The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) consists of 10 South East Asian emerging nations comprising a large and relatively young, skilled, yet relatively low cost labour force with high literacy levels, technology savviness and global mindset. Whilst this has made South East Asia a principal region of attraction for manufacturing and outsourcing bases over the past decade, the formalization and rise of ASEAN as an economic organisation, community of burgeoning wealth and consumption in its own right presents significant opportunities for private investors and for public sector organisations alike.
Establishment and Objectives of the AEC
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), often referred to as "AEC2015", is set for formal establishment in 2015 - an acceleration from the original target date of 2020. The AEC is one of the three pillars of ASEAN, having the objective to implement economic integration initiatives to create a single market for the free flow of Goods, Services, Investment, Capital and Skilled Labour across ASEAN nations.
AEC initiatives span the public and private sectors, with specific goals set forth to:
• Enable a single market and production base
• Create a highly competitive economic region
• Achieve equitable economic development
• Become fully integrated into the larger global economy
Fast facts on ASEAN and the AEC
• ASEAN / AEC formal names: Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) / ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)
• Member nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
• Population: 605 million (9% of the world's population) ; Median age: 28 years (vis-à-vis 40 years in EU)
• GDP (Current USD): US$2.2 trillion ; GDP Growth (2012): 5.1% ;
• Shadow Economy (incremental to GDP): Range ~13% (Singapore) to ~55% (Thailand, Myanmar)
• Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): US$115 billion
• Corporate Income Tax: Range 17% (Singapore) to 30% (Philippines)
• Top 3 AEC markets for ease of doing business (World Bank ranking): Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand
• Free Trade Agreements in place: China (ACFTA), Japan (AJCEP), Korea (AKFTA), India (AITIG), Australia-NZ (AANZFTA)
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