• AEC seen facilitating trade agreements

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    The Trilateral Commission clarified that the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by 2015 would result to dynamic trade and exchange for the “improvement” for Asean member-nations, rather than competition.

    In a press conference on Saturday, Trilateral Commission Asia-Pacific Chairman Yasuchika Hasegawa said that the 2015 Asean Economic Community (AEC) would not result to competition, but instead would help not only the Philippines, but also other member-countries in carrying out various trade agreements.

    “From outside viewpoint, I don’t think [that it will be a competiton]. Interconnectivity and interdependence are becoming more and more increasing . . . Eliminating tariff and allowing capital, workers and mobility amounts in the countries is obviously going to strengthen each economy in the member-countries,” he said.

    “Once you get together as a 600-million people altogether, you have much stronger negotiation leverage, more equal and fair win-win deals,” the Trilateral Commission chairman for Asia-Pacific said.

    Roberto de Ocampo, chairman of Trilateral Commission for the Philippines, said that the integration would be a means of taking into action the free trade agreements, and the political competition aspect would “take a back seat” as participants would continue talks and agreements and how to improve and complement each other rather than competing with each other.

    He said that the country should take advantage of the integration to strengthen ties, and to improve the country with the help of other neighboring countries, as more improvement is seen with the Asean member-countries rising and being the next superpower of the world.

    Hasegawa said that the region would not need to imitate what the European Union did, as there are “diversity and disparity of the rich and poor” in Asean countries.

    “Because of diversity and disparity of the rich and the poor in different countries, taking step in not having one currency or one fiscal monetary policy . . . is not a bad idea,” Hasegawa said.

    The 2015 AEC starting date was moved on December 2015, from the previous date set at January 2015. The Trilateral Commission, being an association of top private sector leaders in Europe, United States and Japan who heads the Asia-Pacific region, said that they will help the member-countries of Asean in the realization of AEC, Trans-Pacific partnerships, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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