The Asian Perspective
- ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Richard Baldwin, Masahiro Kawai and Ganeshan Wignaraja
Chapter 10: The ASEAN Economic Community: progress, challenges, and prospects
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in 1967 mainly to foster regional peace and security. Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, and Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Viet Nam joined between 1995 and 1999. Economic cooperation and integration began modestly in 1977 with the PTA and a number of industrial cooperation schemes. Economic integration began with the 1992 AFTA that covers trade in goods, complemented by the 1995 AFAS and the 1998 AIA agreement. In 2003 it was agreed to deepen economic integration with the formation of the AEC, to create a unified market and production base via a free flow of goods, services, foreign direct investment, skilled labor, and a freer flow of capital. In assessing the success or shortfall of the AEC to date, benchmarks are important. The ‘cup is half-full’ when the achievements are measured against the backdrop of 1992. The ‘cup is half-empty’ when the shortfalls are measured against what is promised in the AEC Blueprint of objectives and strategic actions and measures. In going forward, a SWOT analysis of ASEAN’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are shown below.
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