Asean regulatory reform database readied
In preparation for the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, high-level Asean officials are preparing a regulatory reform database that will help each Asean member-nation prepare for integration.
Coming from a meeting of the High-Level Task Force on Asean Economic Integration in Jakarta last week, Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said the establishment of a concrete plan to implement regulatory reforms in each Asean member-country was highlighted as a priority.
“We want to develop a knowledge bank for tools for regulatory reforms such as those presented by the World Bank and the (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). We want to have a benchmark for best practices,” Cristobal said in a phone interview.
Cristobal said the planned regulatory reforms would be focused on three key areas: trade and transport facilitation, trade in services, and investment facilitation.
During the meeting, he said the member-countries cited examples of how regulatory reforms were being done by their respective governments.
The Philippines cited reforms done in the telecommunications and water utilities industries in the 1990s.
Government agencies in charge of instituting regulatory reforms in the country include the Board of Investments, Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
Apart from regulatory reforms, also discussed during the meeting were the Asian Development Bank progress report on Asean 2030 and possible revisions to the AEC scorecard, Cristobal said.
For the ADB progress report, Cristobal said it was agreed that more stakeholders, not just policy makers and business leaders, would be engaged to formulate future scenarios around which the Asean leadership would do its planning.
For the AEC scorecard, he said it was suggested that a study be done to identify areas in the current scorecard that need to be improved.
Some high-impact targets were identified, including the free flow of goods, services and investments.