Full ASEAN integration facing challenges in restrictions on investments, services

By , on February 26, 2014


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Member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Philippines, along with other countries, are contending with several challenges with regard to the harmonization of rules on investments and services sectors in preparation for the region’s full economic integration by 2015.

This was revealed by Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, as ASEAN Economic Ministers hold their annual retreat in Singapore this week.

Domingo, who was interviewed this week after the Philippines-United Arab Emirates Business Forum, told reporters that the ASEAN Economic Community AEC 2015 is on the agenda of the retreat.

He expounded that the ASEAN ministers are likely to discuss the course of action, especially regarding rules on investments and services sectors.” There are difficult areas, like services because there are some limitations especially on the financial sector,” Domingo said.

“The Philippines alone has some Constitutional and legal restrictions on 50 areas out of 150 on services and investment sectors,” he added.

Domingo cited the need for laws to correct some restrictive policies but also pointed out that the Philippines is not the only country facing such challenges.

“But the Philippines is not unique, we’re not the only one faced with limitations. There are others who are also facing their own,” he said.

While on the retreat, the ministers are also expected to tackle matters concerning the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation initiative.