Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to promote political and economic cooperation and regional stability.

Today, ASEAN encompasses 10 South East Asian countries with the addition of: Brunei Darussalam (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos (1997), Burma/Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).

The population of the ASEAN countries comprises close to 600 million people. ASEAN collectively generates a GDP of some 1 500 billion USD.

The ASEAN Economic Community's Blueprint (2006) sets out an ambitious schedule for achieving an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. To date, important steps have been taken towards that goal. In particular, tariffs on intra- ASEAN trade are being progressively eliminated or reduced.

The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, the Political-Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint approved at the summit level, and, together with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan Phase II (2009-2015), they form the Roadmap for and ASEAN Community 2009-2015.

ASEAN has negotiated a number of free trade agreements, thus giving preferential access to businesses from Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. In addition, individual ASEAN members have negotiated a significant number of bilateral free trade agreements with third countries.

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