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9 - Effectiveness of Initiative for ASEAN Integration

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

Vo Tri Thanh
Affiliation:
Central Institute of Economic Management
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Summary

I. Introduction

In December 1997, after years of expansion and cooperation, the ASEAN adopted its Vision 2020, emphasizing the objective of “… transforming ASEAN into a stable, prosperous, and highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities”. In October 2003, the ASEAN member states agreed on the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2020, with the three pillars of the political-security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community. To accelerate the realization of the Vision, in 2007 the ASEAN leaders expressed their commitment to establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 as a single market and production base, and later on signed the AEC Blueprint as an action plan for advancing the AEC. Within such a context, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was launched in 2000, seeking to narrow intra-regional development gap by providing assistance to the CLMV in accelerating their integration and development.

With such a big move, ASEAN member countries certainly have a sizeable workload. There remain challenges and impediments to each country and the region as a whole, the most pressing of which lies in whether the less developed members can catch up with more advanced ones. Yet the progress of ASEAN so far, particularly in amalgamating themselves as a single block in negotiating and implementing free trade agreements (FTAs) with other major trading partners, brought about hopes for in-time realization of the AEC goal.

There are several notes regarding the implementation of IAI. First, the scope of priority areas to be addressed by the IAI has been expanded. In the IAI Work Plan for the first phase (2002–08), priority is given initially to only four areas, namely infrastructure, human resources development, information and communication technology (ICT), and capacity building for regional economic integration. In 2005, this Work Plan was extended to cover seven areas, with the three additional areas being tourism, poverty and quality of life, and general coverage projects. The Work Plan for the second phase (i.e. 2009–15) retains all the seven priority areas. Both phases have emphasized the focus on public sector capacity building. However, the first Work Plan also contributed significantly in the area of ICT, while the second one currently supports projects in infrastructure development, regional economic integration, and tourism.

Type
Chapter
Information
ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard
Performance and Perception
, pp. 182 - 203
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2013

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