Tag Archive for: Championing ASEAN

ICONAS Speech Summary – Mr. Suthipand Chirathivat

Feature - Remarks Suthipand

Championing ASEAN Economic Community

– Mr. Suthipand Chirathivat  

Mr. Suthipand focuses his discussion on the framework of championing ASEAN Economic Community by discussing it on four remarks: growing ASEAN economies and market integration, driving AEC through growing ASEAN market integration, managing AEC through sectoral and regional change by learning from Thailand’s experiences and the opportunities lies behind AEC for ASEAN people.

On first note, Mr. Suthipand highlights the growing number of ASEAN market and its integration despite global slowdown. He quoted that there are an average of 4% of GDP growth in all ASEAN 10 member countries where Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam turn to be the new growth center. Although so, ASEAN markets should remain its concern on the possibilities of scale back US QE, Chinese currency movements, capital flows and exchange rate fluctuations and exports slowdown. However ASEAN economies stand as 3rd biggest population in the world, with the GDP size rank 9th in the world and trade value rank 5th in the world. This shows the growth of South markets where ASEAN is more regionally integrated and globally connected than ever before although intra-states transaction remains low.

On the second note, Mr. Suthipand delivers issues on how to drive the growth of AEC through growing ASEAN market integration. AEC means single market, production base and increasing connectivity, which will allow each ASEAN country to involved in the network of global production thus allowing also ASEAN country to grow in the context of rising ASEAN, Asia and the world. However, progress is still below expectations and uneven.

AEC development is supported by four strategic pillars, which are single market and production base, competitive economic region, equitable economic development and integration into the global economy. These all four pillars pay attention on the development of human resources as well as research and development. Through this four pillars, the expected outcomes are such as readiness acceleration through active involvement from private sector, easier and cheaper access to product for consumers because the competitive region with wide range of options and extensive consumer protection. Another expected outcomes are the free flow of skilled labor within the region, which will create bigger job creation and opportunities; and providing platform for agreements to integrate ASEAN member countries deeper into global economy.

In the midst all of these, Thailand is the second largest economy of ASEAN member country, with prospective advantages. Since the earliest effort to welcome AEC, Thailand has been experiencing significant growth on GDP percentage since 2007 to 2011. Meanwhile, total trading number has also increased by 6.0 percent since 2008. Thailand is also well-known as the regional hub for automobiles, electrical and electronic production networks.

Embarking from the experiences of Thailand, Mr. Suthipand continue the discussion to embracing AEC as an opportunity for ASEAN by addressing seriously challenges like putting ASEAN people at the centre of the regionalism, mapping out an education/a campus that could embrace the region’s diversity and working together to avoid the middle income trap. These efforts should be done by empowering ASEAN people as ASEAN is a people centered organization.

ICONAS Speech Summary, Amb. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja

Feature - Remarks Puja

Championing ASEAN Political – Security Society: Opportunities and Challenge

– Amb. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja

Mr. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja started his presentation on the question of how many people in the room know about ASEAN Community. The answer to this question was that not many people in the seminar room actually know about ASEAN Community. His Excellency identifies this unawareness as one of the challenge. He is not surprised toward the fact because initially, ASEAN was established 47 years ago for the security and stability of the region. It is now growing towards ASEAN Community, which is not an event but a process of having a caring sharing community. As an ongoing process, ASEAN Community 2015 is looking forward to a community, which is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible.

Focusing on ASEAN Political and Security Community, he conveys that this pillar is aimed to ensure the people of ASEAN live in peace at a large in a just, democratic and harmonious environment. To do so, 84% of ASEAN Political-Security Community Blue Print has been implemented per August 2014, 82.1% for scorecard, and 96.7 of Number Action Lines. The commitment ASEAN would like to achieve has always been peace, stability and economic growth for ASEAN member countries. The same commitment is also uphold through the realization of ASEAN Community, a sharing and caring society.

On the second part of his presentation, Mr. Agung Wesaka Puja focuses on opportunities and challenge faced by ASEAN. He identify that ASEAN has the opportunities to grow and develop because of factors such region relative stability and peace, established cooperation with major powers, equipped with legal instruments to ensure peace, security and stability through arrangement like ZOPFAN, TAC, SEANWFZ and ACCT; existing forum and mechanism to address the security issues and to promote peace and stability like ADF, ADMM and AMMTC. Also, another opportunities in ASEAN is that it is a huge market of 600 millions of people that still have rooms for substantial economic growth. However, Mr. Agung Wesaka Puja also admitted that despite those opportunities, ASEAN should be careful and aware of challenges on traditional and non-traditional security issues, territorial disputes, trust deficit, development gap among state members, middle income trap risk, corruption and poor governance and slowdown in the US, the EU and the Chinese GDP growth.

To address this challenges, Mr. Agung Wesaka Puja addressed in his conclusion in Indonesian perspective that there is a need of a call to action where consolidating ASEAN Community should start at home first by strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and three pillars of ASEAN Community 2015, implementation of Bali Concord III and its action plan as well as pursuing the identified ASEAN Development Goals of 2030 which is to double up the total number of GDP of ASEAN state members and cut half the total poverty number of state members. Hopefully, by next year when the ASEAN chairmanship is on Malaysia, these goals can be followed up.

Mr. Agung Wesaka Puja then moves up his discussion into Indonesian Perspective on the Indo-Pacific. The discourse of ASEAN nowadays has also widened into other countries in the Pacific. For instance the conflict in South China Sea, which shows that there is trust deficit, maritime, and land borders conflict as well as the changing transformation of a country that affect the region. It adds up the challenging part of establishing “we feeling” among the state members of ASEAN.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Agung Wesaka Puja conveyed that it is important for the academician, scholars and students to first understand about ASEAN Community as the frontliner of ASEAN Community 2015. He also emphasized that ASEAN Community 2015 is not an event but rather a process of integration that is started on 2015.