Launched as a political bloc and security pact in the aftermath of the Viet Nam War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has evolved to embrace an ambitious economic agenda. Its latest project is to establish the ASEAN Economic Community by 31 December 2015. But is this likely?
Despite much progress so far, it seems likely that the December 2015 deadline for realizing all four pillars of the AEC will be missed. Rather than playing a blame game as to why the deadline will be missed, here's what should be done during Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015.
The countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus have seen a surge in growth and investor interest in recent years, but the region also faces formidable obstacles. A seminar looked at how closer cross-border ties can help overcome existing challenges, and take advantage of new opportunities.
South Asia-Southeast Asia integration is no longer a pipe dream and with national and regional policy attention, it can become a reality.
The reports provide a practical framework and regional visions for further harmonization of bond markets in the region, expected to reap huge rewards for borrowers and investors.
Multiple and overlapping initiatives in Asia also risk creating a “noodle bowl” phenomena more usually associated with free trade agreements, which bring high transactions costs for economies and business.
Achieving full and free movement of goods, capital, and people within the ASEAN Economic Community is a long process that must continue beyond 2015.
CAREC countries are making progress toward enabling e-commerce as automation improves, infrastructure spreads to rural areas, and regional cooperation promotes cross-border exchanges.
Greater skills mobility can bring more equal opportunities and help close the income gap.
Rail transport can help slash travel time, lower freight costs, and expand cross-border freight consignments across and beyond the region.