countries because thereby international investment would flow into the region.
Along with investment, job opporuntiies would also increase in the region, he said while noting that the ASEAN region was a vast market of about 500 million people.
ASEAN`s economic unification would also mean liberalization of the services sector. Manpower in ASEAN member countries could then work anywhere in the region.
"We will then no longer be able to prevent people from other ASEAN member countries to come to Indonesia to work, provided they meet international certification standards, like medical practitioners and hoteliers," he said.
The economic unification policy would pose both opportunities and challenges to the people in each ASEAN member country to achieve the highest possible professional quality standards.
"Willy nilly, we must be able to increase our competitiveness. If not, we will lose in the competition,` Swanjaya said. (*)
Editor: B Kunto Wibisono
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