ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program — Phase II: services liberalisation assessment
ANUE conducted the Services Diagnostics and Needs Assessment Study – a component of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program (AADCP) Phase II – to examine what constraints were restricting the liberalisation of services trade across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN trade ministries and other government officials sought to develop strategies to achieve a freer flow of trade in services and meet approaching ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) targets. To achieve this, effective technical assistance was needed to improve understanding and build capacity in middle to senior level government officials.
The services and needs analysis conducted by ANUedge identified and examined capacity obstacles – or bottlenecks – to promote a detailed awareness and understanding of the economic benefits of services (and investment) liberalisation among ASEAN stakeholders. The analysis was to include all ASEAN member states (AMS) and to detail for each country their associated capacity-building needs and how they could most effectively be met.
In response, ANUE formed a project team that reviewed the current state of ASEAN services trade liberalisation initiatives. The team identified initial key sectors and cross-cutting issues to develop an analytical framework which would guide research and define the overarching research approach. The team then oversaw substantial fieldwork to ensure appropriate supervision of all data collection.
The collected data was analysed and a three-dimensional matrix created to help visualise the complex issues uncovered by the analysis (especially those at cross-cutting and economy-wide levels). A strategy was developed based on the analysis with recommended courses of action that prioritised capacity-building activities across member states.
The knowledge and understanding gained from the project continues to be used to inform policy and strategy, leading to further liberalisation of the ASEAN trade in services. Both the executive summary and the final report are available from the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program website.