Prioritizing Integration Goals in the ASEAN Economic Community in a Changing World

29 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016  

Stefano Inama

United Nations - Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Edmund Walter Kwantze Sim

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law; Appleton Luff

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

According to the Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), by 2015 ASEAN countries should have established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to “create a single market and production base which is stable, prosperous, highly competitive and economically integrated” in paragraph 5 of Article 1.

Unfortunately, in its current condition, ASEAN is not well-prepared to undertake such ambitious objectives. ASEAN does not have strong regional institutions to deal with economic integration, unlike the EU. Nor does ASEAN have detailed legal agreements and robust dispute settlement procedures, unlike NAFTA. As a result, the AEC faces structural problems in dealing with regional economic integration, particularly the cross-pressures coming from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the EU’s bilateral FTAs with individual ASEAN members.

This paper therefore advocates strengthening the ASEAN institutions and processes so that all of the AEC participants can interact in conjunction with the TPP and EU-ASEAN FTAs, and not become caught up in the cross-pressures of these modern FTAs. We present a series of potential reforms ranging from the modest to the ambitious that would allow the AEC to flourish and go beyond its current limitations. Ultimately that choice needs to be made by the ASEAN leaders themselves – but that choice needs to be made, and soon.

Keywords: AEC, ASEAN, TPP, trade integration.

Suggested Citation

Inama, Stefano and Sim, Edmund Walter Kwantze, Prioritizing Integration Goals in the ASEAN Economic Community in a Changing World (March 2016). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2016/05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2746523

Stefano Inama (Contact Author)

United Nations - Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) ( email )

Palais des Nations
Office E 8074
Geneva, 1211
Switzerland

Edmund Walter Kwantze Sim

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

Appleton Luff ( email )

One Raffles Quay
Level 25 North Tower
048583
Singapore

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