"We will enter 2016 in the coming five days, which means there will be 11 ASEAN countries which will compete. We do not know how heavy the competition will be because ASEAN countries will no longer have borders," the President told all Indonesian village heads at Boyolali Hajj Boarding Hall here Saturday.
President Jokowi told some 1,500 heads of villages that there were many people who still did not know if the AEC had been launched.
However, the President assured that the people should not be worried with the implementation of the AEC because in fact other countries feared that they would be flooded with goods from Indonesia.
A number of prime ministers and presidents from neighboring countries like Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Singapore, in addition to Brunei Darussslam, and Malaysia, had repeatedly expressed worries about the implementation of the AEC whenever they met with Jokowi.
Yet, on many occasions, numerous businessmen and people were still concerned with the ASEAN free trade.
"I need to remind them that if they are afraid, why should we also be afraid? We should prepare ourselves and improve what we need to improve," the President said.
The President also reminded that apart from the AEC, there is still the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) and Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
"If we do not join them, our export goods will be subjected to 15-20 percent import duties. So, what can we sell then?" the President asked.