Tue 31 Aug 2010
Filed under: ASEAN
MYANMAR and the other three developing members of ASEAN should open up their economic sector more in order to participate in the regional single market due to open in 2015, a senior ASEAN spokesperson said last week.Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar – collectively known within ASEAN as the CLVM countries – have further to go than the more developed members of the regional trade group in order to prepare for the single market.
Mr S Pushpanathan, deputy secretary general of the ASEAN economic community, made these remarks to The Myanmar Times on August 23 at the 42nd economic ministerial meeting in Danang, Vietnam.
ASEAN members Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore have already reached the level of economic development required for the single market. But the remaining four, including Myanmar, would have to liberalise their trade policy, he said.
“In my view, the CLMV countries need to build capacity in the administration of customs, the harmonisation of standards and the improvement of infrastructure, including electricity supply,” he said.
“The  single market is based on national markets – that’s why member states need liberalisation in the economic sector,” said Mr Pushpanathan.
The meeting aimed to narrow the gaps between CLMV countries and the more highly developed countries in the economic sector. One focus of the discussion was the improvement of logistics.
Mr Nguyen Cam Tu, Vietnam’s vice-minister of industry and trade, said: “ASEAN ministers decided to prioritise logistics services in the integration process, and instructed senior economic officials to prepare a roadmap towards liberalised logistics services in ASEAN,” he said on August 22. The roadmap has been under implementation for two years.
“ASEAN railway and highway projects will soon start to link Bangkok with Singapore. Connectivity will apply not only the east-west, but also north-south economic corridors, with funding from Asia Development Bank,” said Mr Pushpanathan.
According to ASEAN figures, 67 percent of the group’s economy is in the service sector and 22pc in manufacturing. ASEAN earned US$1.90 trillion in 2008, but fell back by about 19pc to $1.54 trillion in 2009 because of the global recession.