A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century
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A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century

The Asian Perspective

Edited by Richard Baldwin, Masahiro Kawai and Ganeshan Wignaraja

The global financial crisis exposed great shortcomings in the global economic architecture, generating extensive international debate about possible remedies for these deficiencies. The postwar global architecture was guided by major developed economies, centered around the IMF, the GATT, and the World Bank. Today, the balance of economic power is shifting toward emerging economies. Global governance and economic policy must reflect this shift. With contributions from prominent Asian and international trade experts, this book critically examines key changes occurring in the world trading system and explores policy implications for Asia.
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Chapter 10: The ASEAN Economic Community: progress, challenges, and prospects

Siow Yue Chia


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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