Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
"One Vision, One Identity, One Community"
|Anthem: The ASEAN Way
|-||Secretary General||Lê Lương Minh|
|-||Summit Presidency||Burma (Myanmar)|
|-||Bangkok Declaration||8 August 1967|
|-||Charter||16 December 2008|
2,778,124.7 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||US$ 3.574 trillion|
|-||Per capita||US$ 5,930|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||US$ 2.403 trillion|
|-||Per capita||US$ 3,909|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.669b
|Time zone||ASEAN (UTC+9 to +6:30)|
|a.||Address: Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.70A, South Jakarta.|
|b.||Calculated using UNDP data from member states.|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN // AH-see-ahn, // AH-zee-ahn) is a political and economic organisation of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.
ASEAN covers a land area of 4.46 million km², which is 3% of the total land area of Earth, and has a population of approximately 600 million people, which is 8.8% of the world's population. The sea area of ASEAN is about three times larger than its land counterpart. In 2012, its combined nominal GDP had grown to more than US$2.3 trillion. If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the sixth largest economy in the world, behind the US, China, India, Japan and Germany.
- 1 History
- 2 The ASEAN way
- 3 Meetings
- 4 Economic community
- 4.1 From CEPT to AEC
- 4.2 Comprehensive Investment Area
- 4.3 Trade in Services
- 4.4 Single Aviation Market
- 4.5 Free-trade agreements with other countries
- 4.6 ASEAN six majors
- 4.7 From CMI to AMRO
- 4.8 Foreign Direct Investment
- 4.9 Intra-ASEAN travel
- 4.10 Intra-ASEAN trade
- 4.11 ASEAN Capital Market Forum
- 5 Charter
- 6 Cultural activities
- 7 ASEAN Media Cooperation
- 8 Education and human development
- 9 ASEAN Integration 2015
- 9.1 ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint
- 9.2 One Market Economy
- 9.3 The AEC Scorecard
- 9.4 Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG)
- 9.5 Double Digit Growth for Franchising Sector
- 9.6 Food Security
- 9.7 Implications for Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- 9.8 Tourism
- 9.9 Education in ASEAN Integration
- 10 Sports
- 11 ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration
- 12 Criticism
- 13 ASEAN competitions
- 14 See also
- 15 Literature
- 16 References
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
ASEAN was existing before by an organisation called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), a group consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961. The bloc itself, however, was inaugurated on 8 August 1967, when foreign ministers of five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand – met at the Thai Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed the ASEAN Declaration, more commonly known as the Bangkok Declaration. The five foreign ministers – Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand – are considered the organisation's Founding Fathers.
The motivations for the birth of ASEAN were so that its members’ governing elite could concentrate on nation building, the common fear of communism, reduced faith in or mistrust of external powers in the 1960s, and a desire for economic development.
On 28 July 1995, Vietnam became the seventh member. Laos and Myanmar (Burma) joined two years later on 23 July 1997. Cambodia was to have joined together with Laos and Burma, but was deferred due to the country's internal political struggle. The country later joined on 30 April 1999, following the stabilisation of its government.
During the 1990s, the bloc experienced an increase in both membership and drive for further integration. In 1990, Malaysia proposed the creation of an East Asia Economic Caucus comprising the then members of ASEAN as well as the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea, with the intention of counterbalancing the growing influence of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and in the Asian region as a whole. This proposal failed, however, because of heavy opposition from the United States and Japan. Despite this failure, member states continued to work for further integration and ASEAN Plus Three was created in 1997.
In 1992, the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme was signed as a schedule for phasing tariffs and as a goal to increase the region’s competitive advantage as a production base geared for the world market. This law would act as the framework for the ASEAN Free Trade Area. After the East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, a revival of the Malaysian proposal was established in Chiang Mai, known as the Chiang Mai Initiative, which calls for better integration between the economies of ASEAN as well as the ASEAN Plus Three countries (China, Japan, and South Korea).
Aside from improving each member state's economies, the bloc also focused on peace and stability in the region. On 15 December 1995, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty was signed with the intention of turning Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The treaty took effect on 28 March 1997 after all but one of the member states have ratified it. It became fully effective on 21 June 2001, after the Philippines ratified it, effectively banning all nuclear weapons in the region.
East Timor and Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea was accorded Observer status in 1976 and Special Observer status in 1981. Papua New Guinea is a Melanesian state. ASEAN embarked on a programme of economic cooperation following the Bali Summit of 1976. This floundered in the mid-1980s and was only revived around 1991 due to a Thai proposal for a regional free trade area.
At the turn of the 21st century, issues shifted to include a regional approach to the environment. The organisation started to discuss environmental agreements. These included the signing of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution in 2002 as an attempt to control haze pollution in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful due to the outbreaks of the 2005 Malaysian haze and the 2006 Southeast Asian haze. Other environmental treaties introduced by the organisation include the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security, the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network in 2005, and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, both of which are responses to the potential effects of climate change. Climate change is of current interest.
Through the Bali Concord II in 2003, ASEAN has subscribed to the notion of democratic peace, which means all member countries believe democratic processes will promote regional peace and stability. Also, the non-democratic members all agreed that it was something all member states should aspire to.
ASEAN Plus Three
Leaders of each country felt the need to further integrate the region. Beginning in 1997, the bloc began creating organisations within its framework with the intention of achieving this goal. ASEAN Plus Three was the first of these and was created to improve existing ties with the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea. This was followed by the even larger East Asia Summit, which now includes these countries as well as India, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia. This new grouping acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community, which was supposedly patterned after the now-defunct European Community. The ASEAN Eminent Persons Group was created to study the possible successes and failures of this policy as well as the possibility of drafting an ASEAN Charter.
In 2006, ASEAN was given observer status at the United Nations General Assembly. As a response, the organisation awarded the status of "dialogue partner" to the United Nations.
2007 was the fortieth anniversary of ASEAN's beginning, and 30 years of diplomatic relations with the US. On 26 August 2007, ASEAN stated that it aims to complete all its free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand by 2013, in line with the start of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. In November 2007 the ASEAN members signed the ASEAN Charter, a constitution governing relations among the ASEAN members and establishing ASEAN itself as an international legal entity. During the same year, the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed in Cebu on 15 January 2007, by ASEAN and the other members of the EAS (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea), which is in favour of energy security by finding energy alternatives to conventional fuels.
On 27 February 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with the ASEAN regional block of 10 countries and Australia and its close partner New Zealand was signed, it is believed that this FTA would boost combine GDP across the 12 countries by more than US$48 billion over the period 2000–2020. ASEAN members together with the group’s six major trading partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – have began the first round of negotiations on 26–28 February 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, on establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The ASEAN way
Since the post-independence phases of Southeast Asian states, efforts were made to implement regional foreign policies, but with a unifying focus to refrain from interference in domestic affairs of member states.
There was a move to unify the region under what was called the ‘ASEAN Way’ based on the ideals of non-interference, informality, minimal institutionalisation, consultation and consensus, non-use of force and non-confrontation. ASEAN members (especially Singapore) approved of the term ‘ASEAN Way’ to describe a regional method of multilateralism.
- Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations
- The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion
- Non-interference in internal affairs
- Settlement of differences or disputes in a peaceful manner
- Renunciation of the threat or use of force
- Effective regional cooperation
The ‘ASEAN way’ is said to contribute durability and longevity within the organisation, by promoting regional identity and enhancing a spirit of mutual confidence and cooperation. ASEAN agreements are negotiated in a close, interpersonal process. The process of consultations and consensus is designed to engender a democratic approach to decision making. These leaders are wary of any effort to legitimise efforts to undermine their nation or contain regional co-operation.
The ASEAN way can be seen as divergent from the contextual contemporary political reality at the formative stages of the association. A critical distinction is made by Amitav Acharya, that the ‘ASEAN Way’ indicates “a process of ‘regional interactions and cooperation based on discreteness, informality, consensus building and non-confrontational bargaining styles’ that contrasts with ‘the adversarial posturing, majority vote and other legalistic decision-making procedures in Western multilateral organisations’".
However, critics argue[who?] that the ASEAN Way serves as the major stumbling-block to it becoming a true diplomacy mechanism. Due to the consensus-based approach every member has a veto, so contentious issues must remain unresolved until agreements can be reached. Moreover, it is claimed that member nations are directly and indirectly advocating that ASEAN be more flexible and allow discourse on internal affairs of member countries.
Additionally, the preference for informal discussions to adversarial negotiations limits the leverage of diplomatic solutions[which?] within ASEAN.
Michael Yahuda, explains, in his book International Politics of the Asia Pacific (2003) second and revised edition, the limitations of the ASEAN way. In summary of his argument, unlike the European Union, ‘the ASEAN Way’ has made ASEAN members never aspired to an economic and political union. It was designed to sustain the independence and sovereignty of member states and to encourage regional and national stability. ASEAN differed in assessment of external threat and they operated within conditions in which legality and the rule of law were not generally consolidated within member states. ASEAN wasn’t a rule making body subjecting its members to the discipline of adhering its laws and regulations. It was operated through consensus and informality. Also, the member states avoided to confront certain issues if they were to result in conflicts.
The organisation holds meetings, known as the ASEAN Summit, where heads of government of each member meet to discuss and resolve regional issues, as well as to conduct other meetings with other countries outside of the bloc with the intention of promoting external relations.
The ASEAN Leaders' Formal Summit was first held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976. Its third meeting was held in Manila in 1987 and during this meeting, it was decided that the leaders would meet every five years. Consequently, the fourth meeting was held in Singapore in 1992 where the leaders again agreed to meet more frequently, deciding to hold the summit every three years. In 2001, it was decided to meet annually to address urgent issues affecting the region. Member nations were assigned to be the summit host in alphabetical order except in the case of Burma which dropped its 2006 hosting rights in 2004 due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.
By December 2008, the ASEAN Charter came into force and with it, the ASEAN Summit will be held twice in a year.
The formal summit meets for three days. The usual itinerary is as follows:
- Leaders of member states would hold an internal organisation meeting.
- Leaders of member states would hold a conference together with foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
- A meeting, known as ASEAN Plus Three, is set for leaders of three Dialogue Partners (People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea)
- A separate meeting, known as ASEAN-CER, is set for another set of leaders of two Dialogue Partners (Australia, New Zealand).
|ASEAN Formal Summits|
|1st||23–24 February 1976||Indonesia||Bali||Soeharto|
|2nd||4–5 August 1977||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur||Hussein Onn|
|3rd||14–15 December 1987||Philippines||Manila||Corazon Aquino|
|4th||27‒29 January 1992||Singapore||Singapore||Goh Chok Tong|
|5th||14‒15 December 1995||Thailand||Bangkok||Banharn Silpa-archa|
|6th||15‒16 December 1998||Vietnam||Hanoi||Phan Văn Khải|
|7th||5‒6 November 2001||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||Hassanal Bolkiah|
|8th||4‒5 November 2002||Cambodia||Phnom Penh||Hun Sen|
|9th||7‒8 October 2003||Indonesia||Bali||Megawati Soekarnoputri|
|10th||29‒30 November 2004||Laos||Vientiane||Bounnhang Vorachith|
|11th||12‒14 December 2005||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur||Abdullah Ahmad Badawi|
|12th||11‒14 January 20071||Philippines2||Cebu||Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo|
|13th||18‒22 November 2007||Singapore||Singapore||Lee Hsien Loong|
|14th3||27 February – 1 March 2009
10–11 April 2009
|Thailand||Cha Am, Hua Hin
|15th||23 October 2009||Thailand||Cha Am, Hua Hin|
|16th3||8–9 April 2010||Vietnam||Hanoi||Nguyễn Tấn Dũng|
|17th||28–31 October 2010||Vietnam||Hanoi|
|18th4||7–8 May 2011||Indonesia||Jakarta||Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono|
|19th4||14–19 November 2011||Indonesia||Bali|
|20th||3–4 April 2012||Cambodia||Phnom Penh||Hun Sen|
|21st||17–20 November 2012||Cambodia||Phnom Penh|
|22nd||24–25 April 2013||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||Hassanal Bolkiah|
|23rd||9–10 October 2013||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan|
|24th||10–11 May 2014||Burma||Nay Pyi Taw||Thein Sein|
|25th||10–12 November 2014||Burma||Nay Pyi Taw|
|1 Postponed from 10‒14 December 2006 due to Typhoon Utor.|
|2 hosted the summit because Burma backed out due to enormous pressure from US and EU|
|3 This summit consisted of two parts.
The first part was moved from 12‒17 December 2008 due to the 2008 Thai political crisis.
The second part was aborted on 11 April due to protesters entering the summit venue.
|4 Indonesia hosted twice in a row by swapping years with Brunei, as it will play host to APEC (and the possibility of hosting the G20 summit which ultimately fell to Russia) in 2013.|
During the fifth Summit in Bangkok, the leaders decided to meet "informally" between each formal summit:
|ASEAN Informal Summits|
|1st||30 November 1996||Indonesia||Jakarta||Soeharto|
|2nd||14‒16 December 1997||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur||Mahathir Mohamad|
|3rd||27‒28 November 1999||Philippines||Manila||Joseph Estrada|
|4th||22‒25 November 2000||Singapore||Singapore||Goh Chok Tong|
East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian region, with ASEAN in a leadership position. Membership was initially all 10 members of ASEAN plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, but expanded to include the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011.
The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 December 2005 and subsequent meetings have been held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting. The summit has discussed issues including trade, energy and security and the summit has a role in regional community building.
|First EAS||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur||14 December 2005||Russia attended as a guest.|
|Second EAS||Philippines||Cebu City||15 January 2007||Rescheduled from 13 December 2006.
|Third EAS||Singapore||Singapore||21 November 2007||Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment
Agreed to establish Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
|Fourth EAS||Thailand||Cha-am and Hua Hin||25 October 2009||The date and location of the venue was rescheduled several times, and then a Summit scheduled for 12 April 2009 at Pattaya, Thailand was cancelled when protesters stormed the venue. The Summit has been rescheduled for October 2009 and transferred again from Phuket to Cha-am and Hua Hin.|
|Fifth EAS||Vietnam||Hanoi||30 October 2010||Officially invited the US and Russia to participate in future EAS as full-fledged members|
|Sixth EAS||Indonesia||Bali||19 November 2011||The United States and Russia to join the Summit.|
|Seventh EAS||Cambodia||Phnom Penh||20 November 2012|
|Eighth EAS||Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan||10 October 2013|
|Ninth EAS||Burma (Myanmar)||Naypyidaw||TBA|
A commemorative summit is a summit hosted by a non-ASEAN country to mark a milestone anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and the host country. The host country invites the heads of government of ASEAN member countries to discuss future cooperation and partnership.
|ASEAN–Japan Commemorative Summit||Japan||Tokyo||11, 12 December 2003||To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Japan. The summit was also notable as the first ASEAN summit held between ASEAN and a non-ASEAN country outside the region.|
|ASEAN–China Commemorative Summit||China||Nanning||30, 31 October 2006||To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and China|
|ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit||Republic of Korea||Jeju-do||1, 2 June 2009||To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and Republic of Korea|
|ASEAN–India Commemorative Summit||India||New Delhi||20, 21 December 2012||To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of relations between ASEAN and India.|
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is a formal, official, multilateral dialogue in Asia Pacific region. As of July 2007, it consists of 27 participants. ARF objectives are to foster dialogue and consultation, and promote confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region. The ARF met for the first time in 1994. The current participants in the ARF are as follows: all the ASEAN members, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor, United States and Sri Lanka. The Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) has been excluded since the establishment of the ARF, and issues regarding the Taiwan Strait are neither discussed at the ARF meetings nor stated in the ARF Chairman's Statements.
Aside from the ones above, other regular meetings are also held. These include the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as well as other smaller committees. Meetings mostly focus on specific topics, such as defence or the environment, and are attended by Ministers, instead of heads of government.
ASEAN Plus Three
The ASEAN Plus Three is a meeting between ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, and is primarily held during each ASEAN Summit. Until now China, Japan and South Korea have not yet formed Free Trade Area (FTA), the meeting about FTA among them will be held at end of 2012.
The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal dialogue process initiated in 1996 with the intention of strengthening cooperation between the countries of Europe and Asia, especially members of the European Union and ASEAN in particular. ASEAN, represented by its Secretariat, is one of the 45 ASEM partners. It also appoints a representative to sit on the governing board of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), a socio-cultural organisation associated with the Meeting.
The ASEAN–Russia Summit is an annual meeting between leaders of member states and the President of Russia.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting
The 44th annual meeting was held in Bali on 16 to 23 July 2011. Indonesia proposed a unified ASEAN travel visa to ease travel within the region for citizens of ASEAN member states. The 45th annual meeting was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For the first time in the history of ASEAN there was no diplomatic statement issued by the bloc at the end of the meeting. This was due to tensions over China's claim of ownership over near the entirety of the South China Sea and the counterclaim to such ownership by neighbouring states.
ASEAN has emphasised regional cooperation in the “three pillars”, which are security, sociocultural integration, and economic integration. The regional grouping has made the most progress in economic integration by creating an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. The average economic growths of ASEAN's member nations during 1989–2009 was Singapore with 6.73 percent, Malaysia with 6.15 percent, Indonesia with 5.16 percent, Thailand with 5.02 percent, and the Philippines with 3.79 percent. This economic growth was greater than the average Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic growth, which was 2.83 percent. ASEAN has in recent years become a hub for digital adoption. Asia Briefing reported in E-Commerce Across Asia: Trends and Developments 2014, that e-commerce in the region, specifically in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines have seen dramatic gains, with Singapore and Malaysia leading the pack, accounting for 50 percent of total online sales for ASEAN.
From CEPT to AEC
A Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme to promote the free flow of goods within ASEAN lead to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The AFTA is an agreement by the member nations of ASEAN concerning local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. The AFTA agreement was signed on 28 January 1992 in Singapore. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Burma in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The latecomers have not fully met the AFTA's obligations, but they are officially considered part of the AFTA as they were required to sign the agreement upon entry into ASEAN, and were given longer time frames in which to meet AFTA's tariff reduction obligations.
The next step is ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) with main objectives are to create a:
- single market and production base
- highly competitive economic region
- region of equitable economic development
- region fully integrated into the global economy
Since 2007, the ASEAN countries gradually lower their import duties among them and targeted will be zero for most of the import duties at 2015.
Comprehensive Investment Area
The ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Area (ACIA) will encourage the free flow of investment within ASEAN. The main principles of the ACIA are as follows
- All industries are to be opened up for investment, with exclusions to be phased out according to schedules
- National treatment is granted immediately to ASEAN investors with few exclusions
- Elimination of investment impediments
- Streamlining of investment process and procedures
- Enhancing transparency
- Undertaking investment facilitation measures
Full realisation of the ACIA with the removal of temporary exclusion lists in manufacturing agriculture, fisheries, forestry and mining is scheduled by 2010 for most ASEAN members and by 2015 for the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma, and Vietnam) countries.
Trade in Services
An ASEAN Framework Agreement on Trade in Services was adopted at the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December 1995. Under AFAS, ASEAN Member States enter into successive rounds of negotiations to liberalise trade in services with the aim of submitting increasingly higher levels of commitments. The negotiations result in commitments that are set forth in schedules of specific commitments annexed to the Framework Agreement. These schedules are often referred to as packages of services commitments. At present, ASEAN has concluded seven packages of commitments under AFAS.
Single Aviation Market
The ASEAN Single Aviation Market (ASEAN-SAM), is the region's major aviation policy geared towards the development of a unified and single aviation market in Southeast Asia by 2015. The aviation policy was proposed by the ASEAN Air Transport Working Group, supported by the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting, and endorsed by the ASEAN Transport Ministers. The ASEAN-SAM is expected to fully liberalise air travel between member states in the ASEAN region, allowing ASEAN countries and airlines operating in the region to directly benefit from the growth in air travel around the world, and also freeing up tourism, trade, investment and services flows between member states. Since 1 December 2008, restrictions on the third and fourth freedoms of the air between capital cities of member states for air passengers services have been removed, while from 1 January 2009, full liberalisation of air freight services in the region took effect. On 1 January 2011, full liberalisation on fifth freedom traffic rights between all capital cities took effect.
The ASEAN Single Aviation Market policy will supersede existing unilateral, bilateral and multilateral air services agreements among member states which are inconsistent with its provisions.
Free-trade agreements with other countries
ASEAN has concluded free trade agreements with China (expecting bilateral trade of $500 billion by 2015), Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India. ASEAN-India bilateral trade crossed the $70 billion target in 2012 (target was to reach the level only by 2015). The agreement with People's Republic of China created the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which went into full effect on 1 January 2010. In addition, ASEAN is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union. Republic of China (Taiwan) has also expressed interest in an agreement with ASEAN but needs to overcome diplomatic objections from China.
ASEAN six majors
ASEAN six majors refer to the six largest economies in the area with economies many times larger than the remaining four ASEAN countries.
|Country||GDP (nominal)||GDP (PPP)||GDP (Per Capita)|
When Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined ASEAN in the late 1990s, concerns were raised about a certain developmental divide regarding a gap in average per capita GDP between older and the newer members. In response, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was formed by ASEAN as a regional integration policy with the principal goal of bridging this developmental divide, which, in addition to disparities in per capita GDP, is manifested by disparities in dimensions of human development such as life expectancy and literacy rates. Other than the IAI, other programmes for the development of the Mekong Basin - where all four newer ASEAN members are located - that tend to focus on infrastructure development have been effectively enacted. In general, ASEAN does not have the financial resources to extend substantial grants or loans to the new members. Therefore, it usually leaves the financing of these infrastructure projects to international financial institutions and to developed countries. Nevertheless, it has mobilised funding from these institutions and countries and from the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and Thailand) themselves for areas where the development gap needs to be filled through the IAI programme. Other programmes intended for the development of the ASEAN-4 take advantage of the geographical proximity of the CLMV countries and tend to focus on infrastructure development in areas like transport, tourism, and power transmission.
From CMI to AMRO
Due to Asian financial crisis of 1997 to 1998 and long and difficult negotiations with International Monetary Fund, ASEAN+3 agreed to set up a mainly bilateral currency swap scheme known as the 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) to anticipate another financial crisis or currency turmoil in the future. In 2006 they agreed to make CMI with multilateralisation and called as CMIM. On 3 May 2009, they agreed to make a currency pool consist of contribution $38.4 billion each by China and Japan, $19.2 billion by South Korea and totally $24 billion by all of ASEAN members, so the total currency pool was $120 billion. A key component has also newly been added, with the establishment of a surveillance unit.
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic and Research Office (AMRO) started its operation in Singapore in May 2011. It performs a key regional surveillance function as part of the $120 billion of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) currency swap facility that was established by Finance Minister and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea in December 2009.
According to some analysts, the amount of $120 billion is relatively small (cover only about 20 percent of needs), so coordination or help from International Monetary Fund is still needed. On 3 May 2012 ASEAN+3 finance ministers agreed to double emergency reserve fund to $240 billion.
Foreign Direct Investment
In 2009, realised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was $37.9 billion and increase by two-fold in 2010 to $75.8 billion. 22 percent of FDI came from the European Union, followed by ASEAN countries themselves by 16 percent and then followed by Japan and US.
With the institutionalisation of visa-free travel between ASEAN member states, intra-ASEAN travel has boomed, a sign that endeavours to form an ASEAN Community shall bear fruit in years to come. In 2010, 47 percent or 34 million out of 73 million tourists in ASEAN member-states were from other ASEAN countries.
Until end of 2010, Intra-Asean trade were still low which mainly of them were mostly exporting to countries outside the region, except Laos and Myanmar were ASEAN-oriented in foreign trade with 80 percent and 50 percent respectively of their exports went to other ASEAN countries.
ASEAN Capital Market Forum
ASEAN Capital Market Forum (ACMF) consist of:
- ASEAN Linkage, until end of 2013 only has 3 stock exchange members: Bursa Malaysia, Singapore Exchange and Stock Exchange of Thailand, but cover 70 percent of transaction values of 7 ASEAN Stock Exchanges, with objective to integrate ASEAN Stock Exchanges to compete with International Stock Exchanges
- Mutual Recognigtion of Disclosure Standards, with objective to harmonise and equal of ASEAN Standards
- Mutual Recognition of Collective of Investment Scheme (CIS), with objective to harmonise all regulations in ASEAN which related with CIS, some countries are still categorised as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Non-Cooperative Country which are not maximum to do with money laundering and terrorism
On 15 December 2008, the members of ASEAN met in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to launch a charter, signed in November 2007, with the aim of moving closer to "an EU-style community". The charter turns ASEAN into a legal entity and aims to create a single free-trade area for the region encompassing 500 million people. President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that "This is a momentous development when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community. It is achieved while ASEAN seeks a more vigorous role in Asian and global affairs at a time when the international system is experiencing a seismic shift", he added, referring to climate change and economic upheaval, and concluded "Southeast Asia is no longer the bitterly divided, war-torn region it was in the 1960s and 1970s". The fundamental principles include:
a) respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States;
b) shared commitment and collective responsibility in enhancing regional peace, security and prosperity;
c) renunciation of aggression and of the threat or use of force or other actions in any manner inconsistent with international law;
d) reliance on peaceful settlement of disputes;
e) non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States;
f) respect for the right of every Member State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion and coercion;
g) enhanced consultations on matters seriously affecting the common interest of ASEAN;
h) adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government;
j) upholding the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law, subscribed to by ASEAN Member States;
k) abstention from participation in any policy or activity, including the use of its territory, pursued by an ASEAN Member State or non-ASEAN State or any non-State actor, which threatens the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States;
l) respect for the different cultures, languages and religions of the peoples of ASEAN, while emphasising their common values in the spirit of unity in diversity;
m) the centrality of ASEAN in external political, economic, social and cultural relations while remaining actively engaged, outward-looking, inclusive and non-discriminatory; and
n) adherence to multilateral trade rules and ASEAN's rules-based regimes for effective implementation of economic commitments and progressive reduction towards elimination of all barriers to regional economic integration, in a market-driven economy.
However, the ongoing global financial crisis was stated as being a threat to the goals envisioned by the charter, and also set forth the idea of a proposed human rights body to be discussed at a future summit in February 2009. This proposition caused controversy, as the body would not have the power to impose sanctions or punish countries who violate citizens' rights and would therefore be limited in effectiveness. The body was established later in 2009 as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). In November 2012, the Commission adopted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
The organisation hosts cultural activities in an attempt to further integrate the region. These include sports and educational activities as well as writing awards. Examples of these include the ASEAN University Network, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award, and the Singapore-sponsored ASEAN Scholarship.
ASEAN Media Cooperation
The ASEAN Media Cooperation (AMC) set digital television standards, policies and create in preparation for broadcasters to transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, better promote media collaboration and information exchange to enhance voice, understanding, and perspective between ASEAN people on the international stage.
The ASEAN member countries aim media sector towards digitalisation and further regional media coaction. AMC establishes partnerships between ASEAN news media, and cooperate on information sharing, photo swapping, technical cooperation, exchange programmes, and facilitating joint news coverage and exchange of news footage.
The concept was stressed during the 11th AMRI Conference adopting the theme: ”Media Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Nation”. ASEAN Ministers believed that the new and traditional media are important mediums to connect ASEAN people and bridging the cultural gap.
Accessing information towards the goal of creating a One ASEAN nation requires participation among the nation members and its citizens. During the 18th ASEAN Summit in May 2011, the Chair stated the important role of a participatory approach among people and stakeholders of ASEAN towards a “people-oriented , people centred and rule-based ASEAN”.
Several key initiatives that were initiated under the AMC:
- ASEAN Media Portal, The new ASEAN Media Portal was launched 16 November 2007 by the ASEAN Secretary-General, Mr Ong Keng Yong, and witnessed by Singapore’s Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang. The said portal aims to provide a one-stop site that contains documentaries, games, music videos, and multimedia clips on the culture, arts and heritage of the ASEAN countries to showcase the rich ASEAN culture and the capabilities of its media industry.
- ASEAN NewsMaker Project, an initiative launched in 2009 that trains students and teachers to produce informational video clips about the lifestyle in their country. The project was initiated by Singapore to work closely with 500 primary and secondary students, aging from 9 to 16 years old, along with their mentors from the 10 ASEAN countries to produce informative videos promoting their respective country’s culture. Students underwent training for the NewsMaker software use, video production and responsible internet use and hope to develop the language skills and story narration among the said students. Engaging the youth using new media is an approach to create a One Asean Community as stressed by Dr Soeung Rathchavy, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community: “Raising ASEAN awareness amongst the youth is part and parcel of our efforts to build the ASEAN Community by 2015. Using ICT and the media, our youths in the region will get to know ASEAN better, deepening their understanding and appreciation of the cultures, social traditions and values in ASEAN.”
- ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting, an annual forum for ASEAN members to set digital television standards and policies, and to discuss progress in the implementation of the blueprint to switchover from analogue to digital TV broadcasting by 2020. During the 11th ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting, members updated the status on DTV implementation and agreed to inform ASEAN members on the Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switchover. An issue was raised on the availability and affordability of Set Top Boxes (STB), thus ASEAN members were asked to make policies to determine funding for the STB, methods of allocation, subsidies and rebates and other methods for the allocation of STB. It was also agreed in the meeting to form a task force to develop STB specifications for DVB-T2 to ensure efficiency.
- ASEAN’s Next Top Chef and The Legend of the Golden Talisman, two interactive games developed to raise awareness about ASEAN, and its people, places and cultures
ASEAN AMRI (ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information)
11th ASEAN AMRI
During the 11th ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ASEAN leaders recognised the emergence of new and social media as an important tool for communications and interaction in ASEAN today. The Ministers agreed that efforts should be made to leverage on social media to promote ASEAN awareness towards achieving an ASEAN community by 2015. Initially, ASEAN will consolidate the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal and the ASEAN Media Portal to incorporate new media elements.
Joint Media Statement 
1. Malaysia hosted the Eleventh Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (11th AMRI) and the Second Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (2nd AMRI+3) in Kuala Lumpur, on 1 March 2012.
2. The conferences were preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting for the 11th AMRI on 28 February 2012 and the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting for the 2nd AMRI+3 on 29 February 2012.
3. The Conference was officiated by the Honourable Tan Sri Dato' Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister emphasized the need to lay out a multi-platform framework, engaging both the main stream and the social media to facilitate the free flow of information to enlighten the ASEAN people. He urged this be given utmost priority so that the people of the ASEAN region are not left in the dark as to this important development and are empowered with the right kind of information. The Malaysian National Anthem 'Negaraku' and ASEAN Anthem 'The ASEAN Way' were played at the opening ceremony.
4. The Conference was chaired by His Excellency (HE) Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia. The list of Ministers from all ASEAN Member States as well as Plus Three Countries is presented in Annex 1.
11th AMRI's Theme: "Media: Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Community"
5. The Chairman in his opening statement highlighted that ASEAN should leverage on the popularity of social media that would keep it current and relevant as a disseminator of information. He expressed his view that the Information Ministers should re-look their engagement through new media and the social network, especially with the younger generation, otherwise they may not be able to play an effective role in promoting ASEAN awareness or building the ASEAN Community.
6. At the Conference, the Ministers agreed to adopt the theme "Media: Connecting Peoples and Bridging Cultures Towards One ASEAN Community". The Ministers recognized that the theme was highly relevant as both the new and traditional media would continue to play a significant role in the dissemination of information to the peoples of ASEAN, subsequently connecting them beyond their borders and bridging the cultural gap.
ASEAN Digital Broadcasting
7. The ASEAN Ministers noted the progress in the implementation of digital broadcasting in ASEAN Member States towards Analogue Switch-Off from 2015 to 2020. The Ministers also endorsed the 'Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over' which will serve as a shared blueprint to aid all Member States in their transition towards digital broadcasting. This guideline is based on the best practices of the various ASEAN Member States and referencing the "Guidelines for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting" developed by the ITU.
8. In addition, the Ministers supported the ADB's initiatives to embark on the joint production of a television series entitled, 'Colours of ASEAN' in High Definition (HD) to be completed by December 2013. The Ministers noted that ADB will seek funding from the ASEAN-COCI to support this project.
9. In the area of technical standards, the Ministers noted that ADB recognizes that Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial Second Generation (DVB-T2) is a more advanced technology compared to DVB-T and acknowledges the benefits of migrating directly to DVB-T2. The Ministers also noted that the ADB will be developing common specifications for DVB-T2 receivers to enjoy economies of scale.
10. The Ministers also took note of Japan's input on the constantly evolving digital technology and that adoption of the standard may vary under different socio-economic situations.
New and Social Media
11. The Ministers recognised the emergence of new and social media as an important tool for communications and interaction in ASEAN today. The Ministers agreed that efforts should be made to leverage on social media to promote ASEAN awareness towards achieving an ASEAN Community by 2015.
12. To this end, the Ministers called for active discussion among ASEAN Member States to identify appropriate programmes and activities that would utilise social media positively to inculcate cultural values, understanding and solidarity among the peoples of ASEAN.
13. To reflect current realities of social media, the Ministers considered the proposal to consolidate the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal and the ASEAN Media Portal, incorporating new media elements. The Ministers concurred that both portals could be integrated and requested the ASEAN Secretariat to study and make recommendations on improvements to be made.
14. In addition, the Ministers considered the proposal to review the current format of the successful ASEAN Quiz programme. After a decade of implementation, the Ministers recognised that it is timely to have a more structured and standardised format both at national and regional levels as well as, a repository of quiz questions based on a complementary curriculum developed by the Education Sector. By including an online element, the proposal will provide easier access to ASEAN resources, with a view to enhancing knowledge and increasing awareness of ASEAN among the younger generation.
The role of AMRI in the ASEAN Community Building Efforts
15. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint, in particular the ongoing projects to increase ASEAN awareness such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN TV News and ASEAN-In-Action) and the implementation of the ASEAN Quiz.
16. Appreciating the need to implement a comprehensive communications plan to meet the vision of One ASEAN Community by 2015, the Ministers directed a technical working group to study the immediate communications need and recommend an effective communications plan, using media channels that are available in Member States. It is envisioned that this plan will promote a clearer understanding on what One ASEAN Community means for the entire region and its peoples.
Development of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation on Information
17. ASEAN Plus Three Ministers endorsed the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Through Information and Media 2012 – 2017, which listed out programmes ASEAN and the Plus Three countries could collaborate on. ASEAN Member States have agreed to take the lead in coordinating 17 concrete activities listed in the Work Plan. ASEAN Ministers appreciated the support provided by the Plus Three Countries towards the implementation of these projects.
Closing and Acknowledgment
18. The Ministers agreed to convene the 12th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (12th AMRI) and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in 2014.
19. The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Malaysia for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the 11th AMRI Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.
List of Ministers Attended
1. HE Dr. Rais Yatim, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia – Chairperson of 11th AMRI and 2nd AMRI+3
2. HE Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (R) Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Brunei Darussalam
3. HE Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia
4. HE Mr. Freddy Herman Tulung, Director General of Information and Public Communication, Republic of Indonesia
5. HE Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR
6. HE Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz, Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia
7. HE Mr. Soe Win, Deputy Minister of Information, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
8. HE Mr. Herminio B. Coloma Jr., Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office, the Philippines
9. HE Ms. Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts & the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore
10. HE Tongthong Chandransu, Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, Thailand
11. HE Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vice Minister of Information, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
12. HE Mr. Wang Chen, Minister of State Council Information Office, People's Republic China
13. HE Mr. Tetsuo Yamakawa, Vice Minister for Policy Coordination, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan
14. HE Mr. Kim Yong Hwan, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea
15. HE Dato' Misran Karmain, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
12th ASEAN AMRI 
Twelfth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information and Third Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (Venue: Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 12 June 2014)
Joint Media Statement
1. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar hosted the Twelfth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (12th AMRI) and the Third Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (3rd AMRI+3) in Nay Pyi Taw, on 12 June 2014.
2. The Conferences were preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting for the 12th AMRI on 10 June 2014, and the ASEAN Plus three Senior Officials Meeting for the 3rd AMRI+3 on 11 June 2014.
3. The Conference was officiated by the Vice President Dr. Sai Mauk Kham. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Vice President emphasized that as we are moving forward to set up a people-centred ASEAN Community and enhancing connectivity for an ASEAN Community, media cooperation plays an important role in linking our societies and encouraging civil society to participate in regional-community building. He referred to the outcomes of the 11th AMRI Meeting held in Malaysia in 2012 on the positive role that social media can contribute to enhance cultural values, understanding and solidarity amongst peoples of ASEAN. As such, he concluded that the theme for the 12th AMRI Meeting—“Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”—is timely to further promote media development and cooperation in building the ASEAN Community.
4. The ASEAN Anthem ‘The ASEAN Way’ was played at the opening ceremony.
5. The Conference was chaired by His Excellency (HE) U Aung Kyi, Union Minister, Ministry of Information of Myanmar. The list of Ministers from all ASEAN Member States and the Plus Three Countries is presented in ANNEX 1.
6. The Chairman in his opening statement stated that the year 2014 is an important year for Myanmar as she is taking the rotating chair of ASEAN for the first time after joining ASEAN in 17 years. 2014 is also a key timeline towards marking the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. He further highlighted the Myanmar is taking all necessary steps to implement the responsibilities of ASEAN Chair in accordance with the theme for 2014 ASEAN Chair as “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”. In this regard, he stressed that the information and media sector shall be engaged and cooperated with the governments and other stakeholders to ensure sufficient information about ASEAN will reach our peoples, and to provide an opportunity to educating peoples about the benefits of ASEAN’s integration and ASEAN community building process.
Steady Progress of Information and Media Cooperation
7. Appreciating the need to implement a comprehensive communications plan to meet the vision of One ASEAN Community by 2015, the Ministers called for stronger coordination and effective communication among the different sectoral bodies in implementation of the ASCC Blueprint, optimizing opportunities for cross-sectoral cooperation to inform the public about the benefit of ASEAN’s integration and community building.
8. The Ministers noted a steady progress and outcomes of key projects aiming to increase ASEAN awareness and mutual understanding through the ASEAN information and media cooperation process, such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN Television News and ASEAN-in-Action respectively), and the ASEAN Quiz (regional and national levels), etc.
9. The Ministers noted with satisfactions that several initiatives have been taken up to address the requirement of a growing population using social media, amongst those which include the new website for ASEAN’s culture and information which replaces the ASEAN Media Portal and the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal, social media and an ASEAN Virtual Learning Resources Centre (AVLRC). All of which will serve as resourceful platforms that enable online users seamless navigations on culture, history and place of interest in ASEAN.
10. With regard to digital broadcasting, the Ministers welcomed initiatives that were identified to benefit leapfrogging to Digital Video Broadcasting— Terrestrial Second Generation (DVB-T2), and noted regional efforts in the implementation of the ‘Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over’ (2015-2020). The Ministers commended the completion of the first-ever TV co-production programme on ‘Rice: Seed of Life in a series of ‘Color of ASEAN’ in High Definition format.
11. In the area of technical standards, the Ministers endorsed a recommendation on the development of an ASEAN-wide DVB-T2 Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) specification to reap the benefits of economics of scale for affordable DVB-T2 IRDs in ASEAN Member States who already adopted DVB-T2 for DTTB.
Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN Community
12. The Ministers agreed that the information and media shall cover more cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder issues to support creating a sense of belonging and enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN Member States about their culture, history, religion and civilization. The Ministers also highlighted the need to deepen media cooperation to support communication building through closer coordination, joint projects, media networking and human resources development especially the younger generation, to support ASEAN’s concerted efforts in promoting ASEAN awareness and building the ASEAN Community.
13. At the Conference, the Ministers agreed to adopt the Declaration on Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community. The Declaration (appeared as ANNEX 2) is a guiding document to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of information and media through undertaking programmes and joint activities, and by leveraging on all forms of media.
14. The Ministers shared positive views on the necessary expansion and improvement of the information and media cooperation in ASEAN so that it will effectively enhance the existing programmers in disseminating information on ASEAN, and educate our peoples on the progress of the ASEAN community building process. In this regard, the Ministers noted the set up of three Working Groups, namely ASEAN Digital Broadcasting (ADB), Working Group on Information, Media, and Training; and Working Group on Content and Production, to strengthen the information and media cooperation in ASEAN.
Enhancing Cooperation with Dialogue Partners
15. The Ministers exchanges views on the progress of ASEAM Plus Three cooperation and possible measures to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries in the field of information and media.
16. The ASEAN Plus Three Minister reviewed the progress of the ASEAN-China Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation through information and Media (2010-2015), and the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Through Information and media (2012-2017). The Ministers noted that several initiatives are being discussed to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries.
17. The ASEAN Ministers appreciated China’s efforts to use broadcasting and publications for fostering the ASEAN-China friendly ties and good-neighbourly relationships. The ASEAN Ministers noted that China pay s great attention to the friendly exchanges and cooperation in the field of information and media within the ASEAN Plus Three framework with the understanding that the AMRI-3 is an important mechanism for pragmatic cooperation aimed at promotion mutual understanding and trust and maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.
18. The ASEAN Minister welcomed the progress of cooperation with Japan on digital content, especially local content development and human resource development. The ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation for Japan’s plan on cooperation to promote authorized distribution of broadcast content, shared knowledge of content, and strength people and cultural exchanged based on the recognition that information and media could contribute to enhancing ASEAN connectivity including people-to-people connectivity.
19. The ASEAN Ministers noted a proposal from the Republic of Korea on possible ways in which ASEAN and the ROK could collaborate, in addition to the ASEAN Plus Three framework. The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the furtherance of media exchanges with the ROK, including exchanges in digital broadcasting technology as well as co-production of digital content, exchanges and training of journalists and the development of human resources.
Closing and Acknowledgement
20. The Ministers agreed to convince the 13th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (13th AMRI) and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners in the Philippines in 2016.
21. The Minister expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Myanmar for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the 12th AMRI Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.
List of Ministers Attended
1. H.E Dato Paduka Haji Abd. Wahab bin Juned. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam
2. H.E Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Cambodia
3. Dr. Suprawoto, Secretary-General, representing Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia
4. H.E Mr.Savankhone Razmoutry, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR
5. H.E Mr. Jailani bin Johari, Deputy Minister of Communication and Multimedia, Malaysia
6. H.E U Aung Kyi, Union Minister of Information, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
7. H.E.Mr.Sonny Coloma, Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippines
8. H.E. Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore
9. H.E. Mr. Pisanu Suvanajata, Ambassador of Thailand to Myanmar, representing Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office
10. H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung,Vice Minister of Information and Communications, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
11. H.E.Mr.Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN
12. H.E.Mr. Cai Mingzhao, Minister of State Council Information Office, People’s Republic of China
13. Mr. Soichiro Seki, Director General for International Affairs, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, representing Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan
14. H.E.Mr. Sun Gyu Bang, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea
SEA Write Award
The S.E.A. Write Award is a literary award given to Southeast Asian poets and writers annually since 1979. The award is either given for a specific work or as a recognition of an author's lifetime achievement. Works that are honoured vary and have included poetry, short stories, novels, plays, folklore as well as scholarly and religious works. Ceremonies are held in Bangkok and are presided by a member of the Thai royal family.
S.E.A WRITE AWARD WINNERS LIST 
1979 Edwin Thumboo
1980 *Masuri bin Sulikun
1981 Wong Meng Voon (黄孟文)
1982 Ma Ilangkannan (M Balakrishnan)
1983 *Arthur Yap
1984 Wong Yoon Wah
1985 *Noor S.I. (Ismail Bin Haji Omar)
1986 *Paranan (C. Veloo)
1987 Lee Tzu Pheng
1988 Leou Pei Ann (Chua Boon Hean)
1989 Suratman Markasan
1990 Rama Kannabiran
1991 *Gopal Baratham
1992 Cheong Weng Yat
1993 Muhammad Ariff Ahmad
1994 *Naa Govindasamy
1995 Dan Ying (Lew Poo Chan)
1996 Minfong Ho
1998 Abdul Ghani Hamid
1999 Catherine Lim
2000 Teoh Hee La (张曦娜)
2001 K.T. M. Iqbal (Mohamed Iqbal)
2002 Mohamed Latiff bin Mohamed
2003 Philip Jeyaretnam
2004 Soon Ai Ling (孙爱玲)
2005 P. Krishnan
2006 Isa Kamari
2007 *Rex Shelley
2008 Stella Kon 2009 Chia Hwee Pheng
2010 Johar Buang
2011 Robert Yeo
2012 Suchen Christine Lim
2013 Yeng Pway Ngon
|2010||Wijaya (Awang Mohd Jamil)||Afrizal Malna||Dara Kanlaya||Zaen Kasturi||Marjorie Evasco||Johar Bin Buang||Zakariya Amataya||Nguyen Nhat Anh|
|2011 ||Mohd Zefri Ariff bin Mohd Zain Ariff||D Zawawi Imron||Bounthanong Xomxayphol||S.M. Zakir||Romulo P. Baquiran Jr.||Robert Yeo Cheng Chuan||Jadet Kamjorndej||Nguyen Chi Trung|
|2012||Pengiran Haji Mahmud bin Pengiran Damit (Mahmudamit)||Oka Rusmini||Duangxay Luangphasy||Ismail Kassan||Charlson Ong Ong||Suchen Christine Lim||Wipas Srithong||Trung Trung Dinh|
|2013||Haji Masri Haji Idris||Sok Chanphal||Linda Christanty||Soukhee Norasilp||Mohamed Ghozali Abdul Rashid||Maung Sein Win||Rebecca T Anonuevo-Cunada||Yeng Pway Ngon||Angkarn Chanthathip||Thai Ba Loi|
ASAIHL or the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1956 that strives to strengthen higher learning institutions, espescially in teaching, research, and public service, with the intention of cultivating a sense of regional identity and interdependence.
ASEAN Heritage Parks is a list of nature parks launched 1984 and relaunched in 2004. It aims to protect the region's natural treasures. There are now 35 such protected areas, including the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park and the Kinabalu National Park.
ASEAN Heritage Sites
Songs and music
- The ASEAN Way, the official regional anthem of ASEAN. Music by Kittikhun Sodprasert and Sampow Triudom; lyrics by Payom Valaiphatchra.
- ASEAN Song of Unity or ASEAN Hymn. Music by Ryan Cayabyab.
- Let Us Move Ahead, an ASEAN song. Composed by Candra Darusman.
- ASEAN Rise, ASEAN's 40th Anniversary song. Music by Dick Lee; lyrics by Stefanie Sun.
Education and human development
As the "collective entity to enhance regional cooperation in education", the ASEAN Education Ministers have determined four priorities that ASEAN efforts toward improved education would address: (1) Promoting ASEAN awareness among ASEAN citizens, particularly youth; (2) Strengthening ASEAN identity through education; (3) Building ASEAN human resources in the field of education; and (4) Strengthening ASEAN university networking. Nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines have experienced rapid development over the past 20 years, and this has been visibly evident in their educational systems. Each country has developed unique - yet interconnected through ASEAN initiatives - human and physical infrastructure to provide youth education, a primary determinant in future capabilities and sustained economic growth for the entire region. Various programmes and projects have been and are currently in the process of being developed to fulfil these directives and to reach these future goals.
At the 11th ASEAN Summit in December 2005, ASEAN Leaders set new directions for regional education collaboration when they welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Education Ministers to convene the ASEAN Education Ministers’ Meetings (ASED) on a regular basis. The Leaders also called for ASEAN Education Ministers to focus on enhancing regional cooperation in education. The ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting, which meets annually, oversees ASEAN cooperation efforts on education at the ministerial level. With regard to implementation, such programmes and activities resulting from such efforts are for the most part carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED), which reports to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting. SOM-ED also manages cooperation on higher education through the ASEAN University Network (AUN). The AUN was established to assist ASEAN in (1) promoting cooperation among ASEAN scholars, academics, and scientists in the region; (2) developing academic and professional human resources in the region; (3) promoting information dissemination among the ASEAN academic community; and (4) enhancing the awareness of regional identity and the sense of "ASEAN-ness" among members.
Education indicators outlined hereafter belong to primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Primary education is generally defined as the level of education where children are provided with basic reading, writing, and mathematical skills together with elementary understanding of such subjects as history, geography, natural science, social science, art, and music. Secondary education continues to build up on the knowledge provided by primary education and aims at laying the foundations for lifelong learning and human development with more advanced material and learning mechanisms. Tertiary education, whether or not leading to an advanced research qualification, requires minimally the successful completion of secondary education for admission and entails the level of education within some college or university.
School enrollment and participation
Participation in formal education is usually measured by the metric Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) and Net Enrollment Ratio (NER). The NER demonstrates the extent of participation in a given age-specific level of education. The purpose of the GER is to show the total enrollment in a level of education regardless of age. The GER is expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education.
We can make a few observations based on reported data on primary education enrollment. Brunei Darussalam had almost reached 100% net enrollment by 2001, while Indonesia has slowly moved downward from close to that enrolment percentage thereafter. The Philippines has been inching closer and closer to this target in recent years. The data indicate two groups of countries - one which has consistently attained a net enrollment ratio of more than 90% (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore) and the other group with around 80% (Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar). Vietnam started in the lower group and has moved to the upper group in the last few decades. Thailand has not provided data for both sexes, but the separate net enrolment ratio for girls and boys indicates that the overall ratio would be between 86% and 87%, and as such would be closer to the higher group. The primary net enrolment ratios of boys were almost always higher than those of girls for all reporting countries except Malaysia. For Singapore and Indonesia since 1998, however, the net enrolment ratios for girls and boys were not significantly different. A marked widening of gender gap was noticeable in the Philippines in 1997 but in 1999 the net enrolment ratios for girls exceeded that for boys.
It is also useful to look at retainment and efficiency rates in education throughout ASEAN. The effectiveness of efforts to extend literacy depends on the ability of the education system to ensure full participation of school-age children and their successful progression to reach at least grade 5, which is the stage when they are believed to have firmly acquired literacy and numeracy. The usual indicator to measure the level of this efficiency achievement is the proportion of pupils starting grade 1 reaching grade 5 of primary education.
Most reporting countries in ASEAN have steadily improved retention rates of pupils through 5th grade. At the top are Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, which have shown consistent survival rates of close to 100%, indicating a very high retention of children in school through at least 5th grade. Among the rest of the countries with rates ranging from 57% to 89% towards the end of the past century, Myanmar has maintained the largest improvements over the years.
By 2001, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines had achieved improvements in net enrolment ratios for secondary education of 11%-19% over those of 1990 or 1991. Vietnam experienced the fastest growth rate in net enrolment between the years 1993 and 1998. Singapore, the country with the highest overall achievement, has maintained consistently high net enrolment rates of above 90% since 1994. With regard to gender differences, the difference in the ratios of females to males ranges from 0.2%-6% (for the six countries for which these ratios are available: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). "The overall pattern is that girls seem to exhibit appreciably higher net enrolment ratios for secondary education, except in the case of Singapore where the ratios for girls and boys converged in the second half of the reporting period."
While the HPAEs (High Performing Asian Economies) and ASEAN-6 (the 6 oldest ASEAN members) have invested heavily in public education, and, unlike many other developing nations, have concentrated on primary and secondary schooling, tertiary education has been left largely to the private sector. Tertiary education in Southeast Asia is, in general, relatively weak. In most cases universities are focused on teaching and service to government rather than academic research. Additionally, universities in Southeast Asia, both in terms of academic salaries and research infrastructure (libraries, laboratories), tend to be ﬁnancially handicapped and poorly supported. Moreover, regional academic journals cater to their 'home' informed audiences and respond less to international standards which makes universal or regional benchmarking difﬁcult.
- The ASEAN University Network (AUN) is a consortium of Southeast Asian universities. It was originally founded in November 1995 by 11 universities within the member states. Currently AUN comprises 26 Participating Universities.
- The Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-NET) Project, was officially established as an autonomous sub-network of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in April 2001'. AUN/SEED-Net aimed at promoting human resources development in engineering in ASEAN. The Network consists of 19 leading Member Institutions (selected by the Ministries in charge of higher education of respective countries) from 10 ASEAN countries with the support of 11 leading Japanese Supporting Universities (selected by Japanese Government). AUN/SEED-Net is mainly supported by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and partially supported by the ASEAN Foundation. AUN/SEED-Net activities are implemented by the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat with the support of the JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net, now based at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Governments have a vested interest in investing in education and other aspects of human capital infrastructure, especially those governments of rapidly developing nations such as those within ASEAN. In the short run, investment spending directly supports aggregate demand and growth. In the longer term, investments in physical infrastructure, in productivity enhancements by businesses, and especially in the public provision of education and health services determine the potential for growth.
To measure the investments in education by governments, we use the metrics of public current expenditure on primary education as a percent of GDP and expenditure per pupil as a percent of GDP. These two indicators are based on public current expenditure at all government levels on all public primary schools and subsidies to private educational institutions, teachers and pupils. In some instances regarding figures used in these calculations, data on current public expenditure on education may refer only to the Ministry of Education, excluding other ministries that spend a part of their budget on educational activities.
Primary education expenditure in the reporting ASEAN countries is usually lower than 3% of GDP, with the exception of Indonesia, which reported 5%. Two countries that show noticeable rising trends are the Philippines and Lao PDR. Malaysia has experienced a gradual downward trend throughout the 1990s but stabilised around the year 2000. Indonesia experienced a sharp decline in primary education expenditure as a percent of GDP between 1995 and 1999 from almost 10% to 5%. Singapore has maintained a stable 0.6% up until 2000 and increased slightly to 0.7% in 2001.
While the public current expenditure on primary education as percentage of GDP can never be close to 100%, it is theoretically possible to have the public current expenditure per pupil as percentage of GDP per capita to reach or exceed 100%. Except for Singapore, this indicator fluctuates somewhat, but seems to have stabilised at around 10% for two reporting countries of ASEAN at the end of the 1990s decade. Since 1996, the indicator has steadily risen in the Philippines reaching almost 14% by 1998. Upward or downward trend for this indicator can have many causes which include sharp changes in enrolment rates of government expenditures on primary education.
The ASEAN Scholarship is a scholarship programme offered by Singapore to the 9 other member states for secondary school, junior college, and university education. It covers accommodation, food, medical benefits & accident insurance, school fees, and examination fees. Scholarship recipients who then perform well in the GCE Advanced Level Examination may apply for ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarships, which are tailored specifically for undergraduate institutions in Singapore and in other ASEAN member countries. Singapore has effectively used this programme to attract many of the best students from the ASEAN region over the past several years, and scholars for the most part tend to remain in Singapore to pursue undergraduate studies through the ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship programme.
Education as a determinant of human development
Statistically, educational attainment (as measured by average years of schooling) strongly correlates with subsequent income levels and development capabilities. An improvement in educational attainment will have a positive effect on a country's income and human development (humanity) growth.
It is therefore evident that "universal access to, and completion of, primary or basic education is a self-evident goal upon which the foundations for building the human capacity rests. Increased participation, regardless of sex, in secondary and tertiary levels of education is a necessary step to be able to move forward in the process of achieving equity, capacity building, access to information, and strengthening science."
Literacy indicators provide us with a measure of the number of literate persons within the population who are capable of using written words in daily and to continue to learn. The literacy rate essentially reflects the cumulative accomplishment of education in spreading literacy. The literacy rate is usually linked to school enrolment ratios and school retainment rates (through at least grade 5) of primary education, both of which contribute to the literate population.
The data of literacy rates in reporting countries of 15 to 24 years old reflect outcomes of the basic education process and is therefore considered an accepted measure of the effectiveness of that country's education system's investment in children. Among the eight ASEAN countries reporting six have made significant progress towards 100% literacy by 2000. This progress is comprable with member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an impressive accomplishment. Overall, there is not much disparity between male and female literacy with the exceptions of Cambodia and Lao PDR, where the literacy rate for females is about 10% lower than that of males in 1999. The results of overall improvement in literacy rates, though, indicate positive effectiveness of the primary education systems of these countries throughout the 1990s.
|Country||Year (most recent)||Adult (15+) Literacy Rate Total||Adult Men||Adult Women||Youth (15-24) Literacy Rate Total||Youth Men||Youth Women|
Looking at adult (defined as the entire population 15 and older) literacy rates, we can see that most reporting countries have made significant progress in this demographic as well. All but two reporting countries reached adult literacy rates of around 90% or better. Looking at the differences in literacy rates by sex, we can see a visible gender gap. This gap is most apparent in Cambodia and Laos, with percentage differences between adult men and adult women literacy rates of 14% and 19%, respectively. Only in the Philippines is the literacy rate among women higher than among men.
ASEAN Integration 2015
Initially launched in the 4th ASEAN Summit held in Singapore in November 2000 as an "Initiative for ASEAN Integration" (IAI) by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong which created a framework for human resource development programs and the integration of the new member States - Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The IAI has set-up four human resource development training centers in the new member States and by 2002 there were more than 10,000 participants in the program in various fields such as English Language, Information and Communication Technology, Trade and Tourism.
The ASEAN Community was originally envisioned by the Leaders to commence in 2020. It was during the 30th anniversary of ASEAN when the ten Heads of State/Government adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020. The ASEAN Vision 2020 agreed on “a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.” However, during the 12th ASEAN Summit held in January 2007 in Cebu, Philippines, the Leaders decided to accelerate the regional integration to 2015. One of the primary reasons for the decision to fast track regional integration was to reinforce ASEAN’s centrality and to ensure that ASEAN remains as the driving force in drawing the continuously evolving regional architecture.
During the 12th ASEAN summit held in Cebu, Philippines in 12–15 January 2007, the member States signed the 5 agreements aimed in further strengthening the integration of ASEAN and further enhancing political, economic and social cooperation in the region.
Among those issues drafted in the agreement includes the "Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015."
On the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore, from 18–22 November 2007 with the theme "One ASEAN at the Heart of Dynamic Asia" leaders of the member States endorsed the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint on a plan to establish a single market and production base in the ASEAN region by 2015. The ASEAN Member States adopted the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, a comprehensive document that lays out the overall vision as well as the goals, implementing plans and strategies (actions) as well as the strategic schedule (timeline) for achieving the establishment of the AEC by 2015.
Focus of integration
The integration is focused on seven components that ensures ‘free trade’ and the promotion of a single market and production base. It consists of the following:
1. free flow of goods
2. free flow of services
3. free flow of investment
4. free flow of capital
5. free flow of skilled labour
6. development of priority integration sectors
7. competitiveness of food, agriculture, and forestry sectors
There are 11 priority integration sectors which consist of the following:
1. Agro-based products
3. Wood-based products
4. Rubber-based products
5. Textiles & Apparels
8. Air Travel
10. Health care
11. e-ASEAN (ICT)
ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint
The ASEAN Leaders adopted the ASEAN Economic Blueprint at the 13th ASEAN Summit on 20 November 2007 in Singapore to serve as a coherent master plan guiding the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015<http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-economic-community>.
The declaration of ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint <http://www.asean.org/archive/5187-10.pdf>:
WE, the Heads of State/Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Member Countries of ASEAN, on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN and the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore;
1. ADOPT the AEC Blueprint which each ASEAN Member Country shall abide by and implement the AEC by 2015. The AEC Blueprint will transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy. The AEC Blueprint including its strategic schedule is annexed to this Declaration.
2. TASK concerned Ministers, assisted by the ASEAN Secretariat, to implement the AEC Blueprint and to report to us regularly, through the Council of the ASEAN Economic Community, on the progress of its implementation.
The ASEAN Economic Community is the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. Its characteristics include: (1) a single market and production base, (2) a highly competitive economic region, (3) a region of fair economic development, and (4) a region fully integrated into the global economy. The areas of cooperation include human resources development; recognition of professional qualifications; closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies; trade financing measures; enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity; development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN; integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing; and enhancing private sector involvement. Through the free movement of skilled labor, goods, services and investment, the ASEAN will rise globally as one market with each member gaining from each other's strength, thus will increase its total competitiveness and opportunities for development.
The ASEAN Economic Community or AEC is the embodiment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ vision of “… a stable, prosperous and highly competitive ASEAN economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment and a freer flow of capital, equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities.” AEC 2015 is a tagline or catchphrase that came about as a means to remind people that the target date for establishing the AEC is in 2015 – thus “AEC 2015.” 
The formulation of an AEC Blueprint (with clearly stated goals, timelines and implementing strategies) which the ASEAN Leaders ratified during the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore in November 2007, established the members’ commitment to a common goal as well as ensuring compliance with stated objectives and timelines. The AEC Blueprint lays out the overall vision as well as the goals, implementing plans and strategies (actions) as well as the strategic schedule (timeline) for achieving the establishment of the AEC by 2015.
The AEC is the realization of the end goal of economic integration as espoused in the Vision 2020 (brought forward to 2015), which is based on a convergence of interests of ASEAN Member States to deepen and broaden economic integration through existing and new initiatives with clear timelines. In establishing the AEC, ASEAN shall act in accordance to the principles of an open, outward-looking, inclusive, and market-driven economy consistent with multilateral rules as well as adherence to rules-based systems for effective compliance and implementation of economic commitments. The value of an AEC Blueprint is that it showed the world that ASEAN was serious about its plans and goals.
ASEAN will officially declare the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community by end December 2015. For the ASEAN economies and citizens, it will be business as usual – mainly because the key agreements and regulations that will govern the business and economic relationships under the AEC are already in place and operational.
Reception and Criticisms
One late criticism is from former Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Secretary General Romulo A. Virola, who said in 2012 that the Philippines does not appear to be ready to benefit from ASEAN integration due to its “wobbly” economic performance compared to other ASEAN member countries. According to Virola, the Philippines continues to lag behind in terms of employment rate, tourism, life expectancy, and cellular subscription.
David Lozada of the 2012 ASEAN Student Forum echoes the position of economic experts that the region is not yet ripe for economic integration as not all member-countries are on the same level of economic growth, with some having unstable economies due to political contexts.
In 2014, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2015  highlighted the widespread concern that the much-anticipated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would not be launched by the end-2015 deadline.
Ji Xianbai, in his article “Why ASEAN Economic Community Will Struggle. Serious weaknesses within ASEAN threaten the realization of the bloc’s regional project”, points out what he believes to be significant causes of the delayed ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) implementation:
1. The structural incapacity of the ASEAN to pull the AEC as its Secretariat “lacks the financial and intellectual resources to act in that capacity. Astonishingly, the resources at its disposal have remained unchanged for 15 years, even though the region’s GDP had more than quadrupled.” Comparing the ASEAN Secretariat to the European Commission, the former is understaffed with about 300 employees compared to the latter’s 34,000.
2. The ASEAN member-states’ inability or unwillingness to see themselves as a true single market. One example is Indonesia refraining from ratifying the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement for Full Liberalization of Air Freight Services (MAFLAFS), to protect its domestic aviation industry from regional competitors, primarily from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Without the participation of Indonesia, the single aviation or “open sky” market exists in name only. Another is Malaysia, which has been reluctant to liberalize auto trade barriers for fear of competition from regional car-manufacturing powerhouse Thailand. The Philippines has also kept in place heavy restrictions on foreign investors that critics say are aimed at shielding domestic businesses from competition.
3. The general awareness deficit of ASEAN and AEC across the region. An ASEAN Secretariat survey  in 2013 found that three out of four ASEAN citizens lack even a basic understanding of ASEAN. This is party owed to the use of English as the ASEAN’s only working language. The very low English proficiency in the region makes it very hard for ordinary ASEAN citizens to follow regional agendas.
In January 2014, Former ASEAN Secretary-General, Rodolfo C. Severino, wrote: “While ASEAN should not be condemned for its members’ failure to make good on their commitments, any failure to deliver will likely lead to a loss of credibility and could mean that member countries fall further behind in the global competition for export markets and foreign direct investment (FDI).”
This is not the first time that AEC faces a probable delay: In 2012, the commencement of the AEC was postponed to December 31, 2015 from the original plan of January 1, 2015. Despite ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan’s firm reassurance that “[t]here will be no more delays and that all ten ASEAN countries will participate,” even the most fervent proponents of AEC are beginning to worry about the increasingly diminishing chance of delivering AEC on time as 2015 closes in.
One Market Economy
The ASEAN Integration 2015 will see member-nations converge with one market economy, where trade is done with less restrictions (like no tariffs). The business playing field is flowing with goods (raw materials and products) and services (manpower). Nationalities are given a wide array of product choices which range from low end to high end. The integration encourages competition (showcasing the best) and complementarity (providing unique products).
Member-nations will place the right infrastructure to keep up with the fast changing ASEAN economic landscape. It also poses challenges, especially to member-nations like the Philippines whose economy is starting to boom. Journalist-businessman Wilson Lee Flores in his column titled Bull Market, Bull Sheet interviewed tycoons and identified different challenges that ASEAN businessmen face. They are the challenge of size or scale (family businesses can survive or flourish by becoming big or remaining small); the challenge of competitive spirit (market players should work harder); the challenge of speed (increase in transactions and productivity and developing new ideas); the challenge of efficiency (investment in technology and human resources); and the challenge of having a global mindset (thinking the international way).
Manila Bulletin writer Reynaldo Lugtu Jr. in his article titled ASEAN 2015 — challenges and opportunities adds “Entry of imported products” and “The challenge to innovate” as the other challenges entrepreneurs in the region will face when the integration is fully implemented next year. The former will see local manufacturers compete in the market share, where cheaper and competitive products are made available. On the other hand, the latter will see companies invest “in research and development, market research, and new technologies of production.” This is inevitable and expected since the business sector needs to deliver goods to consumers in a faster way (The challenge of speed). As Lugtu Jr. shares the ASEAN single market comprises 600 million consumers and with $1.9 trillion in combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On top of these challenges, he sees opportunities such as “Access to a bigger market,” and “Supply of human capital,” where member-nations with large population, like the Philippines whose population is now at 100 million and most members of workforce speak English, can take advantage.
The report written by Mia Aznar further discusses the challenges the Philippines will encounter when the integration takes place in 2015. According to Mia’s interview with Philippine Stock Exchange president and CEO Hans Sicat, ASEAN “only constitutes (the) 17 percent share of (the Philippines’) exports” as compared to East Asia with 50.1 percent export share. It is a question whether the integration will become beneficial to the country? China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North and South Korea and Taiwan compose the East Asia group. Other points raised by Sicat in the article titled “Asean integration in 2015 will be challenge for PH: PSE president” are Philippines has “a small economy, its citizens have a low awareness about the integration initiative, it has limited products and a small investor base.” Sicat also offers solutions to lessen the challenges that lie ahead. These include having political will, implementing arrangements, coordinating and mobilizing resources, capacity building, strengthening institutions and consulting with public and private sectors.
Lessening the vulnerabilities of Phl “to foreign competition and exposure to market risks” is also the concern of Rafael Alunan III in his article “2015: Asean Integration, ready or not?.” The sectors which will be affected are the agribusiness and manufacturing industries. This is extra challenging to the agricultural industry which has to work double time in achieving its self-sufficiency status and surplus growth for export. Like Sicat, Alunan III also shares his two cents on making these identified sectors ready for the Asean integration in 2015. The author shares that by providing “adequate incentives, critical infrastructures and universal access to know-how capital” and addressing “high business costs, low import duties and extensive technical smuggling” the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, respectively, will improve. The present manufacturing industry should be developed into an industry capable of producing dual purpose factories “producing for the domestic and export markets, supported by vital infra and systems, to spur industrialization.” It is also implied that the Phl’s defense should be built up to its “minimum desired level” to make the economy more competitive.
The AEC Scorecard
To track the progress of the AEC, the AEC Scorecard, a compliance tool developed based on the EU Internal Market Scorecard, was adopted by ASEAN. This regional economic scorecard is the only scorecard in effect  and is expected to serve as an unbiased assessment tool to measure the extent of integration among its members and the economic health of the region. It is expected to provide relevant information about regional priorities and in this way foster productive, inclusive and sustainable growth. Moreover, scores create incentives for improvement by highlighting what is working and what is not.
The AEC Scorecard is also a compliance tool that makes it possible to monitor the implementation of ASEAN agreements and the achievement of milestones indicated in the AEC Strategic Schedule. The Scorecard outlines specific actions that must be undertaken by ASEAN collectively and by its member states individually to establish an AEC by 2015.
To date, two official scorecards have been published, one in 2010 and the other in 2012. According to the AEC Scorecard 2012, the implementation rates of AEC’s four primary objectives: (a) single market and production base; (b) competitive economic region; (c) equitable economic development; and (d) integration into the global economy were 65.9 percent, 67.9 percent, 66.7 percent, and 85.7 percent, respectively, with 187 out of 277 measures being fully implemented by 2011.
The AEC Scorecard is purely quantitative. It only examines whether an ASEAN member state has performed the AEC task or not. The more “yes” answers, the higher the AEC Scorecard score.
Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG)
Narrowing the Development Gap (NDG) is ASEAN’s framework for addressing various forms of disparities among and within Member States where pockets of underdevelopment exist. Under NDG, ASEAN has continued coordinating closely with other subregional cooperation frameworks in the region (e.g., BIMP-EAGA, IMT-GT, GMS, Mekong programmes), viewing them as “equal partners in the development of regional production and distribution networks” in the AEC, and as a platform to “mainstream social development issues in developing and implementing projects,” in the context of the ASCC.
The six-year IAI Work Plans have been developed to assist the CLMV countries as well as ASEAN's other sub-regions to ensure that the economic wheels of their economies move at an accelerated pace. IAI Work Plan I was implemented from 2002 to 2008, prior to the development of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015). IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) supports the goals of the ASEAN Community and is composed of 182 prescribed actions, which includes studies, training programmes and policy implementation support conducted through projects supported by ASEAN-6 countries, and ASEAN’s Dialogue partners and external parties. The IAI Work Plan is patterned after and supports the key programme areas in the three ASEAN Community Blueprints: ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint, ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint.
The IAI Task Force, composed of representatives of the Committee of Permanent Representatives and its working group from all ten ASEAN member states, is in charge of providing general advice and policy guidelines and directions in the design and implementation of the IAI Work Plan. All 10 ASEAN Member States are represented in the IAI Task Force, with the Task Force chaired by representatives of the four CLMV countries. Chairmanship is rotated annually in alphabetical order. The chair for 2014 is Cambodia.
ASEAN Secretariat - IAI and NDG Division
The ASEAN Secretariat, in particular through the IAI and NDG Division, supports the implementation and management of the IAI Work Plan and coordinates activities related to sub-regional frameworks. This includes servicing meetings, assisting in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and reporting of projects, resource mobilization and overall operational coordination among various IAI&NDG-related stakeholders. The Division works closely with the Dialogue Partners and international agencies to develop strategies and programmes to assist in promoting and implementing IAI and NDG activities in ASEAN.
Double Digit Growth for Franchising Sector
The franchising industry in the Philippines eyed strong growth as it begins expanding to international markets.
There are currently 12 Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) members who are global franchisors with 76 overseas outlets.
“The upcoming ASEAN 2015 integration is expected to act as a further impetus for AFFI members to go overseas. The integration opens up the region’s capital and labor markets to competition. This is expected to lead an influx of foreign franchise brands into the country,” said AFFI.
AFFI President Victor Fernando announced that there will be a Franchisee Conference this year for the first time as part of the Filipino Franchise Show which will be held on October 3 to 5, 2014. The Franchisee Conference will be a venue to empower, recognize, and showcase the best practices of franchisees. Representatives from ASEAN countries are invited to the conference to share their franchisee experiences.
Fernando said that Filipino companies should try to be at par with their neighbors not just within the region but also globally. Ricardo Cuna, Chairman of the 2014 Filipino Franchise Show, said that the ASEAN integration is more of a challenge for Filipino entrepreneurs to compete worldwide.
The Filipino Franchise Show will be held at the World Trade Center with this year’s show bears the theme “ASEAN Integration through franchising.” The event will be composed of exhibits of franchises, product and services of support industries, regional products and services, retailers and distributors. The Filipino ASEAN Franchise Conference is also a part of the show along with the ASEAN Pavilion and other special events.
Part of the aim for ASEAN Integration is collectively achieve food security via trade in rice and maze. Trade facilitation measures and the harmonization/equivalency of food regulation and control standards will reduce the cost of trade in food products. While specialization and revealed comparative and competitive indices point to complementarities between trade patterns among the ASEAN member countries, intra-ASEAN trade in agriculture is quite small. However, integration could address this problem.
In a case study by Amelia Bello from the University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines suggested the following:
If regional integration and cooperation means moving towards a common goal using a common strategy, then it is essential that the ASEAN member countries agree on what food security collectively means to them, and what food items are important to each of them and the region in general, so that regional integration and cooperation under the auspices of ASEAN can be better promoted.
Food supply security can be enhanced through cooperation and interdependence among the ASEAN member countries. In this scenario, ASEAN countries would be producing and trading food in such a manner that trade complements domestic production and reserves as a means of assuring supply. ASEAN countries should agree not to restrict food trade through embargoes, export taxes, and other restraints except in highly exceptional cases.
The supply chain industry should prepare for the shift towards a bigger services sector in the ASEAN economics.
A study by Logistics Institute-Asia Pacific; as shared by Vinod K. Aggarwal and Boa Park found that the greatest impediment that the SCM industry faced is in customs procedures and inspections, which include time consuming documentation requirements, and different classification of goods in different countries. Land transportation barriers continue to exist owing to regulations on the operation of trucks in cross-boarder and in-country transportation. In ASEAN, Singapore ranked very good in logistics friendliness followed by Brunei and Thailand which were ranked good; Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Malaysia on the average rank while Indonesia were ranked weak. Many of the issues facing SCM stem from the lack of business representation and dialogue with government officials. Aside from facing the barriers to finance, logistics, technology development and human development in the region, it also lack opportunities to provide input into policy making or update information on policies that affect their enterprises.
The biggest challenge and opportunity for the SCM industry in gearing up for AEC 2015 is the industrial shift from manufacturing to services. With the services sector growing rapidly and accounting for an ever larger share of the GDP of countries in the region, services liberalization is crucial. In terms of SCM, it present challenges for the free movement of labour and demands for the new and adaptive processes for certification, customs, transportation, and other logistics – especially with respect to the issue of transparency – a core element of AEC 2015. If the SCM industry can provide logistics for professional services and basic services such as finance, health care, travel, and real estate, the interconnected and people-to-people community of AEC 2015 could provide more opportunities than challenges.
The manufacturing sector also has areas for improvement in transportation, storage, customs and payment services. Countries like Singapore and Indonesia, have one of the highest internet penetration rates in Asia, whereas, countries like Cambodia and Myanmar have very low rates of internet penetration. The supply chain industry and the member governments could pool resources to enhance connectivity and the flow of goods and services in the region.
In an article by Danessa O. Rivera for GMA News, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines is holding a series of workshops and creating awareness among its stakeholders for the upcoming Asean integration in 2015. In an email statement by the TCP(Tourism Congress of the Philippines) President Rosanna Tuason-Fores her objectives of the consultative meetings are to increase awareness level of the implications of the economic integration to tourism enterprises and to identify the market access opportunities for the business in the Philippines and other ASEAN economies.
“The ASEAN integration will have more impact to smaller and medium enterprises not only in terms of competitiveness but also in terms of manpower," she said.
"This is just some of the issues we will look into in these series of consultative meetings. We need to mitigate any adverse effects brought about by the integration,” Tuason-Fores said.
ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will establish a single market economy by 2015 to attract more investments and facilitate intra-ASEAN trade and investments.
Through the consultative meetings, Tuason-Fores said the Departments of Tourism and of Trade and Industry will be able to get inputs for the roadmap of Philippine Tourism in AEC 2015 and Beyond, an activity supported by the USAID Advancing Philippine Competitiveness or COMPETE Project.
The TCP is a national organization of tourism enterprises created by virtue of the Tourism Act of 2009.
The consultative meetings, dubbed as “Tourism Integration Briefing and Consultative Meeting,” will run from July 21 to 22 in Marco Polo Hotel in Lahug, Cebu.
The next consultative meetings will be held on July 23–24 at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City, on August 12–13 in Clark, Pampanga and will culminate in Manila also sometime in September.
Europe and China are the main sources of tourists in the last 4 years.
Education in ASEAN Integration
One of the priority areas under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) pillar is education as the ASEAN Charter emphasizes the need to “develop human resources through closer cooperation in education and life-long learning, and in science and technology, for the empowerment of the people of ASEAN and for the strengthening of the ASEAN Community."
In the presentation of ASEAN Secretariat in Chiang Mai, Thailand last January 2014, it pointed out that the establishment of an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, and a Truly ‘People-Centred’ ASEAN in the Post-2015 period encompass:
- More commitments towards building an ASEAN Community (e.g. people to people connectivity, institutional frameworks, pooling of resources, political-security and socio-cultural policies to support social and regional cohesion)
- Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI Work Plan) emphasizes the role of education in narrowing the development gap between ASEAN-6 and CLMV countries
- Higher demand for skilled labour & Increased cross-border flows of labor - and deepen ASEAN’s position in the global value chains
- Continuing cross-sectoral cooperation in education
- The development/promotion of partnerships in education sector
- ASEAN Awareness;
- (a) Increasing Access to, and increasing Quality Primary and Secondary Education; (b) Increasing Access to, and Quality of Education-Performance Standards, Lifelong Learning and Professional Development;
- Strengthening Cross-Border Mobility and Internationalization of Education;
- Support for other ASEAN Sectoral Bodies with an Interest in Education
1. The gaps among Member States are still wide
- Access to/continuation of education
- Quality of education (e.g. teacher education, number of teachers & pedagogy)
- Finance, Governance & Management
2. Effective synergies between different mechanisms (ASEAN/AUN and SEAMEO), and Dialogue Partners, International Agencies
3. A Holistic Approach to education:
- Formal vs. non-formal /informal education (SOM-ED, PPP)
- Basic & Higher education
- Vocation and Technical Training - TVET (EAS Education Plan of Action (2012-2015): (i) a regional TVET quality assurance framework, (ii) development of a network of TVET providers in the EAS, (ii) facilitating TVET teacher and student mobility; and (iv) a feasibility study of a register of TVET providers in the EAS.
- Education of transversal skills and other needed skills (related to life, environment, socio-cultural)
4. Monitoring tool (statistics and ASCC scorecard, e.g. consolidated data for ASEAN in the UNESCO EFA Reports)
Enhancing K to 12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines in lieu with ASEAN Integration
According to the World Bank, education equips and can be the strongest instruments of every individual. With the absolute knowledge and skills that he/she gained from school, an individual can be a functional member of the society in reducing poverty and improving of the well-being. Although, in maintaining and establishing a powerful education system, thorough venture must be considered. In the Philippine context, education remains a top priority. Despite the various development plans and projects formulated by the government and different sectors, the quality of Philippine education still leaves much room for improvement. As part of the efforts of the present administration to respond to the perceived needs of the education sector, the Department of Education (DepEd) had pushed for the implementation of the “Enhanced K to 12 Basic Education Program.”
DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro presented the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) last March in the annual membership meeting of the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd). BESRA, as a package of reform initiatives, considers K to 12 as the flagship reform strategy. The objective of the program is to be able to produce more productive and responsible citizens equipped with the essential competencies and skills for both lifelong learning and employment. From among various proposals and studies conducted to come up with an enhanced model that is suitable to the Philippine context, DepEd proposed the K-6-4-2 model or the K to 12 model. This model involves kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10), and two years of senior high school (Grades 11-12). The two years of senior high school intend to provide time for students to consolidate acquired academic skills and competencies. The curriculum will allow specializations in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship. In lieu with this, the government’s expanded basic education program and the decision of some universities to shift the start of their academic calendars from June to August would be good for a proposed educational integration among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2015.
Dr. Sauwakon Ratanawijitrasin, outgoing center director of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization–Regional Center for Higher Education and Development, said Southeast Asian countries were trying to harmonize and “internationalize” their education systems by 2015, which is part of a process of developing a regional economic community.
Southeast Asian Games
The Southeast Asian Games, commonly known as the SEA Games, is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia. The games is under regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.
ASEAN Para Games
The ASEAN Para Games is a biennial multi-sport event held after every Southeast Asian Games for athletes with physical disabilities. The games are participated by the 11 countries located in Southeast Asia. The Games, patterned after the Paralympic Games, are played by physically challenged athletes with mobility disabilities, visual disabilities,
FESPIC Games / Asian Para Games
The FESPIC Games, also known as the Far East and South Pacific Games for the persons with disability, was the biggest multi-sports games in Asia and South Pacific region. The FESPIC Games were held nine times and bowed out, a success in December 2006 in the 9th FESPIC Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Games re-emerged as the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China. The 2010 Asian Para Games debuted shortly after the conclusion of the 16th Asian Games, using the same facilities and venue made disability-accessible. The inaugural Asian Para Games, the parallel event for athletes with physical disabilities, is a multi-sport event held every four years after every Asian Games.
The ASEAN Football Championship is a biennial Football competition organised by the ASEAN Football Federation, accredited by FIFA and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia nations. It was inaugurated in 1996 as Tiger Cup, but after Asia Pacific Breweries terminated the sponsorship deal, "Tiger" was renamed "ASEAN".
ASEAN 2030 FIFA World Cup bid
May 2011: ASEAN will go ahead with its bid for the FIFA 2030 World Cup. It was a follow up to the agreement reached in January before.
ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration
Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have established defence industries. To cut cost and plan to be self-sufficient by 2030, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to promote the creation of the ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration (ADIC). The United States military reportedly has said that ADIC could have additional benefits beyond cost savings for ASEAN members, including facilitating a set of standards, similar to NATO, that will improve interoperability among ASEAN and U.S. militaries and increase the effectiveness of regional response to threats to Asia-Pacific peace and stability.
Non-ASEAN countries have criticised ASEAN for being too soft in its approach to promoting human rights and democracy in the junta-led Burma. Despite global outrage at the military crack-down on unarmed protesters in Yangon, ASEAN has refused to suspend Burma as a member and also rejects proposals for economic sanctions. This has caused concern as the European Union, a potential trade partner, has refused to conduct free trade negotiations at a regional level for these political reasons. International observers view it as a "talk shop", which implies that the organisation is "big on words but small on action". However, leaders such as the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alberto Romulo, said it "is a workshop not a talk shop". Others have also expressed similar sentiment.
Head of the International Institute of Strategic Studies – Asia, Tim Huxley cites the diverse political systems present in the grouping, including many young states, as a barrier to far-reaching cooperation outside the economic sphere. He also asserts that in the absence of an external threat to rally against with the end of the Cold War, ASEAN has begun to be less successful at restraining its members and resolving border disputes such as those between Burma and Thailand and Indonesia and Malaysia.
During the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu, several activist groups staged anti-globalisation protests. According to the activists, the agenda of economic integration would negatively affect industries in the Philippines and would cause thousands of Filipinos to lose their jobs.
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