Key Policy Makers, Industry Leaders converge towards an AEC Game Plan

Key Policy Makers, Industry Leaders converge towards an AEC Game Plan

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is organizing “Converging Towards An AEC Game Plan,” a Forum to discuss Philippine preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration by 2015.

“The Philippines is primed and ready for the integration of economies among the 10-member states of the ASEAN by 2015,” said Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal, who chairs the Committee for ASEAN Economic Community. “There will be more of evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, changes. What does AEC mean to the Philippines? It means vast opportunities for growth and intra-ASEAN investments, dynamic competition as well as complementation,” Cristobal added.

In preparation for the AEC, member countries have already brought down tariffs across the region. By virtue of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), most of the import duties in ASEAN have been at 0% since January 2010.  99.65% of goods have been traded at zero tariff among Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei. Meanwhile, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have been offering 0-5% duties on 98.6% of goods sourced within the region. Only a few products are still protected by tariffs within ASEAN such as rice, sugar, swine, and chicken.

“Since 2010, most ASEAN goods have been traded in the region at 0% tariff, including products from the Philippines. A considerable number of our local companies have since established their presence within the ASEAN, engaged in healthy competition with businesses located in the region. The private sector has been aggressive in gearing up for competition and complementation, to better serve a bigger market outside of the ASEAN and strengthen their market presence. Government, on the other hand, is addressing non-tariff barriers so we can benefit more from intra-ASEAN trade,” Cristobal added.