The 364-day delay of the Asean Economic Community was a disappointing but necessary step for the group’s 10 members to get their houses in order before leading the community on to the greater goal of the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The scorecard that the Asean secretariat prepared early this year on how well (or badly) members had fared in making the agreed preparations for the AEC was already a mild wake-up call.
That was followed by a more blunt assessment prepared by the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) in October and presented to Asean leaders in Phnom Penh two weeks ago. It was a strong reminder of the prerequisites for the effective launch of the AEC.
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