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ASEAN Summit's Commitment To The AEC

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

12 April 2010


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, meeting in Vietnam for the 16th ASEAN Summit on April 8-9, 2010, reaffirmed their strong commitment to speed up the effective implementation of the roadmap towards an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

The AEC is planned for creation by 2015. While the member states were satisfied with the progress so far, relevant ministers and senior officials were urged to speed up implementation through the timely ratification of agreements and protocols, as well as concrete action. It was agreed “to intensify efforts in intra-ASEAN economic integration”, while the Summit “stressed the need to finalise all remaining measures, and urged for prompt implementation of all our economic integration commitments by all member states.”

The Summit noted that “since the adoption of the AEC blueprint in November 2007, significant progress has been made towards achieving the AEC. Beginning January 1, 2010, 99.5% of tariff lines in the ASEAN’s inclusion lists under the common effective preferential tariffs for ASEAN free trade area (AFTA) stood at 0 to 5%, making this the most tangible high-impact outcome for ASEAN.”

It was further pointed out that “intra-ASEAN trade almost tripled to USD458.1bn in 2008 as compared to 2000 when all ten member states joined the AFTA. Together with the progress made in the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade, this process underscored ASEAN’s commitment to facilitating free flow of goods in ASEAN.”

In this connection, the Summit looked forward to the entry-into-force of the ASEAN trade in goods agreement by May 2010.

The member states also welcomed the “substantial progress made in the liberalization of trade in services under the ASEAN framework agreement on services, and the improved and expanded investment commitments under the ASEAN comprehensive investment agreement (ACIA).” The ACIA is due for implementation by August 2010.

Other commitments, for example, to the free flow of capital and the development of an integrated ASEAN capital market, and the creation of a single aviation market in ASEAN by 2015, were also reaffirmed.

The Summit’s final communiqué pointed out the achievements represented by the various external economic integration initiatives as of January 1 2010, especially the realization of the ASEAN-China and the ASEAN-South Korea free trade agreements (FTAs), and the entry into force of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA and the ASEAN-India trade in goods agreement.

It was disclosed that, with Japan, further improvement in the trade in services and investment chapters under the ASEAN-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement are being considered. It was felt that “ASEAN’s ‘Plus One’ FTAs have provided substantial market access for ASEAN exports to our major trading partners, especially China and India.”

Note was taken of the initiatives being undertaken to take forward broader regional integration by considering the recommendations of both the East Asia FTA and the comprehensive economic partnership for East Asia studies together. The Summit “looked forward to receiving the progress report at the 17th ASEAN Summit in October 2010 and to discussing with our dialogue partners the future direction of regional architecture with ASEAN at its core.”

TAGS: tax | investment | free trade agreement (FTA) | Brunei | India | law | tariffs | trade treaty | investment treaty | China | Laos | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | agreements | Cambodia | Indonesia | Malaysia | trade | Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) | Japan | Vietnam

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