Has Regionalism Delivered for Developing Countries?
Chapter 6: ASEAN Economic Cooperation: Real and Monetary
INTRODUCTION The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is in part an economic accord spurred by political considerations. ASEAN was founded in response to the threat of communist expansion in the Mekong area. As the regional political situation began to stabilize with the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia and the launching of economic reform in that country in 1986, the policy agenda became increasingly focused on economic issues. ASEAN countries are extremely diverse in terms of economic structure, stage of development, political orientation, factor endowments, culture, history and religion (see Table 6.1). In such a setting, economic cooperation is not easy. Attempts at economic integration were first undertaken in the mid-1970s at the first two ASEAN summits. But because of mutual suspicions that existed between individual pairs of countries – Indonesia’s fear (founded or not) of Singapore’s intentions to dominate its huge market; Indonesia and Malaysia’s dispute over geography; and the dispute between the Philippines and Malaysia over the regions of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo – very little was accomplished. Even the institutional structure of ASEAN was designed to avoid too much integration. The ASEAN secretariat comprised officials who were seconded on a short-term basis from national ministries, ensuring that they take a national – rather than regional – perspective, it had no technical capabilities and its functions were minimal. Even the secretary general of ASEAN held the title of ‘Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat’ rather than ‘Secretary General of ASEAN’, to minimize the position’s importance. Beginning with the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.