BANGKOK, 22 May 2012 – The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 is expected to send Thailand’s GDP skyrocketing while regional service liberalization will benefit the country greatly.
The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) have tasked the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) with conducting a mid-term review of the AEC Blueprint, which revealed that much progress has been made in the regional attempt to reduce tariff barriers among member countries. The tariff rate in original ASEAN member countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei, currently stands at an average of 0.5%. Meanwhile, new ASEAN members–Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam– have also lowered their tariffs to 2.6%.
The review also suggested that, despite much progress, significant differences still exist in the level of service liberalization, trade and investment facilitation of each member country.
According to the study, Thailand is the second country in the ASEAN region, after Vietnam, to benefit the most from the upcoming regional trade liberalization. Moreover, Thailand’s integration into the AEC is expected to contribute greatly to the expansion of the country’s GDP.
Additionally, Thailand will receive more benefit if ASEAN considers expanding service liberalization as well as trade and investment facilitation with its dialogue partners under the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 cooperation, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.