Video: Economic Volatility Spurs Asia to Greater Cooperation Progress toward the AEC has been steady but slow. The region needs to work harder on tackling barriers to trade in economically sensitive sectors such as agriculture, steel, and motor vehicles as well as reducing the non-tariff barriers that are increasingly replacing tariffs as constraints to international trade.

“Strengthening regional integration will help developing Asia become more productive and efficient at a time when the global economy still in flux,” said Iwan J. Azis, Head of the Office of Regional Economic Integration in a press statement. 

“To do that and to avoid falling prey to domestic protectionist pressures, governments must act now to ratify, implement, and enforce regional agreements.” he adds

Governments in Asia must undertake national as well as regional actions to reap the full benefits of integration initiatives like the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and be in a strong position to face global economic volatility going forward, says a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Asian Economic Integration Monitor (AEIM), a semi-annual report from ADB, notes Asia has seen mixed progress in regional cooperation and integration recently against the backdrop of a shifting economic and financial landscape. Cross-border trade and equity flows have slowed modestly despite improvements in cross-border foreign direct investment, bond purchases, bank credit, and tourism flows.