Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015: Challenges for Member Countries and Businesses


Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

ASEAN leaders have declared their commitment to achieve an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. Doing so requires cooperation and coordination within and among the ten individual member states. With the varying considerations that countries have towards full liberalisation, protectionism still persists in certain sectors of the economy.  Much needs to be done to address the gaps in domestic reforms, infrastructure, human resource development, and adequate institutions. Moreover, as effective integration can be achieved only with business sector participation, policymakers play a vital role in boosting the engagement of businesses in ASEAN integration.  With the limited time available, ASEAN needs to focus on “core” elements of integration and implement them in the shortest possible time.  The rest can follow beyond 2015. With this in mind, this edited volume examines the state of readiness in member states for ASEAN integration, and the challenges for businesses to come on board.  It gives recommendations for some of the issues faced by stakeholders. 

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ASEAN Regional Forum


Author: Rodolfo C. Severino

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only Asia-Pacific-wide forum for consultations and dialogue on political and security issues. Although many articles and books have been published on the ARF, this is one of the few books that treat the ARF comprehensively and from the standpoint of the region itself.  It traces the ARF’s origins, the efforts to move it from confidence-building to ‘preventive diplomacy’, and the forces that hold them back, analysing the strategic environment that both constrains the ARF and makes it essential.  The book discusses the question of participation in the ARF, discusses the numerous cooperative activities that the ARF participants undertake, and deals with the issue of institutionalisation. Finally, it assesses the ARF as a forum and a process in its own terms. The book is written by a former ASEAN Secretary-General, who himself was a former ASEAN senior official involved in the ARF’s early years. 

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ASEAN: Life After the Charter


Editor: S Tiwari

With the completion of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN needs to fully appreciate and work out the issues connected with its implementation.  It is also important for ASEAN and its business sector to understand and implement two key integration instruments – the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement and the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement, and the business enhancing initiatives under them.  These take on an added urgency in view of the commitment to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. This is the first book to examine these issues, the problems related to them and the possible solutions.  Edited by Mr S Tiwari, the ASEAN Studies Centre’s former Lead Researcher for ASEAN-related legal affairs,  the book compiles analyses and insights by representatives of policy, business, and research communities, and ASEAN Secretariat officers, shared at a workshop organised at ISEAS in July 2009.  Various stakeholders of ASEAN will each find topics of relevance in the miscellany of trade and policy issues discussed, and in the succinct summaries of each chapter.

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Myanmar: Life After Nargis


Authors: Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Moe Thuzar

On May 2-3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar’s Ayeyawaddy delta, leaving some 130,000 dead, and more than two million homeless and without recourse to relief and recovery needs. The ensuing confusion in the media and international circles over Myanmar’s initial delay in responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by Nargis, led ASEAN to take on the role of facilitator, mediator and convenor in coordinating international and regional efforts to assist Myanmar in a joint response. The unique circumstances provided a window for international, regional, and local groups to work together in unprecedented ways. The tripartite cooperation among the Government of Myanmar, the United Nations, and ASEAN in responding to Nargis now serves as a case study in the context of humanitarian assistance and disaster management. 

Through June-December 2008, Centre researchers Pavin and Moe documented ASEAN’s role in helping Myanmar respond to Nargis. A preliminary report was provided to the 14th ASEAN Summit in February 2009. The final report, “Myanmar: Life After Nargis” was launched by the ASEAN Secretary-General at the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 20 July 2009.