Why Asean Is Not Successful as Other Integration?

Topics: European Union, International trade, Economic integration Pages: 9 (3155 words) Published: April 17, 2011
Why ASEAN is not successful as other integration
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Once hailed as perhaps the most successful example of regional organization in the developing world, ASEAN is now widely perceived to be in decline and ineffective. ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was founded in August 1967 to fight with an overwhelming threat of communism in Southeast Asia. The founding members were Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia. Since the Vietnam War, ASEAN’s role has changed to become that of a regional peacekeeper and to maintain steady economic growth for member nations. Few more countries joined later on. Brunei joined in January 1982, Vietnam joined in 1985, Burma and Laos joined in 1997, and Cambodia joined in 1999 (See). ASEAN includes all the nations in Southeast Asia except East Timor, a newly established nation in 2000. Here, three different sides of sustainability, economic, environment, and political, will be targeted to evaluate ASEAN’s effectiveness. Even though there are some controversies over ASEAN’s role of non-interference in the internal affairs of one another, the failure to handle 1997 economic crisis, the failure to handle regional smog, failure to interfere with East Timor’s fight for independence have proven that ASEAN needs to change its role in Southeast Asia in order to be more effective.

Reason why ASEAN integration is not successful to other integration: ASEAN made some effort to tackle the economic crisis in 1997. In December 1998, the Hanoi Plan of Action was issued by leaders at the Hanoi Summit. The plan is a set of actions that ASEAN would undertake collectively to reach short-term recovery from the crisis. Moreover, ASEAN tried to make the South-eastern Asian market more attractive to foreign investors by fastening the implantation and deepening the effectiveness of AFTA, ASEAN Free Trade Area (Antara). In December 1998, ASEAN Economic Ministers agreed to advance the implement date by one year from 2003 to 2002 to restore business confidence, enhance the economic recovery and promote growth in the region (”ASEAN Free Trade Area”). They have also agreed that for at least 90 percent of tariff lines, tariffs would be brought down to fewer than five percent by 2000. By 2002, all AFTA products would have tariffs of no more than five percent for old ASEAN members (Antara). The plans were somewhat successful, but conditions could be improved if ASEAN were more responsive to the economic crisis. Even though people might argue that under the plan, ASEAN nations did recover from the Economic Crisis, the current conditions would have been better if ASEAN could encounter the crisis more efficiently (”Asean’s Failure”). The spark of the crisis started with Thai government’s decision to let Thai baht float. It took ASEAN five months to realize the seriousness of the problem, and told all the member nations to be responsible for their own recovery. Under this statement, ASEAN nations stopped acting as a whole and sought outside help. Indonesia and Thailand sought IMF help, Singapore opted for financial liberalization and deregulation, and Malaysia implemented its own rescue package. In addition, ASEAN countries did not do much in improving their regional cooperation and integration. Instead, many countries remained satisfied and used ASEAN to get economic benefits for themselves (King). ASEAN failed not only to handle its member’s economic problems, but also their environmental issues. Smoke haze is an environmental problem that has affected Southeast Asian countries during the dry seasons especially in 1991, 1994 and 1997. ASEAN countries, in particular Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, were badly affected by smoke haze caused by land and forest fires from Indonesia. ASEAN made a Regional Haze Action Plan and to be completed by 1998. This plan has three objectives. First objective is to prevent land and forest fires though better...
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