|Posted on May 14, 2012 at 10:55 PM|
Now that the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 has been made official, almost everyone, in one way or another, is gearing up for it. Said move has become the buzz word, but what exactly is it? On the official website of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the regional organization's statement about the planned integration runs prominently on its homepage, and to wit:
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement for the building of the AEC. In short, the AEC will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.
Given this, it is not surprising to see how both private and public offices actively prepare for the eventual unfolding of events. One of the most obvious actions being being taken up right now is to make everyone proficient in the most commonly used tool in the hope that it will make everyone competent: That is, to raise one's use of the English language to a competent level. Nevertheless, it also raises a number of issues. It fuels doubts. One common question attendant to it is whether such attitude towards it is the right one. Many ask if the various steps being undertaken are the right moves towards achieving the desired results. Surely, AEC 2015 presents numerous opportunities to ASEAN-member countries. However, are the member-countries ready for this? Are their people geared up for the changes the economic community will bring? To put things within the context of this discussion, is Thailand ready for it?
In my next post, I will share with you what Visanu Vongsinsirikul, the Director of Dhurakij Pundit University's ASEAN Community Preparation Centre (ACPC), thinks in as far as preparing Thailand for changes AEC 2015 will bring.