The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the representative of regional economic cooperation and integration among developing countries. As part of the structural changes of the world economy, ASEAN has implemented intra-regional economic cooperation since 1976. The new goal is the establishment of the ASEAN Community which consisted of three pillars; ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Since ASEAN has also been an important axis of regional economic cooperation and free trade agreements (FTA) in Asia and Pacific’s. A big step toward realization of ASEAN Community is the Southeast Asia regional economic integration into ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) within 2015.
As economic integration, AEC is dealing directly with economic stuffs. The part of AEC that impacts directly not only the ASEAN’s entire members, which all of them are APEC’s member economies too, but also represent the possibility and potentiality of a real regional integration, rather it be successfully established among the economics vary of members, or facing obstacles of cooperation. This paper will study about ASEAN preparations for AEC, its situations, challenges and how AEC impacts on APEC as a portrait of regional economic integration.
ASEAN and its blueprint on AEC
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been the representative of regional economic cooperation and integration among developing countries, within the structural change of the world economy. In East Asia, ASEAN has been the sole source of regional cooperation. Founded in 1967, ASEAN has promoted deepening and widening of regional cooperation since its founding, deepening its political and economic cooperation and fostering other types of cooperation. The five original members in 1967––Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand–– welcomed Brunei in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. Consequently, ASEAN presently extends throughout Southeast Asia.
ASEAN has implemented intra-regional economic cooperation since 1976. A Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme to promote the free flow of goods within ASEAN lead 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 the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), including AFTA, 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. And Since 2011, AEC has agreed to strengthen the position and increase the competitive edges of small and medium enterprises (SME) in the ASEAN region. The world economy has been in a wave of structural change and has been unstable. Globalization due to the growth of international economic interdependence, especially the growth of the international capital movement, has been the base of development for ASEAN countries since the mid-1980s. However, this led to the Asian economic crisis in 1997,...