You are on page 1of 4


December 2013 - The ASEAN Integration Monitoring Report focuses on policy and
market integration outcomes achieved in ASEAN Member States as part of the Pillar One
of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) formation process. The aim is to assess
progress drawing on evidence from a large range of indicators on policies and outcomes.
The report then suggests priorities for future actions for implementing the AEC 2015
Trends and Patterns of Merchandise Trade

Intra-ASEAN elimination of tariff protection has been achieved completely for

Singapore and Brunei.

Low and declining most-favored-nation tariffs by ASEAN countries have contributed

to low intra-ASEAN preference margins, which in turn help explain the low utilization
rates of ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) preferences, especially in some
member states.

In contrast to tariff reform, there has been little progress by ASEAN Member States
in the elimination of their non-tariff barriers (NTBs), despite it being an explicit AEC
Blueprint goal.

Most of the ASEAN economies impose not only NTBs on imports, but also maintain
high export restrictions, both in absolute terms and in comparison to other relevant
regional groupings.

Taken together, the trends over the last seven years for various indicators point to
a high degree of intra-regional merchandise trade integration within ASEAN.

In terms of export performance, Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar all
suffer from relatively low export diversification.

Trade Facilitation and Logistics

A strong emphasis on the facilitation of trade flows.

The ASEAN trade facilitation agenda is not only about customs reform.

In the area of transport, progress has been uneven.

This overall progress in facilitating trade is reflected in key international indicators.

Trade costs have been falling, especially for intra-regional trade.

Trends and Patterns in Services Trade and Policies

Services are an important and growing component of the global economy, and the
growth of services trade has outpaced goods trade globally and in ASEAN Member

Services will become increasingly critical in the future in ASEAN countries.

Some ASEAN countries have already become significant exporters of modern

services in sectors such as professional services and information and communication
technology (ICT), including business processing outsourcing (BPO), higher education,
and health tourism.

The key finding in this area is that despite recent progress in services sector









underdeveloped and actual implementation in services integration has been limited.

The ASEAN countries have clearly recognized the important role that services will
play in future growth and development.

Investments and the ASEAN Region

The role of foreign investments in ASEAN global integration has grown noticeably
over the past decade, even taking into account the financial crisis of 2008.

Remarkably, intra-regional investments have taken a central role in this context.

However, the distribution of foreign investments in the region is very uneven:

three-fourths of investments are concentrated in five countries, and half in one
country, Singapore.

The fact that foreign investment in ASEAN is geared towards investment in

services industries and manufacturing, which are integrated into global and regional
supply chains, suggests that there are still important barriers to regional trade

In terms of investment policies, progress is needed almost at all levels, but

especially in the case of restrictive foreign equity caps.

The institutional approach of the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement

(ACIA) towards liberalization of investment would also benefit from improvements.

Less visible than restrictions on foreign equity are regulations such as performance
requirements, restriction on capital movements, and movement of labor that can also
severely restrict investments.

Implementation or facilitation of investment is also very important.

The facilitation of the investment agenda is closely related to the need to improve
monitoring and transparency of policies


ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretariat and the East Asia and Pacific Region of the
World Bank signed an agreement for the World Bank to provide advisory services to ASEAN to strengthen
its capacity to monitor progress towards achieving the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) under the AEC
Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity Building Program (AECMEP). The AECMEP is co-financed by the
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through the support of the ASEAN Australia
Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II) and the World Bank.
With the AECMEP, ASEAN will embark on a systematic monitoring of the regions integration initiatives to
realize the AEC by 2015. Through this program, ASEAN will not only be in a position to monitor its
integration progress but also to come up with appropriate recommendations to address the identified gaps
to further enhance the timely implementation of the AEC," said

Dr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-

General of ASEAN for the AEC. He also said that such monitoring and evaluation activities will be overseen
by the newly established ASEAN Integration Monitoring Office. Effective monitoring will facilitate the
adoption of the remaining liberalization and regulatory reforms and will move us closer to our goals of an
integrated ASEAN, he added.
The partnership between ASEAN Secretariat and the World Bank is expected to further strengthen ties
between the two institutions and will complement the on-going collaboration in the areas of disaster
management, disaster risk insurance, infrastructure financing, social protection, food security and global
development and learning network. The ten ASEAN economies together constitute a market of US$ 1.8
trillion, measured by GDP, a very significant economic block. said Bert Hofman, World Bank Chief
Economist for the East Asia Pacific Region. Deepening regional integration through the ASEAN Economic
Community can become a new driver of economic growth for the East Asia region.
Under the agreement, the World Bank will support ASEAN Secretariat and member states to prepare joint
ASEAN-WB Integration Monitoring Reports, ASEAN Services Integration report, collect and store policy data,
and organize technical workshops on activities where officials from all ASEAN countries will participate.
This program was presented and endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Economic Officials in January 2012.
ASEAN, established in August 1967 and consisting of 10 member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam), has emerged
as one of the most dynamic and enduring regional organizations in the developing world. Future regional
integration in South East Asia will be largely driven by ASEANs goal to establish the ASEAN Economic
Community by 2015. It is expected that ASEAN countries will form a single market in which there will be
free flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and freer flow of capital in 2015.