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AEC presents opportunities, but most Asean businesses are not planning for it: survey

BUSINESS leaders in South-east Asia believe that the Asean Economic Community (AEC) presents an opportunity for their business but less than a fifth of them have made plans and changes in anticipation of the common market that is targeted to be realised by the end of next year.

A Deloitte survey of 100 C-suite executives of major companies from different industries across South-east Asia, conducted in April, found that 96 per cent see the opportunities that will spring from access to new markets (54 per cent), bigger markets (36 per cent) and lower costs (34 per cent).

However, only one in five of the respondents are preparing their businesses for the start of the AEC. This could be because most believe that the AEC will not happen by 2015, but in the three to five years after.

In addition, 62 per cent of the respondents felt that the AEC measures introduced so far to lower and abolish non-tariff and regulatory barriers to the free flow of goods, services and investment, have had limited or no impact on their businesses. And 69 per cent are of the view that there has been insufficient consultation on the part of policymakers.