Outcomes and recommendations from the events that the Centre organises are published (by ISEAS) as monographs, booklets and reports. The ASC Report Series, started in 2008, are provided to the policy, academic and business communituies in the ASEAN region and beyond. They are also shared online.



The Political Economy of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreements: An ASEAN Perspective


ASEAN has been active in the formation of regional trade agreements (RTAs) since the early 1990s. Besides its own integration initiatives like the ASEAN Free Trade Area and the ASEAN Economic Community, ASEAN has also enacted five plus 1 FTAs with China, South Korea, Japan, India and Australia-New Zealand, making ASEAN an FTA hub for broader Asian region. Realizing the challenges of multiple FTAs, a decision was reached in November 2011 to establish a comprehensive RTA, covering the five ASEAN+1 FTAs under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) framework.
Another RTA that has attracted lot of attention lately is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), led by the United States.
Despite the similar objective of increasing economic cooperation, the two RTAs differ from each other. RCEP is expected to accommodate the development differences of the member countries, while TPP is said to have a more demanding set of commitments.
Both RCEP and TPP are perceived to have strategic roles in the Asia-Pacific region. TPP is a component of the U.S.'s Asian 'pivot' strategy , in reaction to Asia's economic rise and integration efforts. TPP also can be viewed as a consequence of the limited integration progress under APEC. In addition many have argued that TPP is a containment strategy aimed at China. RCEP is expected to reinforce ASEAN 'centrality' in the wider Asia-Pacific regional architecture.
The ongoing negotiations for both RCEP and TPP face complex challenges, and are expected to encounter difficulties to conclude.


The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress

Editors: Sanchita Basu Das, Jayant Menon, Rodolfo C Severino, Omkar Lal Shrestha

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. The editors include a distinguished former Secretary General of ASEAN and the leading academic analyst of ASEAN economic cooperation. They and their co-editors are to be congratulated for soliciting contributions from an outstanding and diverse group of authors, and then adding their highly authoritative commentary and analysis. A must read for anybody seriously interested in ASEAN.

AEC Main Publications Page

ASEAN Economic Community:  Performance and Perception

Editor:  Sanchita Basu Das

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 progress towards the milestones of the AEC Blueprint.  The overall message of the book is that even though ASEAN may miss some of its integration goals by 31 December 2015, it will certainly deliver some of the key initiatives - tariff elimination, establishing the ASEAN Single Window, laying the foundation of the regional investment initiative, advancing tourism services, moving ahead with ASEAN connectivity and realisation of ASEAN+1 free trade agreements.  AEC's goal of forming an equitable and competitive regional economy will continue to be a work in progress.  AEC 2015 is going to be a historic milestone that will raise ASEAN's profile and will help the region to maintain its centrality in the international community.

Enhancing ASEANs Connectivity

Enhancing ASEAN's Connectivity

Editor:  Sanchita Basu Das

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.  In 2010, ASEAN adopted the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), which looked at physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.  It pinned down fifteen priority projects which can potentially transform the ASEAN region, providing the conditions for a single market and production base.  But MPAC is an expensive initiative, and funding remains a major challenge.  The private sector needs to be actively involved as a number of infrastructure projects identified in the MPAC are lacking substantial investment.  This book looks at the current state of ASEAN's physical connectivity and challenges in building a better infrastructure.  It contains a collection of chapters that discuss specific issues pertaining to each kind of physical connectivity - transportation infrastructure, telecom connectivity, ICT and energy infrastructure.  The book 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

In 2012, Russia assumes the Chairmanship of APEC, and is keen to build on its memberships of both the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Russia is geographically and historically part of Asia and the Asia Pacific, and has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since 1996.  Still, the obstacles os distance and languages have led ASEAN and Russia to know and interact little between both sides.  As growth poles in the world economy, there is much benefit in greater interaction between their rich economies.  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.  Representatives from academia, and the pubilc and private sectors offered insights on topics including geopolitics, bilateral relations, business and economics, culture and education.  This is a timely book that affords the reader insights into where ASEAN-Russia relations currently stands and suggests how thay can improve and move forward.


 Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015

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

Editor:  Sanchita Basu Das

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. Currently, with countries having varying considerations towards complete liberalization, protectionism still persists in certain sectors of the economies. Lots of work needs to be done in addressing the domestic reforms, the gaps in infrastructure, the lack of human resources and adequate institutions. Moreover, it is the businesses whose decisions and actions will help the region to achieve an effective integration. The policymakers have vital roles to play in raising the engagement of the private businesses in ASEAN matters. As time is limited, one way for ASEAN is to focus on "core" elements of integration and implement them earnestly in the shortest possible time. The rest of the process, as envisaged in the AEC blueprint, can follow beyond 2015. 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

The ASEAN Regional Forum

Author:  Rodolfo C Severino

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. It traces the ARF's origins, the efforts to move it from confidence building to "preventive diplomacy", and the forces that hold them back, analysing the strategic environment that both constrains the ARF and makes it essential. The book discusses the question of participation, describes the numerous cooperative activities that the participants undertake, and deals with the issue of institutionalization. Finally, it assesses the ARF as a forum and a process on its own terms. The book is written by the former ASEAN Secretary-General and former senior official who was involved in the ARF's early years.

Life After the Charter

ASEAN: Life After the Charter

Editor:  S Tiwari

"With the completion of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN needs to fully appreciate and work out the issues connected with its implementation. It is also important for ASEAN and its business sector to understand and implement the two newly completed key integration instruments (the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement and the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement 2009) and the business enhancing initiatives envisaged under them. Both areas of work have taken on added urgency in view of ASEAN's goal of putting in place an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. This is the first book which examines both the above issues, the problems related to them and possible solutions. Edited by Mr S Tiwari, Lead Researcher for ASEAN-related legal affairs, the book is based on a workshop organised by the ASEAN Studies Centre, in July 2009, bringing together representatives from the government, the ASEAN Secretariat, the private sector and academia. Additional features of the book include chapters of relevance to the various stakeholders of ASEAN: miscellany of trade issues (the business sector and trade officials), policy issues (Government policy makers) and simple and succinct summaries of each chapter (ASEAN public in general)." 

Myanmar: Life After Nargis

Authors:  Pavin Chachavalpongpun & Moe Thuzar

On May 2-3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar, causing some 130,00 deaths and rendering more than two million people in the Ayeyawaddy delta homeless and without recourse to relief and recovery needs. After the ensuing confusion in the media and international circles over Myanmar's initial delay in responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by Cyclone Nargis, ASEAN served as facilitator, mediator and convenor and coordinated international and regional efforts to assist Myanmar respond to the cyclone's impact. The unique circumstances surrounding Myanmar provided a window for unprecedented mechanisms for working together among the different international, regional and local groups involved. This also led to a tripartite cooperation effort among the Government of Myanmar, the United Nations and ASEAN in the context of international humanitarian assistance and disaster management.

Through June-Dec 2008, Centre researchers Pavin Chachavalpongpun and Moe Thuzar documented ASEAN's role in helping Myanmar respond to Nargis. A preliminary report was presented to the 14th ASEAN Summit in February 2009. The final report, entitled "Myanmar: Life After Nargis" was launched by ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan on 20 July 2009, at the 42nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Phuket, Thailand. Dr Surin also launched the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force (AHTF) report "A Bridge to Recovery: ASEAN's Response to Cyclone Nargis", detailing the work carried out by ASEAN in humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery in Myanmar.