ASEAN traders need to be informed on AEC to increase intra-regional trade (Philippines News Agency)

Enterprises in Southeast Asia need to be more informed about the benefits of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to increase intra-regional trade.

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) ASEAN Studies Center Fellow and Lead Researcher Moe Thuzar, during the two-day Leadership Conference of the Public Management Development Program (PMDP) at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) here, has attributed the low intra-ASEAN trade to the lack of information of the stakeholders about AEC.

AEC aims ASEAN to be a single market and production base. The economic integration also targets to eliminate tariff on goods when trading across the 10 ASEAN member-states.

Thuzar mentioned that the share of intra-regional trade to ASEAN’s total trade only pegged at 25 percent.

The Philippines is among the Southeast Asian countries which has lowest amount of trade with other ASEAN members.

ASEAN members which are more dependent to intra-regional trade are Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Singapore.

The lack of information among ASEAN traders has led to low utilization rate of the preferential tariff from the AEC, Thuzar stressed.

She added that a more open economy gets lion’s share on trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are among the nations with highest trade value in the region.

Vietnam even surpassed the Philippines. The two countries were followed by Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, and Lao in terms of total trade value.

In terms of FDI inflows, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia attracted largest amount of FDI.

Thuzar noted that Vietnam is now becoming an FDI destination in ASEAN.

The ASEAN integration will take place on the last day of the year after the 10 member-nations agreed for early implementation of the AEC during the ASEAN Summit in the Philippines in 2007.

The initial date of implantation for AEC was year 2020. (PNA)