AEC Blueprint Implementation Performance and Challenges: Standards and Conformance
ASEAN aims to reduce, if not eliminate, technical barriers to trade through standards and conformance (S&C) initiatives towards a highly integrated economy, or the so-called single market and production base. This paper aims to evaluate the progress and challenges of S&C initiatives implementation in three ASEAN priority integration sectors, namely, the automotive sector, the electrical and electronic equipment sector, and the health sector (cosmetics, medical devices, and pharmaceutical). The paper uses questionnaires and interviews with government officials and the private sector in 10 ASEAN members states (AMSs). The scoring method is similar to the one used in the ERIA Mid-Term Review study 2011, thus allowing for comparison across period. The result shows, in general, there have been many improvements in reducing technical barriers to trade through the S&C initiatives in ASEAN compared to the 2011 mid-term review; nonetheless, the progress varied across sectors and across member states. The main challenges include technical capacity, physical infrastructure, governance, and some country-specific and sector-specific challenges. The paper concludes with recommendations for ASEAN S&C initiatives post-2015.