The gateway to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) cooperation 2015 will soon be opened. This is the first mileston of an open competition among all ASEAN member countries in the economic sector covering freer flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and capital, and such provisions have been made and agreed in the blueprint at the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali in 2011.
However, business operators considered that Indonesia is not ready to face the ASEAN free market competition in 2015. Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin Indonesia), Suryo Bambang Sulisto, in Jakarta (Monday, September 16), doubted the readiness of Indonesia in facing AEC 2015. Because until now, the government and the businesses have not sought to integrate program for the preparation toward AEC 2015. To face AEC 2015, Kadin Indonesia hopes that there is an integrative involvement in Indonesia government policy-making such as has been done in other ASEAN countries, among others, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
However, Suryo said, if AEC is applied at the end of 2015, ASEAN will be open to free flow of goods, free flow of services, free flow of investment, free flow of capital, and free flow of skilled labor. This, he said, is up to each country to obtain the benefits of freedom. However, the government is supposed to support the businesses. To that end, the government should eliminate all obstacles so that businesses can improve competitiveness.
He explained that Indonesia should realize its advantages and disadvantages, such as comparative advantages associated with level of efficiency in producing goods. Therefore, the integration of the industrial base in important because the country that has a high comparative advantage for a particular product will become the basis of the industry of the particular product.
Suryo said that many considered that Indonesia was not ready to face the AEC 2015. Because the competitiveness of both the products and the human resources is still unable to compete with other imported products. It is feared that the implementation of AEC will kill Indonesian products. According to Suryo, ASEAN economic integration will create a market that covers an area of 4.47 million square km with a potential of approximately 601 million people. Therefore, it requires the seriousness and readiness of Indonesia to face the AEC 2015. “Readiness is necessary so that Indonesia will become a major player, not just a participant in the AEC”, said Suryo.
It is also expresses by Sofjan Wanandi, General Chairman of Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo). He said that Indonesia should be prepared for 2015. Sofjan sees that so far the preparation of the Indonesian government and the businesses is not evident. According to him, the AEC must be faced by the government and employers, as well as the public. He said that many laws have been made, but they are overlapping and counterproductive.
It is said that the implementation of AEC will definitely have an impact on the economies of the countries in the ASEAN region. The opening of economic accesses will bring up increasing competition in the business sector. Not only competing in the country, Indonesian entrepreneurs will be dealing with entrepreneurs at the regional level.
Business News - September 20, 2013