In the investment domain, in support of a free, open, transparent and integrated investment regime in the ASEAN region, an ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) has been signed and has come into effect on 29 March 2012.
In order to be able to monitor the integration process in the area of investment, among other actions and approaches, the AEC Blueprint recommended the publication and dissemination of Statistics on FDI (FDIS), as well as their analysis in the ASEAN Investment Report (AIR).
FDIS are also regularly reviewed by the ASEAN Integration Monitoring Office in its ASEAN Surveillance Report.
This monitoring of ACIA achievements is only possible when FDIS of good quality are available in the AMS. In order to make relevant analyses, particularly at a regional level, the data should be comparable and should involve several dimensions, for instance:
- an adequate legal and institutional environment, with sufficient resources devoted to their elaboration;
- professionalism, in total transparency and respecting ethical standards, such as the non-disclosure of confidential data;
- sound methodologies, concepts and classifications;
- accurate and reliable sources, with appropriate statistical techniques, adequate validation processes; and
- frequency and timeliness of meeting on user needs and appropriate accessibility.
Some dimensions of this quality are of concern in some of the ASEAN Member States (AMS). Examples are, as follows:
- Less advanced AMS are not in a position to devote high budgets to statistics.
- Some FDIS compilers are not legally empowered to survey companies and therefore obtain bad response rates;
- Absence of business registers in most AMSs;
- Results of sample surveys are not grossed up;
- The concepts applied are not complying with the international standards (which are the IMF BPM6 and the OECD Benchmark Definition 4th edition );
- Activity classifications differ from one AMS to the other;
- FDIS are not comprehensive, or may include double accounts, due to the multiplication of data sources; and
- FDIS are not publicly disseminated.
The previous EU programme has supported ASEAN Secretariat and the AMS in their improvement of FDIS. However, if many training sessions and workshops have been organised during this programme that raises awareness on the concerns of national and regional FDIS quality, a lot has still to be done, particularly in Cambodia, Lao P.D.R, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
New activities are therefore proposed for the COMPASS project. They continue the process initiated in the previous programme by helping the AMS to put in practice what has been learned within previous EU Programme.
Activities undertaken by the COMPASS project include:
- Supporting the implementation of the ACSS committee’s objectives in the FDIS field
- Facilitating the participation of AMSs/ ASEANstats to international meetings in the FDIS field
- Regional training/ workshops on specific issues in the FDIS field
- Facilitating/running sub-regional workshops in the FDIS field
- Technical assistance to ASEANstats on FDIS production and dissemination
- Assistance in the data quality assessment on FDIS
- National training/ workshops on specific issues in the FDIS field
- Provision of technical assistance to non CLMVs in the FDIS field
- National trainings/ workshops in FDIS for CLMVs
- Provision of technical assistance to CLMVs in the FDIS field
- Facilitation of a study visit to a developed AMS for CLMVs in the FDIS field
- FDIS specific activity (pilot surveys) in CLMVs