The target to establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 is hard to be met as negotiations have progressed to a more difficulty, according a recent report release by the Asia Development Bank (ADB).

The report said progress has slowed since negotiations on reforms are facing difficulties, especially in eliminating nontariff barriers, liberalising service trade, improving the business climate and competition policy, strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights, and narrowing development gaps.

To realise the goal, ASEAN member nations must carry out reforms such as removing trade barriers, promoting goods exchange within the bloc and creating a harmonisation between standards and regulations along with enhancing links among nations.

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in particular can claim noteworthy achievements in tariff reduction, trade facilitation, and investment liberalisation, while the newer members - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam -- are lagging behind, the report said.

ASEAN member nations achieved only 76.5 percent of its planned AEC targets by March 2013, and this shows that the pace of reforms seems to have slowed rather than accelerated.

The AEC, a single market with a GDP of 2.2 trillion USD and a population of 620 million, is hoped to promote the flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labour among its 10 member countries.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA