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REALIZING AN ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY: PROGRESS AND REMAINING CHALLENGE

Jayant Menon () and Anna Cassandra Melendez ()
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Anna Cassandra Melendez: Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines

The Singapore Economic Review (SER), 2017, vol. 62, issue 03, 681-702

Abstract: Launched as a political bloc and security pact in the aftermath of the Viet Nam War, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has evolved to embrace an ambitious economic agenda. Its latest project was the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on 31 December 2015. Fulfilling these commitments would promote predictability in ASEAN, as well as strengthen its credibility. But to what extent has ASEAN met this deadline? The blueprint for achieving the goal envisages the AEC standing on four pillars and meeting the deadline depends on progress on each of them. Each pillar presents a demanding set of challenges to be met before the AEC can be fully realized. We find that although ASEAN has come a long way toward realizing its goal, considerable challenges remain. Accommodating AEC accords will not be easy when they require changes to domestic laws or even the national constitution. The flexibility that characterizes ASEAN cooperation, the celebrated “ASEAN way”, may hand member states a convenient pretext for non-compliance. How to enforce the accords remains an issue. If the AEC is to be more than a display of political solidarity, ASEAN must find a way to give the commitments more teeth. The real test for the community, therefore, will lie in the years ahead.

Keywords: ASEAN economic community; AEC 2015; economic integration; ASEAN economic integration; ASEAN trade and investment; post-2015 agenda (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1142/S0217590818400052

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