AEC Handbook for Business

Foreword by H.E Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN

With three more years to go by 2015, ASEAN is now at a critical juncture of realizing the ASEAN Economic Community. As such, stakeholders’ inputs and partnership are essential both in designing regional strategies as well as in identifying problems and bottlenecks during the implementation of the strategies to achieve meaningful regional economic integration. It is in this context that private sector engagement assumes greater importance. Since AEC is a market-driven process, ASEAN needs to actively engage the private sector to shape and improve coherence, transparency and attain synergies between government and business sectors in building the AEC.

Over the years, ASEAN has invested considerable efforts in strengthening dialogue and consultations with private sector bodies, business groups and industry associations, through various mechanisms at regional and national levels. This wider engagement has both broadened and deepened our understanding of the private sector support for the ASEAN integration process.

This year the emergence of new private sector-led mechanisms to promote AEC is encouraging. I am pleased to note the formation of the new Canada-ASEAN Business Council and the first Business Summit organized by US-ASEAN Business Council based on Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Government (B2G) engagement model. The 1st AEC Symposium also kicked off this year, bringing together key market players and business leaders in ASEAN discuss AEC issues.

Despite all these efforts, there still remains a gap in the understanding by the private sector of what constitutes the AEC, how is it going to be realized and what are the implications for the markets. This ASEAN Economic Community Handbook for Business 2012 is intended to fill this gap. It also serves as a guide for all companies, be it ASEAN/non- ASEAN based or large/small, to assist in placing ASEAN in their business plans.

As the AEC draws near, all stakeholders including the private sector have to be ready. It is therefore my hope that the Handbook will deepen our understanding of the connections between private sector and the broader AEC outcomes.

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