Is ASEAN integrating?

“No”, says this story from the Economist:ASEAN trade with China has grown faster than internal trade under the preferentia tariff. bq. No one knows what proportion of trade within ASEAN actually takes advantage of the Common Effective Preferential Tariff, as the AFTA-mandated rates are known. Some estimates put the figure as low as 5 percent. An official at the ASEAN secretariat says he thinks the share is bigger, but admits he cannot prove it, since the member countries have not bothered to provide the secretariat with the relevant data.  (“Economist”:http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2968833) I’ve noted “here”:http://www.inquit.com/article/149/asean-relaunches-free-trade-agreements before that ASEAN’s more liberal economies (Singapore, Thailand and possibly Malaysia under its new leadership) are reaching outside the group, individually, to build more effective trade opportunities.

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