KUALA LUMPUR: Asean is on track to usher in the Asean Community at the end of this year, said the regional body’s secretary-general Le Luong Minh (pic).
He said work by member countries to set up the Asean Community, which would create an integrated region based on three pillars namely economic, socio-cultural and political-security, was on schedule.
“At this point we have already implemented 93% of measures stipulated in the Asean Community blueprint, which basically means that we are on track,” Minh told Malaysian media in an interview at the sidelines of the Asean ministerial meeting on Wednesday.
With five months remaining the deadline, Minh urged Asean member countries to accelerate the pace of implementing the remaining measures.
He said what was important was not just the percentages of measures implemented but to ensure that they had a positive impact on the people.
“If we look at what has already been done in terms of trade facilitation, elimination of intra-Asean tariffs, liberalisation of the service sector, we are already beginning to feel the impact of the Asean Community.”
On the problem of human trafficking in the region, Minh said Asean has so far decided to study the possibility of setting up a regional task force to handle future incidents and to set up a trust fund to help victims of trafficking.
He said the root cause of the problem in many cases were exploitation and human trafficking of economic migrants in search of better living conditions.In cases where the victims of the trafficking were from member countries, Asean would work together in the spirit of maintaining regional solidarity.