Mr Ahmad Ahsan
East Asia and Pacific Region
Trade and Integration
Date: 4 December 2015
Venue: ISIS Board Room, Kuala Lumpur
The speakers will present the findings of the ASEAN Services Integration Report jointly produced by ASEAN Secretariat and the World Bank and discuss recent developments in world trade and implications for services. Recognizing the key role of services in spurring economic growth and job creation, regional policymakers committed to an ambitious plan for integrating their services sectors as part of the ASEAN Economic Community. The discussion will cover ASEAN’s achievements in services integration, potential gains from further integration and challenges that remain. It will note that while there are successes in some sectors – such as in health in Thailand, education in Malaysia and finance in Singapore – on which future actions can build, intra-ASEAN trade in services remains low relative to the economic size and complementarity and geographical proximity of ASEAN member states. On the policy side, the analysis shows that while there has been good progress in making commitments to integrate services trade, more needs to be done to realize the goals laid out in the AEC Blueprint. The discussion will review current negotiations and institutional processes underlying services integration and make recommendations to prioritize implementing commitments, enhancing transparency, and strengthening the institutional framework. A key point will be the need to make progress on regional regulatory cooperation as a means of deepening services integration.