Faster ASEAN Integration Pushed

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Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

CEBU -- The ASEAN private sector yesterday batted for a seamless movement of goods and mutual recognition agreement (MRA) standards on the practice of professions as the region moves to accelerate economic integration in key sectors to 2015 from 2020.

Donald G. Dee, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry that organized the 4th ASEAN Business and Investment Summit ahead of the 12th ASEAN Leaders' Meeting next week, said that ASEAN businessmen needs that a single ASEAN window where all intra-ASEAN transactions can be facilitated.

Dee said that a seamless movement of good is necessary as the private sector is moving to transform the huge consumer market of the region into market of the world from a mere factory of the world.

"Everybody's taking a second look at ASEAN because it has the market that can sustain growth," he said. It has over 500 million population. The accelerated economic integration of ASEAN is expected to be agreed by the ASEAN Leaders next week wherein the original ASEAN six would fast track integration of key sectors to 2015 from 2020 and the four new comers by 2020.

Dee said this can be done with by concentrating on the production of higher value added products rather than relying on cheap labor. He cited the case of the Philippines' garment sector, which has now transformed as manufacturer of branded highend garments for the global market. …