To readers who are not baseball fans, the term “around the horn” refers to throwing the ball from 3rd base to 2nd base to 1st base. In the context of the blog, this refers to moving rapidly to discuss brief points on recent developments in the AEC.
Charter Review/Timor Leste -- Sources indicate that although a review of the ASEAN Charter is under preparation by the ASEAN institutions, the membership application of Timor Leste seems to have higher priority on their agenda at the moment. Singapore and some other members are still not convinced that Timor Leste should be come a member at this time. Hopefully the review of the ASEAN Charter will not become held up by the Timor Leste matter.
CPR -- ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) agreed to have better cooperation and coordination after a joint meeting last week. The CPR has gained a reputation for micromanagement of the ASEAN Secretariat’s administrative matters. However, I think this is just activity filling up a vacuum. If the CPR were given substantive matters to work on, the CPR would rise to the occasion and move on from micromanagement. That, plus adoption of former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan’s recommendations for institutional reform would help tremendously.
Non-Tariff Barriers – my law partner Arthur Appleton spoke at an ERIA-UPH seminar last week on how ASEAN can learn from the EU’s experience in dealing with non-tariff barriers (NTBs). I’ll let Arthur’s large body of work on the subject of NTBs speak for itself. In my own view, NTBs are much more difficult for ASEAN to deal with in establishing the AEC, for the reasons discussed in this earlier post. The ASEAN institutions really need to have greater powers to monitor, investigate and enforce measures to eliminate NTBs.
Happy Valentine's Day!