ASEAN Moves Closer to Economic Integration
JAKARTA, Sept. 5 (AFP) Southeast Asian countries on Friday completed talks on a road map for economic integration, bringing the region a step closer to creating a Europeanstyle single market covering 530 million people.
The plan calls for the abolition of tariffs in 11 industry sectors by 2007 for six more developed members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
ASEANs four other members Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam have been given until 2012 to abolish tariffs in the 11 priority sectors.
The road map will be submitted to ASEAN leaders for endorsement during their summit in Laos in November.
It is aimed at facilitating businesses within ASEAN to work together in an efficient manner so they can better compete internationally, said ASEAN secretary general Ong Keng Yong.
"In the automotive sector different companies produce motorcars. How can we (governments) as the facilitator of integration provide an easier environment for parts to move around, parts to be produced in certain countries and sent to other countries to be put into bigger products," Ong said.
"To do that requires not just tariff reduction but also ease of administration," he told a press conference after the annual meeting of ASEAN trade ministers. …