Today, ASEAN's main challenge is to push for further integration in the region and to work on non-tariff measures with its trading partners. The number of non-tariff measures does not reflect the level of protectionism, but transparency does matter to smooth trade.
The growth of bilateral FTAs in this region has led to what many economists refer to as the "noodle bowl problem." Rather than having an integrated set of trade rules applicable to the various governments, the region is complicated by dozens of bilateral agreements that are often inconsistent.
One roadblock to an EU-ASEAN FTA is the increase of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in ASEAN, a situation is being ameliorated byt the creation of an NTM database by the ASEAN (national think tanks and government officials) together with the ERIA, the UNCTAD and the WTO.
Responding to a question by Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee on where Asean stands in France’s strategic calculus, Mr Hollande said France has all along had an Asia strategy because its businesses understood the potential of the region.
It has always been their interest to build a tighter and stronger cooperation with regions that are becoming “more and more competitive because the more we cooperate with competitive regions, the more competitiveness we will gain back than what we have lost.
While the EU is a unique experiment in integration in many ways, the world abounds in other kinds of regional trade agreements; the WTO records more than 635. Still, as the most advanced form of market integration in the world, the EU provides a good model for other regions, including Asia.
ASEAN is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, under the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” The anniversary of this important economic bloc comes two years after the launch of the AEC, amid high hopes to establish a global economic powerhouse.
This week, the UK government will finally start the process for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. The rest of the world is assessing how exposed other countries are to the almost inevitable economic fallout that will follow Brexit.
This selection of trade and investment articles are not necessarily representative of the EU-ABC's views.