A global consortium involved in the construction of the Indigo subsea cable system that will connect Australia and Singapore, announced earlier this week that it has completed the 2,400-kilometer first phase of the project between Perth and Christmas Island, south of Java. (Antara Photo/ Agung Rajasa)

Some Indonesians Unconvinced of AEC's Opportunities, Consultant Says

BY :TABITA NIELA

APRIL 21, 2015

Jakarta. As Southeast Asian prepares for the Asean Economic Community to begin at the end of this year, some Indonesians remain unconvinced about the opportunities for economic integration, a consultant says on Tuesday.

"There are some pessimistic views. There is probably not enough engagement with [Indonesian] people in dialogues to explain about the opportunities [of the AEC]," said Alison Kennedy, a managing director at Accenture Strategy, on the sideline of the last day of the three-day 24th World Economic Forum on East Asia.

The AEC allows for freer movement of goods, services and labor across the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"If you are outside Indonesia, and you look at it, you will only look that Indonesia has everything. It has the people, has the resources, has so much potential," said Kennedy. "I'm not an Indonesian, but I think absolutely, completely, Indonesians are underestimating what Indonesia has already achieved."

In free trade agreements such as those with China and Japan, Indonesia has experienced trade deficits — raising concern that lowering trade barriers in the Southeast Asian region may mean that the country will be a net importer of goods.

GlobeAsia and the Jakarta Globe are media partners of the WEF event.

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