ASEAN should step up integration

BANGKOK - Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should strive harder in meeting targets if they wish to see the full potential and benefits of an integrated regional economy, speakers at a forum on Tuesday said.

With dismantled barriers and fulfilled plans for regional logistics and transport connectivity, ASEAN stands to reap immense economic benefits, said Ruth Banomyong, a professor at Thammasat Business School at a forum titled "Era of the AEC: Scenarios, Stakes, and Strategies." Nikkei Asian Review was one of the conference organizers

Findings of Banomyong's simulation research show that if the ASEAN master plan on connectivity is executed by 2030, countries are well positioned for greater economic expansion, he said. "[But] not all countries will benefit at the same level," Banomyong noted.

Nine months away from the formal establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community on December 31, nearly 80 per cent of the targets spelled out in the blueprint have been achieved, said Jayant Menon, Asian Development Bank Lead Economist.

And with AEC just around the corner, Menon conceded that not all targets are going to be met before the deadline.

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