About Us

The ASEAN Studies Centre is devoted to research on issues that pertain to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an institution and a process.

This is distinct from ISEAS’ broader concerns with respect to Southeast Asia.

News & Updates

ASC's Rodolfo Severino shared his views with the East Asia Forum on ASEAN's quiet achievements over the recent years.
Click here for the article published by the East Asia Forum


The ASEAN Secretariat reports that ASEAN will work closely with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) to continuously monitor the situation in the Philippines with regards to Typhoon Hagupit. The ASEAN Secretary-General also expressed his sympathy and commended the Government of the Philippines "for its early warning efforts and implementation of disaster preparedness plans which have prevented greater losses and damages."

Click here to read the report by the ASEAN Secretariat.

“There are at least four or five options on the table. The modalities, based on which negotiations need to move, could not be agreed in this round. Negotiations will resume in the next round to be held in Thailand from 9-13 February,” a commerce ministry official said speaking under condition of anonymity.

Click here to read the report by Live Mint.

ChannelNewsAsia- In 2007, ASEAN leaders agreed to accelerate the regional economic integration. Known as ASEAN Economic Community or AEC, it will transform the region into a single market by 31 December 2015. But just a year before the 2015 deadline, has ASEAN been able to live up to its goal?

ASC's Sanchita Basu Das shares her view with ChannelNewsAsia on the ASEAN Community 2015. Click here to watch the video.

With the RCEP negotiations recently concluded ASC's Sanchtia Basu Das shares her views with the East Asia Forum on whether the mega-regional represents a "new paradigm’ of regional trade agreements or not".

Click here to read the full article by the East Asia Forum.
A PDF copy can be obtained at this link


With rising tensions in East Asia, does it still make sense to think about cooperation in the Asia-Pacific in terms of regional architectures today? What are the challenges facing efforts at building institutions and regimes for the region and how can they be overcome? What can be a useful approach to managing relations in the region?


The Department of Japanese Studies and Department of Political Science at National University of Singapore has jointly hosted a three-part series on “Regional Architecture and Frameworks for Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific”


The second part of the series was held on 19 November 2014. It was a public symposium on "Competition and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific: Recognising Challenges, Seizing Opportunities", in which ASC's Head, Rodolfo Severino was part of the discussion panel.

Some of the issues addressed at the symposium on 19 November included:

  • Is China rising peacefully? How should other regional actors respond to a rising China?
  • Is a power-shift (the rise of China and the decline of the US) really taking place in the Asia-Pacific? If so, how does it affect the strategy of regional actors such as Japan, China, the US, India and ASEAN?
  • What is the best approach to managing rising tensions in East Asia?
  • What is the outcome of the APEC summit in 2014?
  • What is the prospect of further cooperation in the Asia-Pacific? 


The final part of the series will be held next month. The details are as follow:

Date: 9 January 2015
Time: 6:00-7:30 pm
Venue: Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House, National University of Singapore Kent Ridge Campus (11 Kent Ridge Drive)

Registration  is compulsory and available at this link

For more information, please click here.



Moe Thuzar, Lead Researcher for Socio-Cultural Affairs of ASC discusses on ASEAN Integration in the new article "ASEAN Integration: Translating a Vision into Reality", published in Young Academic's Voice forum on 1 November 2014.

Click here for the full article.


Naypyitaw, Myanmar, saw a flurry of activity in mid-November, as Myanmar – this year’s ASEAN Chair - held the 25th ASEAN Summit and related key meetings held in conjunction with the ASEAN Summit.

These meetings included the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Plus Three Summit, individual summit meetings with leaders from China, Japan, the United States, India, and with the United Nations Secretary-General. To celebrate 40 years of dialogue relations, the ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit was also held at Naypyitaw.

In addition, the ASEAN leaders also had a session with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, which provided recommendations from the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit which also convened in Naypyitaw together with the ASEAN Summit.

Click here for a summary of the events as well as ASC's participation.


On Monday, 17 November 2014, Her Excellency Dr Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, delivered the annual Lowy Lecture at the Westin in Sydney.

Click here for a full transcript of the lecture.

You can also watch the entire lecture on Youtube at the link below

Related Video

Some observers say Myanmar played a key role in pulling the member nations together on this issue. "The chair has the responsibility to make sure that they have consensus and that's what's most important. I think Myanmar was able to do that very efficiently and I think you have to give credit to Myanmar," said Kavi Chongkittavorn, senior fellow at Chulalongkorn University’s Institute of Security and International Studies.

Click here for the full article by ChannelNewsAsia.

The Diplomat's David Gitter suggests "Southeast Asian nations should consider how China perceives ASEAN and what goals it hopes to gain from its interactions with the bloc"

Click here for the full article by The Diplomat

The New Straits Times Reports "Nine of the 10 Asean countries have laws related to electronic transactions, while eight have those concerned with cybercrime. All but one have a national cybersecurity programme."

Clik here to read the full article.

The latest issue in the ISEAS Economics Working Papers series, "The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: New Paradigm or Old Wine in a New Bottle?" by Sanchita Basu Das and Reema B Jagtiani has just been published.

Clik here to download the paper.

The Malaymail Online reports of a private-sector initative by AirAsia that is likely to boost regional tourism in the ASEAN region.

Dubbed the “Asean Pass”, the airline will offer a 10-flight pass at a flat rate of RM499 and a 20-flight pass that is expected to cost under RM1,000, said AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Click here for the full article by The MalayMail Online.

The gathering in Bagan, central Myanmar, was the first of its kind to boost security ties between Tokyo and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

A Japanese government source said Eto emphasized the importance of Japan-ASEAN cooperation in regional security, telling defense chiefs, “no country can maintain peace alone.”

Click here for the full article by The Japan Times


SINGAPORE: Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen attended the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat from Tuesday (Nov 18) to Wednesday in Bagan, Myanmar, where ASEAN Defence Ministers discussed regional security issues and welcomed progress in practical cooperation.

Click here for a brief report by ChannelNewsAsia

THE Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which generally promises greater benefits than other regional trade pacts currently under negotiation, has finally got off the ground a decade after it was first broached by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders...

Click here to read the full article published by the Straits Times.
Click here for a PDF of the hardcopy edition.

"For political and security, the emphasis should be on supporting the ASEAN centrality," said Termsak Chalermpalanupap, leading researcher for political and security affairs at the ASEAN Studies Center of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Click here for an assessment by The Global Times

Voice of America Reports- 

Thein Sein cautioned that one year before the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is supposed to create a single market, “challenges remain in implementing the remaining 20 percent of the targets and addressing the issues that will emerge in the post-2015 ASEAN Community.”

Click here for a the full article by Voice of America

The Financial Times shares their views on five significant points about ASEAN based on a recent McKinsey report.

Click here to read the full article published by the Financial Times.


The Head of the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS, Rodolfo Severino speaks to VOA Asia in "ASEAN Summit in Myanmar Won't Be About Breakthroughs"

Click here to read the article published by Voice of America Asia or click the link below for the video.


Related Video

Beijing signalled yesterday that it plans to use next week's Apec summit to promote a new Asian trade pact to have a bigger say in the region, a push widely seen as a countermeasure to the proposed US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement...

Click here to read the full article published by the South China Morning Post.

Click here for a PDF of the hardcopy edition.

On 24 October 2014, the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS organised a Workshop on "ASEAN-Korea Partnership: 25 Years of Striving for Cooperation and Prosperity".

Click here for a summary of the workshop.


Aaron Connelly speaks with SBS producer Andrea Booth about Indonesia and the futre of its relationship with Australia and ASEAN under the Jokowi Government.

Click here for a transcript of the interview.

Trade officials from 16 Asia-Pacific countries kicked off Monday the intercessional meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) to accelerate talks.

Read more at Asia One.

In recent years, the South China Sea has become a key area of concern for the ASEAN organization. In the face of an increasingly expansionary China, ASEAN has often seemed slow to react and unsure of what strategy it should pursue. While there are options in place, such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), there has been little unity in the actions of the ten member nations.

Click here for a perspective of the issue by "ASEAN Briefing"

The 25th ASEAN Summit is around the corner. One question worth asking is: How committed is the U.S. to the pivot to ASEAN?

Click here for an assessment by The Diplomat.

Where manufacturers in China and the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- were once competitors, today their output is increasingly complementary, especially in more specialised manufacturing sectors; trade in services is expanding rapidly and investment flows are turning from a trickle to a flood.
Trade flows between China and ASEAN are driven as much by the evolution of regional production networks and trade integration initiatives as they are by rising regional domestic demand.

Click here for the full article at the Daily Mirror.

For more details or to register for the workshop, please click here.

Registration is available until 5pm on 23 October 2014


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.

ISEAS's Dr Malcolm Cook shares his views with Asia Matters for America, a publication by the East-West Center on Singapore Key to US Partnership with Southeast Asia.

...Fortunately, what is good for Singapore and the US is also good for Southeast Asia as a whole. Singapore’s historic role as an entrepot economy has long positioned Singapore as the economic link between Southeast Asia and the rest of the world as shown by re-exports accounting for 45% of Singapore’s total exports in 2013. Singapore’s successful promotion of itself as a site for MNCs to locate their regional headquarters also means that an increasing amount of FDI into Singapore is for companies to expand their presence in the region as a whole, meaning that these headquarters in effect account for a growing share of Singaporean FDI to Southeast Asia....

Click here to read the full article by the East-West Center.


ABS-CBN reports that ASEAN integration may create as many as 3.1 million jobs in the Philippines

... Medium-skilled employment, meanwhile, could grow by around 25 percent. This includes clerks, craft and related trade workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers, and service and sales workers...

Click here for the full article at ABS-CBN.

Chairman of the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI), Fermin Fautsch, spoke with reporters from Bernama at the EU-Asean Forum on Food Safety in Kuala Lumpur on13 October 2014.

He said defining the standards, like efforts on determining the shelf life, traceability, cold chain management and labelling, would play a role in giving greater confidence to consumers. "If such standards are brought to the Asean level, it obviously would help facilitate more trade," he added.

For more information, click here to read the article by Yahoo News.

ASC researchers Moe Thuzar and Termsak Chalermpalanupap were part of an ISEAS team that participated in the development of a working paper on implementation challenges and coordination arrangements for connecting South and Southeast Asia, as part of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and ADB Institute (ADBI) flagship study on “Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia. The ADBI has published the paper online here.

The ADB-ADBI flagship study analyses how closer regional connectivity and regional economic integration between South and Southeast Asia can benefit both subregions.

Click here for the Interim Report for the study  and background information on the project as provided on the ADBI website.

ISEAS's Dr Asad Latif shares his views with Asia Matters for America, a publication by the East-West Center on The Case for an ASEAN Caucus in the US Congress.

...ASEAN is America’s fourth-largest trading partner after Canada, Mexico and China, while the US is ASEAN’s third-largest trading partner – a relationship that creates about 560,000 jobs for Americans. Indeed, investments by ASEAN members in the US rose by more than an astonishing 1,440 per cent to US$27.5 billion in 2012, up from US$1.8 billion in 2001...

Click here to read the full article by the East-West Center.


For more details on the conference, please click here.

Please note however that registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest


... Asean supported calls for the international community to work together to fight terrorism and extremism, while it also backed the UN Security Council resolutions passed last week that aim to compel countries to take measures to stem the flow of foreign fighters to militant groups...

Click here for the full report by the Straits Times.

Click here to watch a video on and read the official remarks by John Kerry, Secretary of State at the recent US-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, by the US Department of State.


"...AEC’s impact on the region’s employment prospects comes from two channels—first from the structural changes in domestic economies; and second from the AEC’s promotion of free movement of skilled labour through the establishment of Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) of professional services. With structural change overtime, the AEC can potentially boost the region’s GDP by 7.1 per cent by 2025 and generate 14 million jobs in the process..."

The Guest Writer Sukti Dasgupta and the ASC's Sanchita Basu Das  will discuss the impact of AEC on the labour market through the channel of structural change, skills, productivity and wages in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 22nd September 2014.

To read the full article, please click here.

The seminar will be held in ISEAS on 22 September 2014 at 10 AM. Click here for details and to register by 19 September.

The Symposium on Regionalism in the Asia-Pacific: Current and Future Developments was held on 21 August 2014 at ISEAS.

Click here for a summary report, the presentations made and some pictures of the symposium.

Sanchita Basu Das, Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS, shared her views with the Straits Times on the need for coordinated and coherent labour policies as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect-

IN 15 MONTHS, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect, heralding a new era in which the flow of goods, services, capital and labour will be freed up across the region. One aspect of this liberalisation is what it will mean for job opportunities across Asean's 10 member countries.

Will an engineering graduate from Malaysia be able to apply for a job in Indonesia? Can a Filipino nurse get to work in a Thai hospital Under ideal conditions, the answer is a resounding yes. But there are several reasons why the answer is no and will remain so in the next few years.

Click here to read the full article by Sanchita Basu Das.
For the article as published by the Straits Times on 4 September 2014, click at this link.

Fund managers in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are now able to offer Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) to retail investors in all three countries thanks to new regulations, which is set to boost business, say financial experts...

The framework is expect to improve cross-border offers for investors, boosting businesses. To read the full article on the framework by Opp Connect, click here.

ITAR-TASS News Agency reports on a call by Russia for ASEAN to boost agriculture exports

Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev: “I would like to draw your attention to the opportunities opening for ASEAN countries to supply agricultural products to Russia, particularly fresh vegetables and fruit,” Ulyukayev said on Thursday at ASEAN-Russia senior economic officials' consultations in Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw.
“We are familiar with high quality standards for agricultural produce in your countries and we will welcome exports of your products to Russia, including nuts, beef, pork and poultry,” he said.
Trade turnover between Russia and the 10-member ASEAN bloc topped $17.5 billion last year, the minister said.

Click here to read the full article by ITAR-TASS.

The East Asia Forum reports on the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework which aims to liberalise the banking market by 2020-

"Allowing banks to operate across borders enables them to take advantage of economies of scale to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The entry of regional banks into domestic markets can increase competition, leading to lower prices and a greater variety of banking products and services. Heightened competition may also spur banks to expand into rural areas which are traditionally underserved by banks. Extending banking to the rural poor is an important means of promoting inclusive economic growth in ASEAN..."

Click here for the full article by The East Asia Forum

The 46th meeting of economic ministers of ASEAN kicked off in Myanmar's capital of Nay Pyi Taw Monday.

Click here for a report by the ShanghaiDaily.

The Times of India reports that exports to ASEAN are expected to hit $280 billion in 10 years- an increase of 15%, in a study by Standard Chartered. Six areas with export potential were identified - include Petroleum products, organic chemicals, vehicles (including auto components), pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery and apparel and clothing accessories.

Read more at The Times of India.

AsiaOne News reports on ASEAN's show of unity during the foreign ministers meeting held on Aug 10 in Nay Pyi Taw.

"The communique, together with a rejection of US State Secretary John Kerry's overtures and China's proposed joint statement on progress, has also demonstrated once again the grouping's determination to enhance its centrality when it comes to regional issues. This latest surge in ASEAN cohesiveness was supported by both the chair, Myanmar, and coordinating country, Thailand. Hanoi and Manila, which had previously been out of step with their ASEAN neighbours on the issue, have also fallen in line."

Read the full issue at AsiaOne at this link.

With Asean having marked its 47th anniversary on Aug 8 last week, ASC's Moe Thuzar shared her views with The Straits Times on the achievements of ASEAN as well as the tasks it faces at present.

Read the full by The Straits Times at this link.



"Foreign Minister Murray McCully has welcomed regulatory approval for the alliance between Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines, describing the initiative as “a game changer” in his meeting with Foreign Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations..."

“The alliance also means more opportunities for New Zealand businesses. There are over 620 million people living in the ASEAN countries, and they are increasingly demanding the high-quality products exported by New Zealand businesses. Two-way merchandise trade amounts to $13 billion annually, and New Zealand’s exports to ASEAN were over $5 billion in the past year. This is set to grow as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement comes fully into effect. Goods exports alone grew by over 20 per cent in the past twelve months. Increased air links will allow New Zealand businesses to continue this trend."

Scoop, a publication from New Zealand Reports. Click here for the full article



Myanmar says will not take sides in maritime dispute
ChannelNewsAsia reports - "Myanmar has been quick to emphasise a peaceful resolution to any conflict, with President Thein Sein calling for ASEAN to promote a common spirit of peaceful co-existence, harmony and tolerance, in a challenging global environment. He said ASEAN must show its leadership and maintain centrality. This is especially important in this fast changing political and security environment."

To read the full article and a video report by ChannelNewsAsia, click here.


ASEAN urges stepped-up talks as South China Sea tensions grow
The Today newspaper reported on August 11 "A senior US official said ASEAN countries’ concern over China’s maritime actions was at an “all-time high” based on private conversations, though their public statements were more guarded to avoid antagonising China. “We urged all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that would complicate the situation and undermine peace, stability and security in the South China Sea,” said ASEAN in a communique, following a meeting this weekend in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw."

For the full article by Today, click here.



ASEAN Day is celebrated each year on August 8 to promote a greater awareness, consciousness, and understanding of ASEAN among our peoples and communities. We at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS, wish you a Happy ASEAN Day!



"...Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary-General said in the release that the AMM is an important meeting for ASEAN in pushing forward the growing momentum towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015 and the development of its post-2015 vision.

He said the meeting is also significant in forging strategies to enhance ASEAN centrality and unity in light of the recent developments as well as the shifting strategic landscape in the region."

Read the full article at the Global Post at this link.



Dr Termsak Chalermpalanupap, lead researcher at ASEAN Studies Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, shared his views with ChannelNewsAsia- "That will be an ideal occasion for Malaysia representing ASEAN to request Russian support for a thorough investigation of the downing of MH17. I think that will be a fair position for ASEAN to take. They will just ask for information, and to encourage (the) Russian foreign minister to share information, because we always want to know from the Russian perspective how they see the situation in Ukraine, how they are going to support investigation of the downing of MH17."

Read the full article at ChannelNewsAsia at this link.



The ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies had the honour of hosting the Secretariat of the Senate of Thailand for a briefing on 24 July 2014. The briefing addressed the work of the ASEAN Studies Centre and the ASEAN Community vision. The delegation was lead by Miss Jititayvee Tatiyaratana, Deputy Secretary-General of the Senate.




The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) says it strongly condemns the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, and expressed shock over the death of 298 people on board - Channel News Asia


Read the article at Channel News Asia at this link.




Some photo highlights from the book launch in ISEAS for "ASEAN 2030: Toward a Borderless Economic Community" and the succeeding policy dialogue by the Asian Development Bank Institute are available at this link.




The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS organised its annual flagship ASEAN Roundtable on 8 July 2014 at ISEAS, with support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. This is the 29th year of the ASEAN Roundtable. The theme of this year’s roundtable is “Moving Towards a People-Centred ASEAN”, focusing on the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).

For some highlights of the Roundtable discussions, click here.

A detailed report will follow soon.



The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS hosted the book launch for "ASEAN 2030: Toward a Borderless Economic Community"- a Study by the Asian Development Bank Institute.

We had the honour of having His Excellency, AMB Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary-General deliver a Keynote Speech on Defining the ASEAN Economic Community Post-2015 Agenda.

This was followed by a Policy Dialogue: The ASEAN Economic Community Post 2015 Agenda: Challenges for Integration".

A more detailed report will follow.




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.




The South China Morning Post reports that priority will be defending territorial interests in dialogue on code of conduct in disputed waters.


... China will act assertively at a regional meeting to discuss a code of conduct for the South China Sea amid rising tensions with its Southeast Asian neighbours over disputed waters, observers say.


Read the full article at the South China Morning Post at this link.




The Bangkok Post reports that rising consumption in ASEAN is leading to a drive in electronic exports:


... "We've seen opportunities growing, particularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, where demand for electricity use has surged in line with increasing infrastructure development," he said. At present, the US ranks as the top export market, consuming 17% of total exports.


Read the full article at the Bangkok Post at this link.




Moe Thuzar, ISEAS Fellow & Lead Researcher (socio-cultural), ASEAN Studies Centre gave a talk on the 24th ASEAN Summit which was held in Nay Pyi Taw on 10 to 11 May 2014 under the theme "Moving forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperpous Community". 

A related ISEAS Perspective issue will soon be released.


For a listing of all past and present Perspective issues, visit this link.




ISEAS Senior Fellow Malcolm Cook shares his views with the Myanmar Times- "... these increased tensions had put Myanmar, as a first-time chair of ASEAN, in a difficult position but could also help deflect unwanted attention from other issues, such as Rakhine State."

Read the full article at the Myanmar Times at this link.




Our publication "The ASEAN Economic community: A Work In Progress" has been reviewed by the Asian-Pacific Economic Literature journal by the Australian National University.


To read the review, visit the Asian-Pacific Economic Literature at this link.

Get your copy today. The ASEAN Economic community: A Work In Progress can be purchased at this link




ASC's Head and former ASEAN Secretary General, Mr Rodolfo Severino was a speaker at the AIPR Symposium on Peace and Reconciliation Processes and Initiatives, held in Manila from 7-8 April 2014.

Find out more about the symposium at this link on the ASEAN Foundation's website.




ISEAS organised a seminar cum book launch on 26 February 2014 featuring the book based on a joint study done by ISEAS and the Asian Development Bank, The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work In Progress. The book is a stocktake of ASEAN's efforts towards the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, examining progress on such issues as non-tariff barriers, the investment climate and a survey done on businesses in the region and is intended not only for the policy and decision makers but the Business community as well.

The book’s four editors took part in the seminar which covered a brief review of the State of the AEC as well as business perceptions of the AEC.

The editors of the book were:
- Mr Rodolfo Severino,
Head, ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS

- Ms Sanchita Basu Das,
Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, ASEAN Studies centre, ISEAS

- Dr Jayant Menon,
Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank

- Dr Omkar Shrestha,

The Seminar Slides can be downloaded at this link.

The Seminar Panel. From left to right: Ms Sanchita Das, Dr Jayant Menon, Dr Omkar Shrestha, Mr Rodolfo Severino
P 20140226 105625a2


To purchase the book "The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work In Progress" click here or the thumbnail below.
AEC Work In Progress Cover



With mounting pressure on ASEAN and China to agree to a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, the Business Insider reports that the "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to work out rules to ease tensions after a fresh Chinese campaign of assertiveness in the region".

Termsak Chalermpalanupap, a political analyst at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS suggested that China was reluctant to be presented with a "pre-cooked" draft. "Many ambiguities remained about China's position. We still have to find out if they really want a legally binding code," Termsak added.


Read the full article from the Business Insider here.



ASC's Rodolfo Severino shares his views with the Straits Times on cultural divides as a key driver of unrest:

"WHAT do the current political unrest, economic divisions, social turmoil, outright insurgency or civil war in Thailand, the Philippines, Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and other Arab countries have in common?"


"...all of the current upheavals, some violent, others merely unsettling, can be best summarised as being caused by cultural divides or gaps. These occur between the forces of modernisation and those of tradition, or between the educated elite, mostly in the cities, and the teeming masses, mostly in the countryside."


Read the full article from the Straits Times here.



In this seminar organised by Brooking's, ASC's Sanchita Basu Das gave a presentation on "Understanding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership And the Trans-Pacific Partnership: AN ASEAN Perspective".


The presentation slides can be accessed here.

Courtesy of Brookings, you can also watch the entire seminar below.

 For more information, visit the official event page by Brookings here.


Related Video

The ASEAN Korea Centre (AKC) based in Seoul is centre that seeks to build an awareness of ASEAN. AKC also has a Trade & Investment-promotion arm as well as one for Culture and Tourism.


AKC visited the ASEAN Studies Centre in ISEAS on 7 February 2014 where both centres shared information on each other's intiatives. 


ASEAN is Korea's second largest region for trade, investment and construction. Trade has also continually improved since the signing of the 2009 ASEAN-korea FTA.

Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS Fellow and Lead Researcher (Economic Affairs) at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS shared her views with Focus ASEAN on the challenges for ASEAN and policy recommendations. Read the full article here.


Focus ASEAN is business magazine about economic affairs in the member states of ASEAN. For more information, visit Focus ASEAN's website at this link.

The ASEAN Studies Centre team led by Centre head Mr Rodolfo Severino met with senior Myanmar government officials in Nay Pyi Taw on 20-21 January 2014, to discuss issues and priorities of Myanmar’s ASEAN chairmanship this year.


Read more about the Workshop and ASC's other Projects and Activities here.

"The current upheavals, some violent, others unarmed, all unsettling, it seems can be best summarised as being caused by cultural divides or gaps between the forces of modernisation and those of tradition, between the educated elite mostly in the cities and the teeming masses mostly in the countrysides. The eruption of all this telegenic conflict heightens the perception of social inequality within nations, affecting social cohesion at a time when cohesion is needed most."

By the Head of ASC, Rodolfo Severino. Read the article at this link.


"Ms Moe Thuzar, a former Myanmar diplomat, is a Fellow of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore, where she is lead researcher at the ASEAN Studies Centre. Mizzima Business Weekly asked Daw Moe Thuzar about the benefits, challenges and opportunities for Myanmar in its role as chair of ASEAN."

Read the full article by Mizzima at this link.

Mr Rodolfo C Severino, Head, ASEAN Studies Centre shared with The Straits Times and Asia One on his views of the ASEAN Economic Community. He stressed looking at the bigger picture- to "look beyond 2015". 


The read the full article as published by AsiaOne, please click here.

Myanmar assumes the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014. As the ASEAN Chair is expected to be the epicentre of regional action, Myanmar’s ASEAN year will thrust the country into the limelight. But is it ready? The ASC's Lead Researcher for Socio-Cultural Affairs, Moe Thuzar, assesses both sides of the readiness coin and highlights issues that will shape the contours of Myanmar’s chairmanship year in ISEAS Perspective, first published on the 30th December 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.


The ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) organized a High-Level Workshop on "Understanding RCEP and TPP Agreements" on 25 October 2013 at ISEAS, Singapore.

Please click here for the Programme of the High-Level Workshop

Presentations by Mr. Steven C M Wong/ Ambassador David Taylor/ Dr. Biswajit Dhar/ Dr. Wang Yuzhu/ Dr. Yose Rizal Damuri/ Mr. Kim Soung-Eun/ Mr. Shinichiro Oka/ Mr. Subash Bose Pillai.




In January 2014, Myanmar will take over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), shining a spotlight on the country's progress since it began sweeping reforms in 2011. In this new NBR commentary, Moe Thuzar, the ASC's Lead Researcher for  Socio-Cultural Affairs assesses Myanmar's prospects as chair of

This commentary was produced by The National Bureau of Asia Research (NBR) with the support of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and originally was published on the NBR website (www.nbr.org). NBR retains all rights to this material in all languages. Copyright (c) The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR).


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The Seminar on "Developments in the TPP and Possible Outcomes" was delivered by Dr. Deborah K. Elms, Head of Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade and Negotiations and Senior Fellow of International Political Economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore on 19 September, 2013 at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

Please click here for the seminar summary report.



..."The political will is very high, but like any trade agreement there are domestic sectors for and against the deal..." The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das shares her view on the TPP Agreement with Bloomberg 4 October 2013.

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..."Although a lot of regional economic cooperation like TPP and RCEP was created, the scholar said Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)  still has a niche of its own in trade facilitation as a process that brings together both the political leaders and the private sectors, and both the United States and China"...The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das spoke in a recent interview with Asia Pacific Daily on 30 September 2013 on this issue.

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"... Despite the various ASEAN initiatives towards integration, progress needs to be accelerated further… Better connectivity within ASEAN is essential for linkages with other regions, such as East and South Asia, which will help ASEAN maintain its centrality in the evolving regional architecture...".  The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das discusses about this issue in the ISEAS Working Paper #3, October 2013.

Please click here to read the full paper.


The ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies invites applications for the position of Public Information & Communications Officer.

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Date: Friday, 13 September 2013

Ambassador David Carden has been requested to elaborate on his assessment of the ASEAN-U.S. dialogue partnership, which started in 1977, and to provide a preview of what to expect from the First ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan early next month.

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Seminar Notice

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"ASEAN Defence Ministers are on the verge of making a crucial policy decision on whether to start regular ADMM+1 meetings with the eight dialogue partners in the ADMM-Plus process... There is concern about whether the ADMM+1 dialogue will complicate ASEAN’s policy towards each of the dialogue partners"...

The ASC's Visiting Fellow Termsak Chalermpalanupap discusses about this in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 26 August, 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.

Malaysia’s decision to launch two cost-benefit studies may delay the completion of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which has been expected to be signed by the end of the year. The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das discusses about this issue in the article published by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, 20 August 2013.

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The Working Paper titled "The EU and ASEAN - In Search of A New Regional Paradigm" by Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, Director, EU Centre in Singapore, seeks to provide a comparative overview of regionalism in the EU and ASEAN, incorporates analysis of external forces and internal dynamics shaping the respective regional processes, sketches the global trends that could impact regional developments in Europe and Asia and examines whether both organisations would need a new approach or paradigm to maintain their relevance in this 21st century world.

To read the interview, please click here.


Through a media fellowship and research project funded by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) of Canada, journalists from ASEAN member countries worked throughout 2012 on stories that identify links between ASEAN policies and development issues in the region. The stories have been compiled into a book entitled "Reporting Development in ASEAN", published by the Inter Press Service (IPS) Asia-Pacific. The book was launched by a panel discussion on the book content as well as on the related development issues on 25 July, 2013 at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

For more information, please click here.


RCEP concluded its first round of negotiations, and the second round of negotiations is to be held on 24-27 September 2013 in Brisbane. The negotiations are expected to meet many economic and political obstacles. Realizing the benefits and expected outcomes will depend on addressing several challenges during the negotiation phase.

The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das discusses about the challenges in negotiating the RCEP Agreement in ISEAS Perspective, first published on the 12th August 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.


Emerging Southeast Asian nations need to pour $300 billion into transport links to help ease freight bottlenecks. That just got harder as the prospect of reduced Federal Reserve monetary stimulus pushes up borrowing costs. "The region has to improve infrastructure, including transport links, to sustain higher growth rates... It can’t rely on cheap funds from abroad as America looks to suck liquidity out of financial markets”, said by the ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das to Bloomberg on 7 August, 2013.

To read the interview, please click here.


U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David Carden announces his third Twitter Q&A session, the "USASEAN Twitter Town Hall” on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 . The Ambassador will be responding to questions related to ASEAN and his Mission’s work to support ASEAN. 

The event will be held at the following times:

12:30           Rangoon

13:00           Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Vientiane

14:00           Brunei, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore

To participate, follow the U.S. Mission to ASEAN on Twitter at @USMission2ASEAN, and tweet your questions using the hash tag #USASEAN.  You can also send your questions through Facebook. Questions may be submitted at any time, preferably earlier.  

The entire Q&A session will be posted to the U.S. Mission to ASEAN’s storify.com page immediately after the event. 

Through a media-fellowship and research project supported by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) of Canada, journalists from ASEAN member states have worked on stories that identify links between ASEAN policies and development issues in the region. The stories – which were featured in respective print media in the ASEAN countries – have been compiled into a book, “Reporting Development in ASEAN”, the contents of which will be further discussed and shared at the seminar. The book also contains the findings of the content analysis study about how ASEAN’s media report on ASEAN.

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"...Given the changing nature of the region’s political economic landscape, ASEAN will require a new economic community vision beyond 2015. Such a new vision, suggestively called AEC 2025, needs to be based on ASEAN’s own strengths and weaknesses... The new vision needs to address cross-cutting issues such as good governance, stronger institutions, and a transparent economic score­card..."

The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs, Sanchita Basu Das discusses about the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 8th July 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.

..."ASEAN nations 'have to show the outside world that we have put our house in order' in the process of maintaining its centrality". Citing the recently started negotiations of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN and its free trade agreement partners, the ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs and ISEAS Fellow Sanchita Basu Das said: "ASEAN should stick to its centrality so that the talks would not be ruled over by its bigger neighbours in terms of population and GDP...". To read Sanchita's interview with Xinhua on 1 July 2013, please click here.


"Southeast Asian countries have been managing existing or potential disputes in the South China Sea by relying on the principle of ‘non-use offorce’… A more constructive and forward-looking Code of Conduct (COC) amongst dis­puting parties in the South China Sea will be needed. ASEAN member-states and China have started discussing this officially..."

The ASC's Termsak Chalermpalanupap will discuss about this in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 10th June 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.

"Where is China in the TPP negotiations? ... Given China's position in the global economy and the fact that it is not a participation of the TPP negotiations, many academics have speculated that the TPP is an economic tool for the US to contain China's rise in East Asia...". The ASC's Lead Researcher for Economic Affairs and ISEAS Fellow Sanchita Basu Das discusses this issue in her article in the East Asia Forum published on 8 June 2013. To read the full article, please click here

"The rise of China's power and influence had for a long time been regarded as beneficent in general... However, as China's power and influence begin to be expressed through military might and growing assertiveness in its maritime claims, what was once regarded in Southeast Asia as a blessing is now looked upon by many as a threat... China will have to weigh the costs of its increasing interests and ambitions in Southeast Asia".

The Head of the ASC, Rodolfo Severino discusses about the rise of Chinese power and its impact on Southeast Asia in ISEAS Perspective, first published on 27th May 2013.

To read the full article, please click here.

ASEAN Roundtable 2013 : Mid Term Review of the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint and Political Cooperation Beyond 2015


This year the ASEAN Roundtable of the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS will focus on the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC). The APSC, one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community has been largely overlooked, both in the academic world and in the international media.

The ASEAN Roundtable 2013 is designed to be an informal mid-term review of the implementation of the APSC Blueprint with the aim to understand the significance of the APSC Blueprint and evaluate where the APSC is heading beyond 2015. About 20 ASEAN practitioners, diplomats, academic experts, and journalists have been invited to present papers and discuss pertinent issues at the ASEAN Roundtable 2013.

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Invitation letter (by Invitation Only)