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Asean

Moving towards an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

Launched as a political bloc and security pact in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, ASEAN has evolved to embrace an ambitious economic agenda. Its latest project is to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 31 December 2015.

Boris Sullivan

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Launched as a political bloc and security pact in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, ASEAN has evolved to embrace an ambitious economic agenda. Its latest project is to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 31 December 2015.

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But is this likely? The blueprint for achieving the goal envisages the AEC standing on four pillars and meeting the deadline depends on progress on each of them. There have been a number of noteworthy achievements on the first pillar of realising a single market and production base.

The greatest success has been in tariff reduction. Following the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area, common effective preferential tariff rates between the ASEAN-6 (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) fell to virtually zero.

As a result, more than 70 per cent of intra-ASEAN trade incurs no tariff and less than 5 per cent is subject to tariffs above 10 per cent. With tariff rates largely irrelevant, leaders need to prioritise eliminating non-tariff barriers

Author: Jayant Menon, Asian Development Bank

Original post:
Moving too slowly towards an ASEAN Economic Community

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Banking

Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay Launch Cross-border Payment System

Olivier Languepin and Abhishek Prakash

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In a global first, Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems, PayNow and PromptPay allowing international fund transfers between the two countries within minutes.

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

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Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Vietnam

Vietnam: Manufacturing to remain the key driver of growth

We expect robust exports, led by strong global demand for electronics, to continue to underpin solid economic growth over the remainder of this year with GDP forecast to rise close to 8%.

Boris Sullivan

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Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Industrial Zone: Opportunities for Foreign Investors

GDP growth was unchanged at 4.5% y/y in Q1. Manufacturing activity surged, while the recovery in service sector activity and construction continued albeit at a more subdued pace as some localised social distancing measures were reinstated.

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