DELGOSEA Members Optimistic about the ASEAN Economic Community

DELGOSEA Members Optimistic about the ASEAN Economic Community
10/02/2015

Results of a recent survey amongst the DELGOSEA membership showed that members are getting prepared for the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of this year, which eases the free movement of goods, services and people across the region.

The highlights of the survey results are:

  • The AEC is seen as important and viewed with optimism across the region
  • Preparations for the AEC are underway, but not yet well advanced
  • The sectors of tourism and agriculture/mariculture are seen as best assets of the different regions

The survey showed that the ASEAN Economic Community that will come into being at the end of 2015 is seen as important or very important for their organisation/community by 85%of the respondents to a survey DELGOSEA organised amongst its members. There was nobody who thought the AEC was unimportant or not very important, indicating that the awareness of the changes that are afoot is high across the region.

However, while awareness is high, preparations are not all that advanced: only 10% of respondents think that their region/community is well prepared already and 25% feel that preparations are well underway. In the majority of regions/communities the preparations have only just begun (55% of respondents). It is good news, however, that no region is completely unprepared – at least as far as the respondents were aware of: 10% did not know if any efforts to prepare their community for the AEC had yet been made. Clearly, there is much still to do over the next nine months.

While preparations might be on the slow side, the arrival of the AEC is viewed with optimism: nearly 80% of respondents report that in discussions about the AEC the opportunities are mentioned most often, though there is also high awareness of the challenges the implementation will bring (reported by nearly 60% of individuals). However, less than 20% felt that discussions were focusing on the risks that the planned free movement of people, services and goods would bring for their environment, suggesting that positive attitudes outweigh fears.

Asked which sector was their region’s trump card for the AEC, more than 50% of respondents felt that tourism was their main asset – there is clearly hope that tourist destinations will benefit from an increased ease in the movement of labour and the provision of cross-border services. There were also many who felt that in their region the agriculture/mariculture sector would profit most, followed by SMEs and Innovative industries. Traditional industries and financial services were mentioned least often as strong points for the AEC.

But how well informed are people and organisations about the changes? Here, a mixed picture emerged: Most people felt that there was information available, mainly from the national government, but also from the ASEAN Secretariat and their local government. However, more than 20% of respondents found it hard to find information, which is a worrying sign and shows that communication efforts need to be intensified. This was confirmed through the survey, as a large majority of organisations are keen to see regional organisations, such as DELGOSEA, provide more information on the AEC.

We have taken note and shall be happy to intensify our information campaign on the ASEAN Economic Community!

For more information about the AEC on www.delgosea.eu:

Hanoi Workshop: Local Economic Development in a Time of Change for ASEAN

ACVN’s Roadmap for the Role of Local Governments in the New AEC