The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries. It was formed on 8 August 1967 and includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. It aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.
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.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics:
(a) a single market and production base,
(b) a highly competitive economic region,
(c) a region of equitable economic development, and
(d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building; 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 for the building of the AEC. In short, the AEC will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.
With these developments, ASEAN continues to an interesting and complex collection of history, culture, politics and people, all at once, inter-twined and separate. What do these mean for businesses? What can firms do to unleash the potential of one of the world’s third largest market of 625 million people? How do they operate in such a socioeconomically diverse region? Does a single “ASEAN strategy” exist?
Combining the thought leadership of both the S. Rajaratam School of International Studies’ (RSIS) Centre for Multilateralism Studies, and the Nanyang Business School, this programme aims to provide participants an opportunity to understand the unique challenges as well as opportunities in conducting business in ASEAN.