Dr. Ponciano S. Intal, Jr.
(Senior Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East ASIA)
Dr. Intal started his presentation on accelerating development and deepening economic integration by highlighting the fact that apart from China, ASEAN is the most successful region to reduce poverty and with the highest economic growth. ASEAN is also a growing investment hotpot in the world. Compare to India and China, ASEAN is far more dependent to foreign direct investment thus making it crucial to attract this capital for economic growth. ASEAN also offers larger middle class, which also means larger room to grow. But of course there are still challenges within it. ASEAN still have high percentage of people who live under the living standard, millions of poor people still struggling. These are the challenges faced by ASEAN Economic Community.
Dr. Intal pointed out that to accelerate growth and development is actually very difficult, in addition to specific requirements and needing difficult policy reforms.
ASEAN Economic community means deeper integration where all aspect is connected and data go through quickly. Fast services is required in order to cut total time needed to process document thus trading activities can take place in shorter time. Although it is difficult to do and takes times, it is actually very useful because fewer documents will be involved in this borderless community, shorter period of time will be spent to bring the commodities to the market and all government will be connected into one system which means standardization.
Dr. Ponciano emphasizes that ASEAN Community in its blue print offers various easiness for business actor especially on the openness of ASEAN market, thus allowing a faster export and import activities due to simplicity of permit procedures. This also could help business actor saving more of their capital and expanding their market. However, some ASEAN countries still face the difficulties in realizing the opportunities of economic openness. At the moment, only Malaysia and Singapore who have been receiving the best of open market and integration of economic system in ASEAN. This is the challenge: how to bring the benefits in economy to all ASEAN member states through collaboration and cooperation.