31 December 2015
The much-anticipated Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into being today amid high hopes that the new economic bloc will loosen business restrictions and enhance trade opportunities for the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The AEC now becomes a reality in the seven countries prepared for it, while Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have been granted a two-year extension. For Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, this is an important milestone in a regional grouping founded 48 years ago.
A recent survey by the Straits Times newspaper of Singapore and members of the Asia News Network found that citizens across the region are generally upbeat amid expectations of increased work and travel opportunities and other improvements in lifestyle.
… Singapore ambassador-at-large Ong Keng Yong has said, more optimistically, the survey indicates general acceptance that having the 10 countries working together will improve everyone’s lot, but he acknowledges “insufficient awareness” among the public of how the nations can forge a cohesive system that will do so. That insufficiency also needs to be addressed.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 31/12/2015