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The ASEAN Studies Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

The ASEAN Studies Centre is devoted to research issues that pertain to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

High Level Conference on the Evolving Nature of ASEAN's Economic Cooperation

ASC and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) convened the High-Level Conference on The Evolving Nature of ASEAN’s Economic Cooperation: Original Vision and Current Practice on 9 October 2014.

Seminar on ASEAN Community 2015: Managing Integration for Better Jobs & Shared Prosperity

22 Sep 2014, ISEAS. Featuring the joint ILO-ADB report examining the impact of the AEC on labour markets. Click here to read the report

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Latest News & Updates

In addition to the analyses by ASC-ISEAS researchers, Sanchita Basu Das and Moe Thuzar on ASEAN's integration efforts, AMB Barry Desker shares his views on ASEAN integration published in the RSIS Commentary series.

AMB Desker is a Distinguished Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University and Non-Resident Ambassador of Singapore to the Holy See and Spain.

Noting that ASEAN has brought the region closer, kept it free of intra-state conflict, and kept the region relevant to major powers, AMB Desker expressed his reservations over approaches taken such as consensus decision-making.

As with the perspective of Moe Thuzar and Sanchita Basu Das, AMB Desker suggested that fundamentally, an "ASEAN mindset" that would cross the sectorial boundaries of policymakers is needed with the idea of a customs union included. Other critical aspects of integration that should be addressed include "the standardisation of legal regimes and the development of infocommunications technology infrastructure."

Click here for the full RSIS Commentary

As ASEAN prepares for its first milestone towards an integrated community, the key obstacles are lie with physical infrastructure, harmonising customs and immigration procedures, Moe Thuzar explains.

With improved and cheaper connectivity, economic corridors have emerged and grown in importance in supply chain networks. Economic imbalances between the urban and rural areas too have grown, further impacting migration patterns.

ASEAN has been pursuing connectivity in the region with its Master Plan on Asean Connectivity (MPAC) adopted in 2010 that includes among other projects, the ASEAN Highway Network. Financing the projects in the master plan however will require a healthy investment climate and the ability of the respective governments to create mutually beneficial private-public partnerships.

Click here to read the article as published by The Straits Times.

ASC's Sanchita Basu Das, along with Rahul Sen, Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology and Sadhana Srivastava, Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Law, Auckland University of Technology have authored the current ISEAS Perspective issue. The issue discusses the feasibility of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) moving forward to the next step of economic integration, i.e. towards an ASEAN Customs Union (ACU) post-2015.

Click here to read the issue.

Today wrote an opinion piece on ASEAN's integration efforts.

Analysts such as Mr Ong Keng Yong, executive deputy chairman of Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and former ASEAN secretary-general suggested the ASEAN Economic Community would be the most obvious of the three pillars.

While the bloc has enjoyed peace and stablity since its formation in 1967, issues such as disagreements on the South China sea disputes have hampered the Political Security community efforts.

The sociocultural pillar which has dual objectives of identity-building and narrowing the devleopment gap among member states, has reported it has completed 90% of its measures listed in the ASCC blueprint. However, these benefits are less visible.

ASC's Me Thuzar suggested "The sense among analysts is that more needs to be done, especially in making sure people understand what regional cooperation means...This feeds into developing a regional identity.”

Click here for the full article by Today.



Summary Report: High Level Conference on the Evolving Nature of ASEAN's Economic Cooperation

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) convened the High-Level Conference on The Evolving Nature of ASEAN’s Economic Cooperation: Original Vision and Current Practice on 9 October 2014 at ISEAS, Singapore. The Conference sought to review the original motivations for ASEAN and reflect on how it has evolved over time. It facilitated an open discussion between the early thinkers of ASEAN (mainly ASEAN-5) and its current practitioners to spell out the recommendations for the future.
For a summary report on the conference, click here.


Seminar On ASEAN Community 2015: Managing Integration For Better Jobs & Shared Prosperity

The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS will be hosting a seminar on managing integration in the ASEAN Community on 22 September 2014. For more details and to register, visit this link.


Symposium On Regionalism In The Asia Pacific: Current And Future Developments

On 21 August 2014, ISEAS hosted a symposium to share insights on the latest Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) initiatives in the Asia Pacific, including RCEP which ASEAN adopted in 2011. The symposium also sought to gain perspectives from countries that may or may not have multiple membership in these RTAs, and to examine the challenges and opportunities for merging these trade groupings in the future.
Click here for a summary report, to access the presentations and for photos from the event.

*Update- click here for pictures from the event.


ASEAN 2030: Towards a Borderless Economic Community Book Launch

Join us for the book launch of ASEAN 2030: Towards a Borderless Economic Community- A study by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the ASEAN Secretariat. The event will be held at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies on 17 July 2014. For more information and to register, click here.


The ASEAN Roundtable 2014

The ASEAN Studies Centre will be holding the annual ASEAN Roundtable 2014, an annual flagship activity that has been taking place for the past 29 years, since 1985. The 29th roundtable this year has the theme “Moving Towards a People-Centred ASEAN” and focuses on issues and trends under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

For more information, click here.








Views & Opinions

Click here for a full listing of Opinions shared by the ASEAN Studies Centre



The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress Edited by: Sanchita Basu DasJayant MenonRodolfo Severino, Omkar Lal Shrestha
ASC141 This is an important and timely volume: important because ASEAN is an increasingly significant and influential regional and global actor; and timely because, as the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community target approaches, what is needed is a sympathetic yet arms-length survey of the issues and challenges.

ASEAN will miss some of the targets laid out in its AEC Blueprint, but the reader is left in no doubt that the ASEAN spirit is alive and well.

ASEAN-Japan Relations

Edited by: Takashi Shiraishi and Takaaki Kojima

BM4991 This book on ASEAN-Japan relations is the intellectual highlight of the 40 years anniversary of ASEAN Japan cooperation. ASEAN has become an indispensable partner and friend of Japan and its role as the hub of cooperation, development and stability in the region will without doubt become even more important after the establishment of the ASEAN Communities in 2015.

The book contains contributions of the most renowned and respected experts on ASEAN.

ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard: Performance and Perception
Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

AEC book right size The official AEC Scorecard is expected to track the implementation of measures and the achievement of milestones committed in the AEC Strategic Schedule.  However, the Scorecard, in its current form, is too brief and general to be useful for the ASEAN citizens.
This book attempts to fill this gap and evaluates the current status of and the progress towards the milestones of the AEC Blueprint.

Enhancing ASEAN Connectivity

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

Enhancing ASEANs Connectivity ASEAN has a goal to create an economic community by 2015.  To achieve the goal, connectivity among the member states needs to be given due importance.
This book looks at the current state of ASEAN's physical connectivity and challenges in building better infrastructure.  It concludes with the steps needed to be taken for implementation of the various plans, and policy recommendations.

ASEAN-Russia:  Foundations and Future Prospects

Editors: Victor Sumsky, Mark Hong, Amy Lugg

ASEAN Russia Russia is geographically and historically part of Asia and the Asia Pacific, and has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1996.
To commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership in 2011, the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS and its counterpart from MGIMO-University, Moscow co-organised a two-day conference that year, in which papers were presented offering perspectives from Russia and the ten ASEAN member states.  This is a timely book that affords the reader insights into where ASEAN-Russia relations currently stand and suggests how they can improve and move forward.

Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015:  Challenges for Member States and Businesses

Editor: Sanchita Basu Das

ASEAN AEC 2015 ASEAN leaders proclaimed to create an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.  But achieving the target requires cooperation and coordination both within and among the ten ASEAN economies.
This book examines the state of readiness of the member countries for regional integration and discusses the challenges to ASEAN businesses.  It gives policy recommendations to address some of the issues faced by the key stakeholders.  


The ASEAN Regional Forum
Author: Rodolfo C. Severino
The ASEAN Regional Forum The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only Asia-Pacific-wide forum for consultations and dialogue on political and security issues.
Although many articles and books have been published on the ARF, this is one of the few books that treat the forum comprehensively and from the standpoint of the region itself.


Visit this link for a full listing of Projects and Activities organised by the ASEAN Studies Centre


Report Series

Report Series 12
The Gulf Cooperation Council: A Rising Power and Lessons for ASEAN

Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.