The Regionalisation of Laws and Policy on Foreign Investment
Elgar International Investment Law series
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed on 8 August 1967 by the original members comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. ASEAN has since expanded to cover most of Southeast Asia including Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. ASEAN is unlike any other initiatives for regional integration, although they serve the same purpose which is to ensure peaceful co-existence of nations. Compared with the European Union, for example, ASEAN started as a political organisation whereas the EU started as the European Economic Community under the Treaty of Rome 1957. When ASEAN embarked on the ASEAN Vision 2020 in 1997, the ASEAN GDP was US$694 billion. Provided that ASEAN’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) remains at 5 per cent, the ASEAN economy should reach US$1 trillion by 2005 and US$2 trillion in 2020. ASEAN became a US$1 trillion economy in 2006, one year later than the predicted date, but ASEAN passed the US$2 trillion benchmark in 2011, nine years earlier than anticipated. By 2015, ASEAN’s CAGR will almost reach the US$3 trillion point and will be closer to US$4 trillion by 2020. According to the Asian Development Bank, if ASEAN were one economy, it would be the seventh largest in the world with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.4 trillion in 2013. It could be the fourth largest by 2050 if growth trends continue.