THE Philippines, which forms part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and its peers in Southeast Asia should remember the lessons of the European Union. This, after the United Kingdom decided in a referendum to leave the 28-member bloc.
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Quezon chair Carl Balita, who was in Cebu City, yesterday told reporters about the significance of the Brexit (British exit) lesson to the 10-member ASEAN, which has integrated into a single market base.
“We have a lot of lessons to learn from being the ASEAN, (but) I’m more concerned about what lessons are we learning from this vis-a-vis our AEC,” Balita said.
The ASEAN, he said, has done away with a single currency, which was one of EU’s mistakes when its economies adopted the euro. This time, the PCCI official is more concerned about professional mobility.
With Brexit, anti-EU sentiments stem from their desire to take back Britain’s full control of its borders and reduce the number of migrants, opposing one of EU’s main principles of “free movement.” This means visas are no longer required among Europeans to go and live in another EU country. The UK is the first country to leave the 28-member bloc.
Net migration to Britain reached 330,000 people in 2015 with more than half coming from the EU. It is said that the influx was putting substantial pressure on UK’s schools, healthcare and housing.
In Southeast Asia, with better-paying jobs in Singapore, for example, Filipinos may opt to work there instead of joining the domestic workforce.
“At the end of the day, our biggest threat is non-competitiveness,” Balita said.
For the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Deputy Director General Rose Marie Edillon, the Philippines is relatively safe from the UK’s exit, emphasizing the strong fiscal and monetary position of the country.
“The momentum (for growth) has been there and we need to sustain that,” she said, as the Philippines is about to welcome a new administration on June 30.
To sustain this growth, Edillon said it is important for the government to address capacity constraints, especially in the area of infrastructure, continue the build up of human capital, and diversify Philippine products and markets.
While some local authorities earlier maintained the Philippine economy’s resilience amid EU’s problems, international analysts warned yesterday of volatility of financial markets after Brexit.