Saturday, 6 April 2013

On ASEAN labour market intergration

The Wall Street Journal reports on the migrant labour aspects of ASEAN economic integration:
The disparities in income levels and economic development within Southeast Asia highlight the challenges facing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as they try to tie their economies closer together by the end of 2015. Asean is preparing to allow the freer flow of goods, investment and skilled labor ahead of the launch of the Asean Economic Community, a union modeled on the European common market, by Dec. 31, 2015... The region emerged largely unscathed from the global financial crisis, and the bloc's economy—with a combined GDP of some $2.2 trillion that should grow 5% to 6% a year for the next five years, according to the International Monetary Fund—has become an increasingly important source of global growth as developed economies falter... Southeast Asia's relatively young demographic is drawing growing investment to the region... With a total population of about 600 million people, open borders within Asean could allow vast numbers of workers to move across Southeast Asia seeking higher wages and better opportunities. That could reduce income disparities—and benefit the bloc's economy as a whole... To grow as a bloc "you have to integrate our labor and capital markets... That's something that will have to happen down the road."

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