1. The Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council was held on 25 August 2010 in Da Nang, Viet Nam. H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam, chaired the Meeting.
Progress in Building the ASEAN Economic Community
2. The Ministers noted the key achievements in implementing the AEC Blueprint and related initiatives, which include the entry into force of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the realisation of ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), and the implementation of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM). They took note that 80 percent of deliverables under the AEC Blueprint for 2008-2009 have been achieved. Despite this progress, they reflected and delved on the root causes of the non-implementation that include delays in the ratification of signed agreements, and the alignment of ASEAN-wide agreements into ASEAN Member States’ national laws and legislation. The Ministers also took note of the initial report on the status of implementation of measures identified for the period of 2010-2011.
3. While recognising the challenges encountered in the implementation of the AEC Blueprint, the Ministers re-affirmed its strong commitments for each ASEAN Member State to realise what have been envisioned by the ASEAN Leaders. They urged for timely ratification, implementation, and compliance with Agreements and Protocols that have been signed.
4. The Ministers also requested relevant sectoral bodies to expedite implementation of measures consistent with the timelines in the AEC Blueprint and to exert maximum effort including allocating adequate resources in implementing measures that would impact the AEC most.
ASEAN Economic Community Communications Plan
5. The Ministers noted the latest status of implementing the AEC Communication Plan, which includes a number of activities have been carried out at the regional level with the dissemination of materials for outreach and advocacy purposes such as the AEC Seminar Kit and media training programmes.
6. The Ministers were of the view that communications activities are essential and an important intermediary to increase transparency and, to raise the sense of urgency for all relevant sectors and other stakeholders to come together to ensure complementation of efforts, unity of purpose and efficient mobilisation of resources. They also underscored the importance of attracting wider participation from the international community for activities relevant to and useful for ASEAN. They welcomed the support of business sector, Dialogue Partners and other external partners in implementing the activities under the AEC Communications Plan.
7. The Ministers emphasised the need for greater engagement with and between sectoral bodies so as to exchange views and gain a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing or cutting across the sector(s) to jointly address them. Noting the importance of the transport sector in ASEAN Connectivity initiative as well as ASEAN economic integration, the Ministers invited the Chairperson of the ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) and discussed the developments and challenges of the sector towards advancing AEC by 2015.
8. The Ministers noted substantial progress in ASEAN transport cooperation and emphasised the key role the transport sector assumes in realising the benefits brought about by trade and investment liberalisation. They deliberated on the challenges of the transport sector which include among others, timely ratification of the signed agreements, undertaking own internal assessment of domestic regulations and concerns that may hamper the implementation of their regional commitments, and resource constraints related to the ability of ASEAN Member States to either provide adequate resources or to gather external resources to implement the initiatives under the transport sector.
9. The Ministers were pleased to note the significant progress made in finalising the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan (ASTP) 2011-2015, the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Master Plan 2011-2015, and the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2011-2015. The Ministers underscored that ASEAN connectivity can be deepened by enhancing physical connectivity and institutional connectivity through the reduction of costs of investment and international trade in goods and services.
10. The Ministers welcomed the finalisation of the draft Protocol 7 on ASEAN Customs Transit System under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT), by ASEAN Directors-General of Customs, and urged them to expedite the conclusion of Protocol 2 on Designation of Frontier Posts under AFAFGIT. Recognising the importance of customs integration in facilitating trade to support the single market and production base and acting as an enabler to a competitive ASEAN, the Ministers requested the ASEAN Directors-General of Customs to expedite the implementation of customs-related measures of the AEC Blueprint, particularly those relating customs clearance efficiency and customs facilitation.
11. The Ministers were pleased to note that Indonesia has completed the transposition of ASEAN Cosmetic Directive into national law and they will put in place the notification system for placement of cosmetic products by 1 January 2011.
LIST OF OTHER MINSTERS ATTENDING AEC COUNCIL
(i) Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam (representing H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam);
(ii) H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia;
(iii) H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR;
(iv) H.E. Mari Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia;
(v) H.E. Bambang Susantono, Vice Minister of Transport, Indonesia;
(vi) H.E. Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia;
(vii) H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar;
(viii) H.E. Gregory Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines;
(ix) H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore;
(x) H.E. Trairong Suwankeeree, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Thailand;
(xi) H.E. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce, Thailand;
(xii) H.E. Nguyen Cam Tu, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam;
(xiii) H.E. Ho Nghia Dzung, Minister of Transport, Viet Nam (Chair of ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting); and
(xiv) H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN;