Centres

Forging Economic Synergy: Australia’s Path to ASEAN Prosperity

 

In conjunction with the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, Joanne Lin, Kristina Fong and Melinda Martinus explore how Australia can deepen its economic ties with ASEAN and unlock new avenues for growth.

“Enhancing ASEAN’s Role in Critical Mineral Supply Chains” by Sharon Seah and Mirza Sadaqat Huda

 

The clean energy transition momentum is gathering pace globally, and in Southeast Asia as well. The transition is dependent on an uninterrupted supply of critical minerals and metals that are essential for the production of low-carbon technologies.

The supply of critical minerals is impeded by several constraints. First is the dominance of a handful of countries in both the upstream and downstream parts of the supply chain. Second is the current geopolitical race to secure supplies leading to greater protectionist behaviours, exhibited through export bans and trade impediments.

This study focuses on four selected critical minerals which are important to the region. Two criteria are used in determining a mineral having high significance: (1) There are significant deposits of it which can be tapped on to bolster Southeast Asia’s strategic position in the supply chains; and (2) It is an essential input in industries and sectors of importance in Southeast Asia. The four critical minerals examined in this study are: copper, nickel, bauxite (alumina), and rare earth elements (REEs).

The study makes three recommendations to enhance ASEAN’s role in the critical minerals supply chains. The first addresses the insufficiency of investments in early-stage exploration and exploitation of critical minerals and, in the process, calls for an embracing of circular economy principles. The second appeals for investments at all stages, including in technology to tap into downstream activities beyond refining and purification, and in the manufacturing of component parts such as battery cell storage and permanent magnets. The third calls for improvements in sustainability management in the mining sector, which is generally extremely environmentally and socially damaging to communities.

The Potential and Prerequisites for ASEAN-Japan Cross-Border Digital Payments

 

Bryan Tan Jia Yang and Katrina Navallo explore possibilities for a cross-border digital payment arrangement between ASEAN and Japan.

Timor-Leste in ASEAN: Is It Ready to Join?

 

After more than a decade of deliberations, ASEAN leaders agreed on 11 November 2022 in principle to admit Timor-Leste as the eleventh member of the regional organization and to grant Timor-Leste observer status to attend all ASEAN meetings. Timor-Leste has demonstrated positive developmental progress, and fact-finding missions across the three ASEAN Community pillars have returned generally optimistic results.

However, an assessment of Timor-Leste’s ability to fulfil its commitments and obligations reveals that the country will need to close the gap with the ten existing members on matters such as the ratification and implementation of legally binding agreements and derivative work plans. Creating enforcement mechanisms and finding ways to implement commitments at the local level will be important.

Timor-Leste has put in place institutional structures and implementing agencies for advancing cooperation with ASEAN. It is also moving towards harmonizing its laws with ASEAN instruments. However, its capacity remains in question due to a lack of substantive knowledge and technical expertise among government officials, as well as inadequate infrastructure, logistics and facilities for hosting ASEAN meetings.

Strengthening human capital will be a top priority for Timor-Leste. This includes not only enhancing its personnel’s knowledge and technical expertise on ASEAN processes and procedures but also skills such as English language proficiency and negotiation. Coordinated capacity-building assistance from ASEAN and dialogue partners will be important. These efforts must also be met with economic diversification and growth of its nascent private sector.

ASEAN-EU Partnership Remains Vital to Sustain Multilateralism in A Shifting Global Order

 

Ahead of the 24th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, Joanne Lin looks at ways in which ASEAN and the EU may strengthen multilateralism as partners in integration.

Connectivity and Resilience in the ASEAN Power Grid 2.0 under Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship

 

Sharon Seah and Mirza Sadaqat Huda examine Laos’ potential role in leading regional energy interconnectivity in ASEAN.

Towards AEC 2025 and Beyond: Making the Most of Laos’ 2024 ASEAN Chairmanship

 

Sanchita Basu Das and Julia Tijaja suggest ways in which Laos can advance its Chairmanship priorities under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

ASEAN Matters for America / America Matters for ASEAN

 

ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN explores the important and multi-faceted relationship between the United States and the 10 ASEAN member states. The sixth edition of the publication was launched in 2023.

Southeast Asian Affairs 2023

 

Southeast Asian Affairs, produced since 1974, is an annual review of significant trends and developments in the region.

In the 2023 edition, ASEAN Studies Centre Co-coordinator Joanne Lin contributes an article on Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022. The article highlights that despite doubts from critics, Cambodia has made significant strides in displaying competence and maturity to chair ASEAN in an extremely challenging year and to navigate various contentious issues within the grouping.

Laos as ASEAN Chair: Flying into Headwinds

 

Joanne Lin looks at Laos’ priorities as ASEAN Chair next year and examines the challenges that the country will face.