Southeast Asia set to become a new EU

ASEAN’s single market poised to hit the scene this year, but will regional politics thwart economic prosperity?

Published by Al Jazeera English, Feb.19, 2015

By Tom Benner

Singapore – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is on course to declare its 10-member nations a unified common market as of December 31, 2015, but sceptics say European Union-style economic integration will be difficult to achieve.

Measures are largely in place designed to reduce trade barriers and ease investment, as well as the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labour.

Meanwhile, leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia in recent weeks have been pushing for a common time zone – as opposed to the current three spanning the ASEAN region. A single time zone would facilitate the ease of doing business within the region and allow for coordinated opening times for banks and stock markets, proponents say. Continue reading …

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