Unresolved issues on ASEAN harmonization of laws and regulations and their implications for ASEAN Economic Community


By the end of 2012, ASEAN decided to delay the inauguration of the AEC from January 1 to December 31, 2015. Evidence and studies reveal that the member states have only met 72% of the economic blueprint for integrating ten different markets into a single market. Even though tariff reduction has been implemented since the AFTA in 1992, there has been little progress in eliminating the NTBs. Partly due to the fact that harmonization of laws and regulations among member states has not been achieved. The paper argues that the slow progress on the ASEAN economic integration and the establishment of the AEC is because inherent problems within ASEAN have not been resolved. Regional differences on political economic structures and legal systems still act as a prime barrier on harmonization of laws and removal of economic barriers. Furthermore, ASEAN states are still reluctant to liberalize as they desire to protect their national interests and domestic markets. To effectively establish the integrated market, a process to harmonize these differences is urgently required. Additionally, despite moving toward a rule based regionalism, ASEAN charter persistently enshrines and upholds the "ASEAN Way". Consequently, ASEAN remains a toothless institution unable to force member states to comply with their commitments. Thus it is still a bumpy road for ASEAN to achieve its aims.

Author Information
Chulanee Tantikulananta, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2013
Stream: Asian Studies

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