ASEAN Economic Community 2015: Are We Ready?
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint was signed in 2007 by the leaders of all its member states. Currently it consists of 10 countries. They are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao DPR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. This blueprint represents follow up action of declaration that was held on Bali Summit in October 2003. In principles, AEC offers establishment of fundamental freedoms relevant for international business and also to ensure a single AEC market and opening of an AEC single production base. The purpose of the international agreements is to make ASEAN one market and a joint production base. The free flow of labor comes under the ASEAN 3 Framework Agreements:
1) Agreements on the Free Flow of Skilled Labor
2) The ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services: AFAS
3) The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement: ACIA
These benefits involve market expansion, and flexibility in setting up production base which positively affects directly to business competitiveness. The SMEs, on the other hand, will be facing new challenges of ASEAN free trade and investment as it will cause a highly competitive situation (www.asean.org).
Initially, AEC will be execute in the beginning 2015. However, it is agreed to delay the AEC implementation from 1 January to 31 December 2015. This establishment aims at achieving a single market and production base which would encourage free flow of goods, service, investment, capital and skilled labor, include Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on professional services. Below table represents 7 professional services that included in MRA scope:
As the competition will be tighter toward the upcoming AEC, it is important for each of Indonesian skilled labors to do adequate capacity building, improve quality, increase competency and also enhance professionalism. Government of Indonesia already issued President Instruction No 11/2011 about blueprint commitment execution of AEC. Although this instruction was sent to 21 ministries and 6 government institution, unfortunately in practical the socialization and execution of preparation is not as smooth as its theory as stated in it.
Other ASEAN members such as Thailand and Singapore already prepared their society and also their nations to face upcoming AEC since years ago. Not only prepare for research and academic paper, so far they also already shared adequate information and socialization for their society as well as for their professional workers. Indonesian still have time until end of this year to do capacity building, to upgrade the competencies, and to improve their competitiveness. It is important to improve skills, both technical skills and soft skills, and also foreign language skills indeed. Government of Indonesia can take a role to support the national professional body of these 7 professional services to host seminar, workshop, or at least to do adequate socialization of this upcoming AEC 2015. It is also important to encourage the Indonesian society as well as to communicate the requirement of well preparation to face it. @Listianaica