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”: I’ve not­ed “here”: 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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