Mumbai: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took a big leap forward by signing a blueprint towards attaining an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, making it a single market and production base.
"The end goal of the AEC 2015 is the realisation of a single market and production base, in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labour and a freer flow of capital with equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities," the grouping said in a declaration at the end of their 113th annual summit in the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore.
The rollout of the AEC will come in phases. Priority actions are set to be achieved by 2009 while other measures will be realised by 2011.
"For the final phase between 2012 to 2015, relevant sectoral bodies and stakeholders could come forward with necessary proposals of what can be further achieved to realise the vision of the blueprint," the declaration signed by leaders from the ten member countries stated.
The AEC plan rests on the four main pillars of a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development and a region fully integrated into the global economy.
The declaration also addresses the need to protect the environment, respond to climate change and conserve natural resources, in Shangri-La hotel at the end of the 13th ASEAN summit.
"ASEAN should complement and support the efforts of global and regional organisations to tackle environment issues, and in this regard support the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders'''' Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development," the declaration said.
The ASEAN member countries decide to take measures on three aspects including environmental protection and management, responding to climate change, and conservation of natural resources.