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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN community’

9th August 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional bloc which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, celebrated it’s 46th birthday. To quote directly from the website thepeninsulaqatar.com:

DOHA: Ambassadors of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Qatar were in accord, saying Asean will meet its target to integrate the 10 nations’ economies by end of 2015, as they celebrated the 46th Asean Day yesterday at the Vietnam Embassy…Singapore Ambassador Wong Kwok Pun cited some areas that Asean has made progress on the implementation of the Asean Charter. In particular, he pointed out Asean has made headway on disputes settlement mechanism, has been working towards the implementation of the roadmap for the Asean community, and taken big steps toward an integrated and sustained economic development…

The implementation of policies which would create an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has been an oft-discussed topic among business and legal professionals throughout Southeast Asia. This issue is such a significant topic because by creating a unified Southeast Asian marketplace the countries which comprise ASEAN would become one of the largest markets in the world virtually overnight. That stated, there is a great deal of debate as to whether or not the transition into a unified market will occur smoothly. Some argue that the disparate laws, regulations, and policies throughout the ASEAN member states will not easily coalesce into a workable framework for businesses to operate in the region until governments in ASEAN can implement local policies to bring their regulations in line with the other ASEAN nations. On the  other hand, some argue that because ASEAN leaders have adopted a slow approach to integrating the ASEAN economies the nations which comprise this trading bloc will be able to integrate within the larger body relatively quickly.

Of further concern to both foreign nationals as well as nationals from ASEAN member nations is the promulgation of a single ASEAN visa scheme. Presently, there is not a single visa which one can obtain which would allow the bearer to travel unfettered throughout the the whole of ASEAN. However, leaders in some of the ASEAN countries are looking to remedy this. To quote from the website aseanvisa.com:

Ministers and tourism authorities of the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia have expressed their intention to collaborate with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system…According to www.smartvisa.travel, a smart visa is a digital paperless substitute for a traditional visa that can be obtained by a traveler from a travel agent or participating airline…

Clearly, steps are being taken to create some sort of travel document which would provide immigration benefits in multiple ASEAN nations simultaneously. The impetus behind the push for a single ASEAN visa seems to stem from two sources. First, many of the ASEAN nations would appear to view an ASEAN visa as a means of increasing tourism throughout ASEAN. This would appear to especially be a concern to officials in those Southeast Asian nations which do not benefit from high tourism as compared to their other ASEAN counterparts. By creating a visa which allows for access to more than one ASEAN jurisdiction tourist travel to some countries might increase as travelers are no longer deterred in making “side trips” to less popular destinations due to a desire to avoid the need to obtain another visa. Another consideration would appear to be business travel, as ASEAN economic integration continues to gather steam it stands to reason that more foreign nationals will need to visit multiple ASEAN jurisdictions in order to conduct business in the region. By implementing policies to provide for a single ASEAN visa, business travel may increase throughout the region.

The aforementioned article also mentions the recent decision by Thai and Cambodian Immigration authorities to provide a unified visa scheme for travelers wishing to visit those two countries. To quote further from the aseanvisa.com article:

It [the single ASEAN visa scheme] also builds on the single visa scheme for tourism travel between Cambodia and Thailand, which was implemented on January 1, 2013. Progressive relaxation and an Asean common visa would also benefit non-Asean nationals who intend to visit the Asean countries…

One can speculate whether or not the Thai-Cambodian visa scheme mentioned above will one day be consolidated into a pan-ASEAN visa scheme. There are certainly arguments as to the benefits of such an integration, most notably the probable increase in tourism to all of the ASEAN nations. However, one thing remains clear: it appears that virtually all leaders of the ASEAN nations are assiduously studying the ramifications of a single ASEAN visa scheme and should their findings prove that such a scheme would be a benefit to all of ASEAN; then it is likely that such a scheme will eventually come into existence.

For related information please see: Thailand visa.

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25th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there has apparently been some analysis of a recent American report on China’s military. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

WASHINGTON - The US Department of Defense on Wednesday unveiled its annual report on China’s military, recognizing and welcoming China’s contribution to international safety and security… The report, titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, recognized that China has made “modest, but incremental, improvements in the transparency of its military and security affairs,” while alleging “uncertainty about how China will use its growing capabilities.” China has repeatedly stated the defensive nature of the country’s national defense policy, issuing a white paper on national defense in March to enhance its military’s transparency and boost the world’s trust in its commitment to peaceful development. The Pentagon report also noted China’s investment in modern military hardware and technology, including in its naval forces, as the country started its sea trials on a refitted aircraft carrier…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the appropriate hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As China becomes an increasingly important component of the geopolitical landscape it stands to reason that there will be analysis of that nation’s defense and security apparatus. Meanwhile, there is speculation that China will continue to expand economically along with other nations such as those which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In fact, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore was noted for comments regarding the future prospects of ASEAN amidst concerns about the global economy. In order to provide further clarification on these developments it is necessary for this blogger to quote directly from the Channel News Asia website ChannelNewsAsia.com:

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said he believes ASEAN can overcome the challenge of another global economic crisis. But Mr Shanmugam stressed it’s all the more important ASEAN remains focused on realising the common goal of an ASEAN Community by 2015. Mr Shanmugam was speaking at a reception to celebrate ASEAN Day. In commemoration of the group’s 44th birthday, embassies and consulates in all ASEAN member states will now fly the ASEAN flag permanently alongside their national flags…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this this insightful article.

There are some who are of the opinion that the economic integration of the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN will result in significant economic benefits for not only the ASEAN countries, but China, India, the so-called BRICS countries, the USA, and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. Moreover, with recent discussion of a possibly unified ASEAN visa system there is strong evidence to suggest that further positive economic and trade developments may arise in the relatively near future.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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7th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that financial and economic analysts in China are rather pessimistic regarding the prospects of the American financial system in its present form. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the CNBC website, CNBC.com:

The man who leads one of China’s top rating agencies says the greenback’s status as the world’s reserve currency is set to wane as the world’s most powerful policy makers convene to examine the implication of S&P’s decision to strip the United States of its triple “A” rating. In comments emailed to CNBC, Guan Jianzhong, chairman of Dagong Global Credit Rating, said the currency is “gradually discarded by the world,” and the “process will be irreversible.” Dagong made headlines last week when it became the first rating agency to cut its U.S. credit rating from “A+” to “A” after policymakers in Washington failed to act in a timely manner to lift its debt celing…[sic]

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It is this blogger’s opinion that although the American economy is in a rather precarious position as of the time of this writing, the one attribute most notable about said economy is her ability to recover and thrive even after a significant downturn. How the American economy and the United States dollar will fare moving forward remains to be seen, but it is clear that many in Asia monitor such developments closely as economic conditions in the United States can have implications for the Asia-Pacific region, the so-called BRICS countries, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In news directly pertaining to the Kingdom of Thailand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that officials in Thailand are attempting to provide ASEAN exposure to Thai small and medium sized businesses. To provide further information it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com

The Thailand Plaza programme to help local small businesses gain exposure abroad needs a fresh focus with more showrooms in Asean countries, according to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (Osmep). The programme that originated during the Thaksin Shinawatra government focused on developed Western countries but the results were poor. The first plaza in the United States folded as the cost of maintaining the office was too high. Thailand Plazas, with a budget of 100 billion baht, are seen as having potential to become a key marketing channel for Thai small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to gain access to Asean countries. Yuthasak Supasorn, the Osmep director-general, said partners of Thai SMEs could also order products via Thailand Plaza outlets in each country.

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As the jurisdictions which comprise the ASEAN community continue to expand economically it stands to reason that intra-ASEAN trade will be facilitated by programs like the aforementioned one noted in the quotation above. How the scheme above will ultimately be implemented remains to be seen, but clearly there is reason to believe that a program such as this could be beneficial for both ASEAN jurisdictions outside of Thailand and the overall Thai business community.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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