Over half of businesses surveyed not aware of AEC

The lack of interest in Asean developments among business communities within Asean has been cited as a possible cause behind the slow progress of implementing the Asean Economic Community (AEC) 2015, said the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The international financial institution conducted a survey to find out whether business firms within the region were aware of the AEC 2015. The survey’s findings are discussed in a recent online publication titled “The Asean Economic Community: A Work in Progress”.

“There is concern that part of the reason for the slow progress of implementing AEC 2015 may have to do with the Asean business community showing little or no interest in Asean developments,” a summary of the survey said.

ADB gave as an example that it was more likely for respondent firms to be aware of the free trade agreements (FTAs) between Asean and the People’s Republic of China than of AEC 2015.

The primary concerns of the respodent firms were non-tariff barriers, including different regulatory standards, excessive regulation and lack of information about foreign business environments.

The survey was carried out in nine ASEAN member states, with a total 381 firms, said ADB.

Overall, more than half or 55 per cent of the respondents said they were not aware of AEC 2015.