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AEC 2015 and beyond: Benchmarking on the EU integration

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LET me start by saying the world was a very different place in 1950 when the European integration process started. It was a different place both in economic and geopolitical terms. Both the economic and the geopolitical differences are crucial why European integration took the supranational form that it did.
In 1950 the world was just emerging from four appalling decades which has seen two world wars and the Great Depression. All three catastrophes led to widespread restrictions on trade. As a result, the post-war world economy was highly fragmented and characterized by unconvertible currencies, high tariffs, and widespread quotas. Regional trade agreements were, therefore, a desirable option for export-oriented economies.
In contrast, the world economy today is highly globalized. Since Asian export sectors already have access to global markets, they do not have the same interest in regional trade agreements. As in postwar Europe, Asian growth strategies have been based on exports, but Asian tigers have always been able to export to Western markets, which have been relatively open.
Geopolitics is also important. The US strongly encouraged postwar European integration; even though regional trade arrangements in Europe imposed direct economic cost on the US, it was willing to pay that price in order to advance European political integration. European free-trade areas that did not involve supranational political elements offered economic costs with no corresponding political benefits; the US was, therefore, hostile to organizations such as the European Free Trade Association while remaining strongly supportive of the European Economic Community. In this context, it is useful to compare that the initial steps to create Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) were based on the fear of the expansionary moves of the Republic of China. Decades later, China is trying it again in the South China Sea, which politically puts pressure on Asean to take a joint stand against China.
Comparing what the European Union looks like today with Asean Economic Community to be, here are the differences:

System

Asean

EU

Mandate

Strictly intergovernmental

Hybrid supra-national/intergovernmental

Parliament

No parliament

Elected parliament

Judicial

No Asean law

EU law of higher order than national law

Political

Myriad political systems

Democracy a prerequisite for entry

Monetary

No plan for monetary union

Single monetary union/Euro zone

Economic

Economic Community 2015

One common market

Enforcement

Non-enforceable agreements

Enforceable agreements

In other words, enormous differences in the two systems and consequently we will have to have different expectations. At the same time, however, the EU has changed enormously from the beginnings in the 1950s to where it is today.

But we have to be realistic also that an Asean Secretariat with limited powers, limited funds, limited people cannot do the integration process alone. In my view, business has to be the driver to get things going; business is going to benefit most; business has to see to it that the governments are opening the doors and are enablers, looking at inclusive growth, job generation and the elimination of poverty.

In the end, it is about building a more integrated Asean Region, free from poverty and conflict, prosperous and confident, and well equipped to shape its destiny.
Source : http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/business/asean-economic-community/33227-aec-2015-and-beyond-benchmarking-on-the-eu-integration
Terakhir Diperbaharui ( Kamis, 15 Juni 2017 17:24 )  

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