ASEAN ministers to boost efforts for integration
MEMBERS of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to widen the scope of the region's integration when economic ministers meet in Makati City next week.
This developed as the ASEAN started implementing the blueprint for a single market and production base.
Trade Assistant Secretary Ramon Vincente T. Kabigting told reporters the 10-member bloc was poised to add a twelfth sector where economic integration would be a priority.
"Logistics services have been identified as a new priority sector," Kabigting said.
"The inclusion of the logistics sector is good for the Philippines considering that our domestic industry is good and could be better," Kabigting said.
In a declaration issued in 2003 during a summit held in Bali, Indonesia--called Bali Concord II--Asean leaders agreed to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) through integration starting with 11 priority sectors.
These were subsequently identified as the industries related to the manufacture and processing of the electronics, automotive, garments and textiles, wood-based, agricultural, fisheries and rubber.
Also identified were five service sectors, involving information and communication technology-dubbed e-ASEAN--air travel, tourism and healthcare.
The Bali Concord II also set the target of achieving the AEC in 2020, which was advanced to 2015 through an agreement forged in the 12th ASEAN Summit held in Cebu last January.
Kabigting explained that the 39th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting to be held on Aug. 23 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, was regarded as pivotal for integration efforts.
"This is a changeover meeting because it would signal the change from the period when the blueprint for integration was crafted to the first year when this blueprint would be implemented," he explained.
He added that the 39th AEM would basically check whether the draft of the ASEAN Charter--which was a highlight of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held last month-covered the economic aspirations of the group.
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