At New Timetable of 2010; RP Not Ready for ASEAN Integration

Manila Bulletin, August 24, 2006 | Go to article overview

At New Timetable of 2010; RP Not Ready for ASEAN Integration


Byline: BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

The Philippine private sector is not yet ready to embrace the ASEAN economic integration set for 2010 as most local industries cannot yet compete in a regional setting.

This was stressed by Trade Ambassador Donald Dee, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as ASEAN economic ministers are currently meeting in Kuala Lumpur approving the creation of a single market or the so-called ASEAN Economic Community similar to the European Community.

Dee stressed that while it had been agreed that the original ASEAN six will attain economic synchronization by 2010, Filipino businessmen have a hard time changing their mindset.

"The problem is how can we change our mindset because while we are trying to think as one ASEAN market some of us are still thinking otherwise," he said.

"We still think as Filipino businessmen," Dee said.

He said this reluctance to embrace the economic integration is borne out of the problem of competitiveness by domestic industries.

Filipino businessmen have not yet attained the level of competitiveness that other ASEAN countries have already attained.

"Local industries are thinking they might lose out to competition," Dee added.

Dee, however, said the local industries have five more years to improve their competitiveness. This can be done through continued collaboration with the government and the private sector.

ASEAN economic ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur have agreed to push for the creation of a single regional market by 2015, five years ahead of schedule, to avert the loss of foreign investments to China and India. …

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