Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -

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Nov 8, 2013 (4 years and 4 months ago)



Letter from Chair: Page 3

Position List: Page 4

Committee General Information: Page 5

Topic 1

How to facilitate Human Rights and Democracy in
): Page 9

Topic 1 (Bloc Positions): Page 18

Topic 2 (How to establish the ASEAN Economic Community): Page

Topic 2 (Bloc Positions): Page 21
23, 25, 26

Extra Sources (Topic 1+2): P
age 28


Greetings Delegates!

Welcome to ASEAN! My name is Kevin Lee, and I am one of your co
chairs for
this committee. As a Senior who has been doing this for the majority of my high school
career, I hope you all come to appreciate the
creativity, intellect, and fun that I’ve come
to associate with MUN. This is my first time chairing a committee, so in a way, I will just
be as nervous and anxious as some of you will be. One thing I want to stress is that
everybody, both veterans and novi
ces, should embrace the experiences that Model United
Nations has to offer. I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone because I promise
it gets easier. I sincerely look forward to meeting each and every one of you!

My name is Angel Ding, and I am y
our other co
chair for this committee. I am
currently a junior, and it is my first year participating in MUN. Though this has been my
first year, I have really enjoyed the opportunities it has given me to discuss exciting
international issues and work toge
ther with my peers to create possible resolutions. As a
new MUN participant, I know how intimidating it is at first to speak in front of everyone,
but being able to convey your opinions and suggestions is really one of the most
rewarding parts of this expe
rience. Therefore, I urge you to really try your hardest to get
outside of your comfort zone and contribute your ideas
it will be more fun that way!

We both look forward to what will surely be a stimulating and fun evening!
ASEAN will be debating the stru
ggle for human rights and democracy in Burma
(Myanmar), as well as the attempt by ASEAN to create an economic union between its
members. We strongly urge you to read the background guide thoroughly and also utilize
your own research as much as possible. Yo
u will need to write one position paper for
each topic to help you understand the stance of your country

(and to get credit for
attendance as well as eligibility for awards).
The standard position paper typically has
three paragraphs. The first paragraph s
hould contain the legal basis of the issue. The
second paragraph should have what your country is currently doing about that issue. The
third paragraph is the most important, because this is where you state what your country
intends to do about the issue.
For reference,
sample position paper is posted on the
HMUNC website. If you have any questions on how to write one, you can always email
us! Position papers are not only a way to research background information but also a way
to solidify your position be
fore committee.

We encourage all our delegates to be respectful, engaging, and professional.
Although we understand that ASEAN does not typically take action regarding issues in
the region, we encourage you to push the boundaries of what ASEAN would normal
ly do.

encourage you all to be brave, creative, and most importantly, have fun. We look
forward to seeing you all there!

From your Co

Angel Ding and Kevin Lee


Position List

Member States










Brunei Darussalam

Observer Nations


United Kingdom

South Korea







East Timor

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea







Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Motto: “One Vision, One Identity, One


What is ASEAN?

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a political, geographic,

economic organization of ten

countries in Southeast Asia. ASEAN was first created as a
means of promoting economic development, regional security, and cultura
l development
among its members. Similar to other blocs in the wo
rld such as the European Union and
North A
tlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),

ASEAN hopes that individual countries
can benefit through unity.

How was it founded?

On August 8, 1967, ASEAN was established under the ASEAN Declaration (also
the Bangkok Declaration)

by the five founding Southeast Asian nations (Indonesia,


Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) at a summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

they pledged to join together to promote a peaceful, prosperous regional
community that would aid each other in setting up economic progress, social growth, and
ultural development. The other five

countries (Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Papua New
Guinea, and B
urma) joined the union in the years following, making up
the current
member states. In 1976, the member states signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation
in Southeast Asia (TAC), in which member states promised not to interfere in the internal
or threaten the independence of the other states. This was given the name “The
ASEAN Way.” However, the most important development came on ASEAN’s 30th
anniversary, when leaders created the ASEAN Vision 2020, where they created the
common goal

the econom
ic community. The region
al union

was further cemented by
the official creation of ASEAN’s charter, which gave member states their rights and
established the ASEAN regional body’s structure.

The ASEAN Logo: Each stalk represents a different country, and the colors


Peace and Unity

How does ASEAN work?

One of their most important discussion topics so far has
been the creation of a unified
ASEAN community

the integration of the regional bloc

into the ASEAN
Economic Community. ASEAN meets twice

every year in order to discuss important
regional issues. ASEAN does not hav
e the power to set up sanctions

or to fo
rce a country
to adopt a region
wide procedure. Instead, it is more of a diplomatic forum that facilitates


talks between countries on
border issues and regional problems such

as migration,
drug trafficking, and piracy.

Together, the countries can suggest region wide collective
actions, but in re
ality, ASEAN’s powers are restricted
. As a result, it will be up to you, as
delegates, to either suggest (everyone) or vote (only ASEAN nations) to increase
ASEAN’s power to enforce the suggestions within your proposals.

Composition of committee


10 official member states:

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand,

Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Papua
New Guinea, and Burma

And 17 observer states that will also be participating in the forum:

USA, South Korea, Japan, China, Australia, New Z
ealand, India, Pakistan

Canada, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, East Timor, Papua New
Guinea, Bangladesh

All countries will have the power to offer suggestions, persuade the ASEAN nations, and
propose support for other ideas, but only ASEA
N nations will be able to vote on whether
to implement it region wide or individually.

How will you debate this?

The ASEAN committee will debate information with regular parliamentary procedure.
What that entails is this:


Committee starts with an
agenda d
. This means that you use “motions” to
suggest topics for discussion. People will be able to speak about what they want
to focus on during debate, and afterwards everyone will be able to vote on which
topic to choose.


After deciding on a topic as a co
mmittee, we start general debate in the form of a


(a set list where speakers sign up to talk about their views on the
topic for a specific amount of time and go in order) or a
“moderated caucus,”


(free forum where anyone can talk, and the
order of the speakers is not set and the
speaking time is shorter).


Often, after debating for a while, people can motion for an
,” (where delegates can talk to other nations to find out more about their
views and collaborate on suggesti
ons. This comes in the form of documents called
“working papers,”

where your suggestions will be written down in a specific
format (shown in the delegate guide).


When people feel like they have finished debating a topic, they can move on by
motioning to m
ove to
voting procedure
. Here, only ASEAN nations will be able
to officially vote to implement measures specified in the various working papers.
Afterwards, delegates can motion to start the next topic.


Topic 1:
How to facilitate
Human Rights and Democracy in Burma/Myanmar

Country Profile:

Population: 55,167,330 (2013 est.)

Capital City: Nay Pyi Taw

Major Languages: Burmese, various ethnic languages

Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam,

Unit of Currency: Kyat

Exports: Prawns, Fish, Oil & Gas, Beans, Timber


After being a province of Britain throughout the 19th century and being occupied
by Japan during the onset of World War II, Burma became independent in 1948.
However, a military coup in 1962 led to
almost 50 years of existence as an isolated state,
with the

(a military group that governs by force) holding totalitarian rule and
committing numerous human rights violations.

These human rights violations consisted
of many actions that broke the te
rms and rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

BBC. "Burma Profile."
. BBC, 14 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 May 2013.



BBC. "Burma Overview."
. BBC, 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 3 May 2013.



) lists basic
freedoms and ethical values that all human beings are entitled to. The violations
committed by the Junta include repressing
basic political freedoms
, cracking down on
civilians, and forcing child labor. In recent years, however, democrat
ic progress has been
made in Burma. The Junta relinquished control in 2011 to a civilian government. The
current president,
Thein Sein,

has made several leaps toward change, earning Burma new
formal international relations, foreign aid, and formal recognit
ion for the new
government from countries such as the United States and organizations such as ASEAN
(which Burma joined in 1997). Although Burma has made significant progress socially,
economically, and politically and has been recognized by the internatio
nal community,
there is still a long journey ahead.

Key Terms

A political and economic policy in which the government is in charge of the
means of production, which means that all industry is nationalized (publicly owned).



When countries extend power and influence through both political and
military means (colonization)

Burmese Way to Socialism:

nationalizes the economy

forms a single party state under the Socialist Program Party

bans independent
newspapers, starts government censorship

An action (usually in the form of penalties and fines) taken by the
international community to condemn a nation. They provide incentive for a country to
obey international laws. (e.g.: economic sanctions
could prevent trade with a certain

8888 Uprising:

An outbreak of protests and demonstrations across Burma in response to
the growing tyranny of the junta.


A military group that controls a government through force


a person who is

opposed to a governmental policy



A military takeover of the government


Basic Political freedoms:
natural rights granted to every human (ex. the right to vote, the
right to free speech, the right to assemble, etc.)

Key People/Groups


Aung San
: Aung Sang was a nationalist who fought for independence from
Japan. He was later assassinated in 1947. Aung Sang is generally considered the founder
of modern Burma.

: Anti Fascist People’s Freedom League: a national communist party that fi
governed Burma.

General Ne Win
: Led a military coup in 1962 and took control of Burma. He
implemented the Burmese Way to Socialism. He founded the Burma Socialist
Programme Party and ruled for 26 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi:

The daughter of General Aung San, she is the leader of the National
League for Democracy, firmly in opposition to the military junta in Burma. She was
placed under house arrest by the military in 1989, and became a world famous political
prisoner. She ear
ned the Nobel Peace Prize. She was released from house arrest in 2010
and has since been elected to the reformed parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi, longtime political prisoner and advocate for democracy in Burma

National League for Democracy:
A Burmese pol
itical party that dominated the
parliamentary election in 1990 but was never recognized by the Junta. The chairperson,


Aung San Suu Kyi, was placed under house arrest by the Junta. The party won many
seats in the 2012 election. The NLD advocates democracy
and human rights.


a nationality in Burma consisting of 5.53% of the population. Generally


a group of about 800,000 Muslims, forming one of the most persecuted
minorities in the world. The junta caused many of the Rohingya to f
lee Burma.

Thein Sein:
The current president of Burma, sworn into office in 2011 after the Junta
relinquished control. He used to be a general under the Junta but was always considered
to be a reformist. Started democratization in Burma by releasing polit
ical prisoners,
allowing labor unions, allowing peaceful protests, allowing freedom of the press, and
trying to resolve ethnic tensions between the Rakhine and the Rohingya.

Tensions turn violent between the Rakhine and the Rohingya

Key Events




Burma gained independence from

under Prime Minister U Nu

News. "Encouraging Myanmar's democratic reforms."
United Nations
. UN, July

2012. Web. 3 May 2013. <


"Timeline of Burmese History."
. BBC, 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 3

May 2013.




(Anti Fascist People’s Freedom League)
party splits


General Ne Win

leads a military coup to overthrow U
Nu’s party. He abolishes the federal system and initiates
his program, the “
Burmese Way to Socialism
”. This
combined Soviet central planning and the government’s
own superstitious beliefs.


The constitution of the

Socialist Republic of the Union of
Burma is adopted. Burma is being ruled under a one party
system under the
Burma Socialist Program Party
During this period of time, Burma becomes one of the
most impoverished countries in the world.


Student protes
ts in Rangoon University were broken up
with crushing military force


8888 Uprising

breaks out across Burma started by
college students. Marches, demonstrations, and protests
lead to thousands of civilian deaths by military forces.


Aung San Suu Kyi
is placed under house arrest by the
military. She will remain there for the next 21 years.


After thousands of people are killed in government
protests, the

State Law and Order Restoration Council

is formed. This council declares mart
ial law and arrests
thousands. They also rename the country “Burma” into


Burma is admitted to
. The State Law and Order
Restoration Council is renamed into the
State Peace and
Development Council


The military and
Shan rebels

fight along the Burmese


New Prime Minister
Khin Nyunt
begins drafting a new
“roadmap to democracy”


Anti government protests continue, especially by
Buddhist monks. The military rounds up thousands of
monks, as well as cracksdown on prot


The Cyclone Nargis hits Burma, killing over a hundred
thousand. The government is accused of blocking foreign
humanitarian aid.



The Junta changes the country’s name, flag, and national
anthem back to the original


First elections in nearly 20 years, the Junta claims that
this marks the transition from military to civilian

Aung San is released from house arrest.


President Thein Sein is sworn in, promising reforms. He
delivers many sweeping
changes in the years to come.


Violent ethnic tensions continue between Rohingya
Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists.

Human Rights Issues:

Political Rights:

From the very beginning of its time as an independent nation, Burma has
experienced widespread po
litical turmoil in the form of various coups led by oppressive
regimes and dictators. These political systems have denied
basic political freedoms

millions of Burmese citizens. From its large amount of corruption to its rejection of free
speech and exp
ression, the Burmese government has completely withheld rights in efforts
to eliminate
and remain in power.

A government worker’s marks on Burmese newspaper, denoting what is acceptable to publish and what isn’t.

General Ne Win’s coup of 196
2 marked the beginning of almost three decades of
government censorship, persecution, and brutality.

As the citizens were restricted by the
regime’s extreme laws, discontent grew along with the economic downturn caused by the
socialist plans. These tensio
ns finally came to a breaking point in 1988, when the

occurred, and the resulting military action caused some of the most severe acts
of oppression committed by a government. Over 3,000 protesters, mainly monks and
students, were gunned down
in the streets of the capitol, as the military overthrew the


Bajoria, Jayshree. "Understanding Myanmar."
Council on Foreign Relations
. Council on Foreign
Relations, 10 July 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.


government and established a tyrannical regime.

The following year, all political
dissenters, such as
Aung San Suu Kyi,

were arrested and detained. In 1990, elections
were held, and by an 82 per
cent majority,
Aung San Suu Kyi’
s party, the National
League for Democracy (NLD), won in a landslide. However, the military junta refused to
acknowledge the victory and instead drove all elected NLD officials out of the country or
jailed them. The regime r
emained in power and suppressed all attempts of reform. The
government randomly would be able to perform unreasonable searches and seizures and
monitor all telephone and internet activity to search for any sign of dissent. From the
years of 1989 to 2004, m
ore than 1,300 political prisoners were convicted and arrested
under corrupt, unfair trials for using means of peaceful protest against the government

While in jail, many were subjected to torture and cruel, neglectful treatment that
led to numer
ous people dying. As of 2012, there are still 311 political prisoners being
held in jails unfairly.

In 2008, a new constitution was passed, but numerous
humanitarian groups claimed that the ratification process was completely rigged. It also
attempted to
disenfranchise (deny voting rights) to certain groups by providing a
stipulation that those in certain religious and ethnic groups, as well as those considered
“destitute,” were prohibited from voting.

These fixed elections continued even in 2010,
when a new parliament was established, but the elections resulted in the military regime’s
favored parties winning numerous spots, exhibiting obvious signs of election fraud.

The government also censors the
media from news to forms of art such as
literature and film. Media censorship includes government criticism, bad news, domestic
issues, and international conflicts. Furthermore, the government has an official body
dedicated to censorship, the Press Scrutin
y and Registration Division that still exists

The government controls all publications and broadcasts, only reporting on the
actions and new programs of the military and generals.

Social Issues:

Ethnic & religious tensions:

In a country with a population upwards of 55 million,
there are over 150 ethnic groups, with almost 90 percent of the population being

However, many of these small ethnic groups follow different
religions, such as Islam, Christianity, and Hindu
ism. The majority of these groups
have entered into conflict with the Burmese government in efforts to gain
independence or because of religious tensions after Buddhism was declared the


Kurlantzick, Joshua. "Will Democracy Ta
ke Root in Myanmar?"
Latest and Breaking News |

The National
. Abu Dhabi Media, 23 June 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.


"Amnesty International Calls on Authorities in Myanmar to Release All Prisoner of Conscience."
Amnesty International | Worki
ng to Protect Human Rights
. Amnesty International, 16 Nov. 2004. Web. 10
Apr. 2013.


"Myanmar: Final Push on Political Prisoners Needed."
Refworld | The Leader in Refugee Decision
. UNHCR, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.


Bajoria, Jayshree.


"Burma Profile

BBC News
. British Broadcasting Company, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 16 Apr.


Felden, Esther. "Ethnic Conflict in Myanmar."
. Deutsche Welle, 27 Mar.
2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.


state religion. Tensions have also resulted because of the exploitatio
n and
discrimination of ethnic minorities at the hands of the indigenous Burman
(Bamar) population, which forms the majority 68 percent of the population and
controls the government.

They have been forced into labor, treated as lower
class, deprived of th
eir right to vote, and have been victims of crop destruction
that often displaces them.



are perhaps one of the biggest examples of
government persecution in Burma. In 1982, a citizenship law was passed,
revoking their citizen status
. As a result, because they are technically
less,” and they are not bound by the same laws as other citizens are
and are therefore prime targets for labor exploitation at the hands of the
government. After the regime took power, hundreds of thousand
s have
become refugees and escaped to neighboring countries. In recent months,
previously dormant tensions have broken out among the Rohingya and the
Rakhine Buddhists in the Arakan state in Northern Burma.

The Rakhine
Buddhists, as the primary aggressors
, launched a massive movement for
ethnic cleansing, in order to remove the Rohingya. They burned homes
and mosques, destroyed villages, and drove Rohingya families out.

Though some Rohingya groups formed to fight back, they were extremely
outnumbered and
often did not make much of an impact. As a result,
thousands of Rohingya have had to flee to UN refugee camps and have
attempted to gain entrance to other countries. However, they have often
been denied entry and sent back. This conflict has quickly evolve
d into
one of the worst humanitarian crises, yet the government is doing little to
stop it.


are a Buddhist group found in Northeastern Burma and form the
second largest ethnic group (9 percent of population). They originally
joined Burma with the
promise that they would receive some measure of
rule. However, this never occurred, and as a result, several resistance
groups formed to fight for independence. The government has conducted
several army raids on Shan villages and has forcibly driven g
roups of Shan
out of their villages in recent years.


Beech, Hannah. "A Closer Look at Bu
rma's Ethnic Minorities." Breaking News,
Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos
. Time Inc., 30 Jan. 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.


Beech, Hannah.


Beech, Hannah.


Kurlantzick, Joshua. "Under Fire: The Savage Persecution of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya."
Council on Foreign Relations
. Council on Foreign Relations, 8 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.


Kurlantzick, Joshua.


Kurlantzick, Joshua.



are a Christian group living within the mountains near the
border between India and Burma. They have formed insurgency groups to
fight against the ruling regime, who they argue discriminate ag
ainst them
because of their race. Many have escaped to the neighboring India but are
almost always sent back to their tormentors.


people form another group fighting for their independence
from the junta. They form the third largest ethnic group w
ithin Burma and
have a mixture of both Christians and Buddhists.

Occasional skirmishes
still happen against the junta, but internal conflict has also torn them apart.
They live on the border between Thailand and Burma and have been
exploited through force
d labor and relocation at the hands of the


also live in northern Burma, where they, after fighting a
decades long war for independence, have signed a ceasefire agreement in
1994. Because of its proximity to the Chinese border, they a
re often
exploited by the government and sold into human trafficking or labor

Women and Children:
Burmese women and children living in ethnic territories
are often forced to work in harsh labor and military projects.

During military
offensives b
y the military against rebels, women and children are often forced to
carry supplies through the front lines. Many women end up being raped by
soldiers, while even more children are forced to become child soldiers. Burma
suffers the world’s highest number
of child soldiers and forced laborers. Even
women and children outside these ethnic cities suffer insufficient medical and
social attention. Just as important is the high dropout rate in many schools
because of high schooling expenses, prompting children t
o forgo education in
favor of child labor.


Kurlantzick, Joshua.


urlantzick, Joshua.


Human Rights Foundation of Monland. "Women and Children's Rights Project."

. Human Rights Foundation of Monland, n.d. Web. 3 May 2013.



Human Rights Foundation of Monland.


A Burmese Child Soldier

Lack of healthcare availability:
Burma currently has the world’s second worst
healthcare system. Because its economy has been so devastated by the
mismanagement of resources, socializ
ation, and a lack of government funding,
healthcare quality is horrible. For diseases, there is little treatment or none at all.
More than 25 percent of the population lacks access to safe drinking water, and on
top of that, there is no treatment for disea
ses that arise like malaria. The epidemic
of HIV/AIDS is also going untreated, as only a miniscule two percent of Burma’s
GDP is even going towards healthcare overall.

Questions To Consider

How can ASEAN intervene to improve human rights in Burma?

What e
conomic assistance can ASEAN lend to improve infrastructure and

What actions can ASEAN recommend to the UN in regards to Burma’s

Should ASEAN countries continue to hold their non
interference policies?

To what extent should
foreign intervention be necessary in the Burma reform
process (intervening in elections, ethnic conflicts, legal system, etc.)?

Bloc Positions:


ASEAN has generally practiced a non
interventionist policy against the
problems and tensions found in Burma, as they have not wanted to threaten relations with
, which contains
abundant resources. However, the international community has
frowned upon

ASEAN’s “soft” approach to the ongoing conflict and has condemned
ASEAN’s lack of action. Therefore, we encourage you to step outside of their inactive
roles! How can

guide human rights reform and democracy in Burma and take action?

Be reminded
he countries inside ASEAN are different too, giving

them separate
positions on Burma.

Some unique characteristics include:

Thailand shares a border with Burma (concerns about refugees, cross
border ethnic
tensions, etc.)


Bajoria, Jayshree.


Some countries like Indonesia an
d Singapore see booming economic success, while
others like Laos and Cambodia are extremely poor (would affect plans of trade sanctions
on Burma)

Laos and Vietnam are socialist nations.


Each country has its own unique relationship with the US and with B
urma. Please look
into them!

European Union/USA:

The European Union is a strong supporter of democracy and
human rights. The approach of the European Union is two pronged: heavy sanctions on
e oppressive Burmese government

and abundant humanitarian a
id to the needy
population. These sanctions are kno
wn as “targeted sanctions,”

which means they are
aimed at specific leaders of the military as well as specific industries. The EU supports
recent d
emocratic developments by Burma

and has begun the process
of trading and
investment with the country, as well as lifting sanctions. The United States mainly
supports the ideologies of the EU. Obama has commended the recent reforms

and has
funneled American foreign aid to help develop Burma
. Countries in this bloc

focus on how to balance harsh economic

sanctions with

supporting the new democratic
reforms that Burma has

. You should decide on the “carrot or stick” approach in
reforming Burma.


Historically, China has been one of Burma’s strongest allies. Between them, they
have signed a treaty of peace and non
aggression in

the late 1950s, and since then
have signed numerous trade agreement
s. When Burma’s military regime

took over, China
as one of the only countries

sought open relations with, and as a result, China’s
policies have been a major influence in the development of the country in recent decades.
Trade between the two countries is mutually beneficial, as the largest industries

each trade ex
tensively, amounting to almost two

billion dollars. The Chinese government
also supplies Burma with its largest source of foreign military funding and advice. In the
earlier part of the 2000s, China also opposed UN resolutions to inter
vene and enforce
. However, with this in mind, they have also been less and less wi
to support Burmese action

and look to stabilize the government. Burma, on the other
hand, has looked to be

ess and less dependent on China

and ha
s started to trade
more with Japan, India, and other ASEAN nations.


Russia has also long been another large supporter of Burma. Even today, Russia
rejects UN resolutions to enforce harsher
sanctions on Burma

and instead would rather
resort to dip
lomatic talks, especially to protect its own interests (their trade and


relations with Burma).

Topic 2:
How to Establish the ASEAN Economic Community


The Idealistic Goal for the ASEAN: Unity

Key Terms:

ASEAN Economic Community (AEC):
The collective name for a cohesive integrated
economy of ASEAN members

Trade integration:

The process of increasing a country’s participation in global trade.


Wealth owned in form of money or assets

Investment integration:

The process of increasi
ng a country’s foreign investment

Service sector:

The sector of the economy that is neither manufacturing nor agricultural
(such as restaurants)

AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area):

An ASEAN trade bloc that supports local

Uniform tariff:

ng different tariffs (taxes on imports)

Market economy:

Economy where decisions are made through the state of the market
(laissez fair) and not a centralized authority such as the government

Command economy:

An economy with heavy government regulations, t
he opposite of a
market economy

Custom union:

A trade bloc that promotes free trade with external tariffs.

The practice of regional systems of economic, political, or social
constructs rather than national ones. ASEAN is an example of regional

Foreign direct investment (FDI):

Investing in foreign countries’ businesses


a system of government
with one person in total power


Otherwise known as the Human

Development Index,
measures a countries level of
development by their educat
ion, life expectancy, and income.

GDP per capita:

A measure the economic output of a country per person, which also
provides a measure of a country’s wealth

Emerging economy
: A developing country that is growing and industrializing rapidly.

Overview of
ASEAN and the Economic Community


The Association of Southeastern Asian Nations is an organization of ten countries
that share geopolitical and economic ties. They aim to foster cultural development,
promote economic growth, and create diplomatic ways to so
lve regional disputes. One of
its largest aims is to establish a unified economic community that can provide a flexible
way for the Southeast Asian countries to meet the rapid developments of today's global
economy. In 1997, ASEAN met and adopted the ASEAN

Vision 2020, where the nations
committed themselves to creating a “stable, prosperous, and highly competitive ASEAN
economic region in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investments, and freer
flow of
, equal economic development, and r
educed poverty and socioeconomic
differences” before 2020.

In 2003, ASEAN countries’ leaders met again and signed the
Bali Concord II, which established their goal to create an economic community by

They met again in 2007 after another summit of le
aders, which resulted in the
ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, a set of clearly outlined goals and their
deadlines, which would act as their steps to creating the economic community. This
economic community has been their most important project, and is a

highly ambitious
one. There is still much left to be done, and there are many steps that still need to be
taken to fully integrate all of the different economies found in ASEAN’s member states.

Economies of ASEAN Member States


GDP per Capita

Human Development
Index (HDI)

HDI Ranking


$ 60,900


18 (Very High Human


$ 50,500


30 (Very High Human


$ 16,900


64 (High Human


$ 10,000


103 (Medium Human


ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint
. Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 2008.


Sanchita Basu Das.
Achieving the ASEAN Economic Community 2015: Challenges for Member
and Businesses.

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012.
Project MUSE
. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.


"Country Comparison :: GDP per Capita (PPP)."

World Factbook
. Central Intelligence Agency,
2012. Web. 09 May 2013.


Malik, Khalid.
The Rise of
the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World
. Rep. New York: United

Nations Development Programme, 2013. Print. Summary Human Development Report.



$ 4,300


114 (Medium Human


$ 5,000


121 (Medium Human


$ 3,500


127 (Medium Human


$ 2,400


138 (Medium Human

Laos/ Lao PDR

$ 3,000


138 (Medium Human


$ 1,400


149 (Low Human


Thailand is a constitutional monarchy as well as a newly industrialized country.
As one of Asia’s emerging economies, Thailand is one of ASEAN’s strongest economies.
Some of its main industries are fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing. It is ranked 86th

in the world for
GDP per capita
, and is the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia. Its
largest trading interests lie within China, Japan, Malaysia, and the US.


Burma has experienced significant political and economic turmoil
over the year and therefore is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, the
economy is slowly developing. Burma has plenty of oil and gas, and the illegal global
drug trade benefi
ts Burma’s economy. Burma is the largest producer of
methamphetamines (crystal meth) in the world. Burma is ranked 174th in the world for
GDP per capita. China, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan are its largest trading partners.

Indonesia has the
largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is ranked 117th in the
world for GDP per capita. Indonesia experienced setbacks in the recent financial crisis,
and although it has seen some economic growth, approximately 13 percent of its
population lives below the
poverty line. Its developed industries such as hotels,
hydrocarbon mining, and oil and gas resources help make Indonesia one of the richer
countries in the ASEAN organization.
Its biggest trade partners lie within the Asia
region, with China, Singapore, Ja
pan, South Korea, and


: Vietnam is one of the poorer nations within ASEAN.
As a fast

economy, Vietnam relies on industries such as tourism and energy to fuel it’s economy.
Vietnam trades heavily with it’s ASEAN partners.



Brunei relies on exports of crude oil and natural gases for its government
regulated economy. Brunei has the 4th largest liquefied gas production in the world, as
well as the 3rd highest oil production in Southeast Asia. Brunei has the 6th highest GDP
capita in the world.
Japan, Australia, and Indonesia are its biggest export partners, it
imports mainly from Singapore,

Malaysia, and Germany, and South Korea, India, and China are its biggest trade partners

This market economy has the
third largest economy in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia’s main industries are oil, technology, and financing. Malaysia has the 57th
highest GDP per capita in the world.
China, Singapore, Japan, US, Indonesia, and
Thailand are its main trading partners.

This newly industrialized nation has an emerging economy. Some of its
largest industries include electronics assembly, garments, and fruit exports. The
Philippines has the 121st highest GDP per capita in the world. Its predominant trading
partners are

the US, China, and Japan, but it also trades largely with its ASEAN
Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Cambodia has a market economy that has seen significant progress in the past
few years. With important industries such
as garments, tourism, and construction fueling
the way, Cambodia has grown and attracted many foreign investors. However, poverty
still affects many parts of the countryside. Cambodia has the 141st highest GDP per
capita in the world. Though it imports mos
tly from T
hailand, Vietnam, China, and,
Singapore in the Asian region, its biggest export partners are the US and the EU nations.

As one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, Laos relies mostly on agriculture
to fuel their landlocked economy.
This socialist economy just recently began
decentralizing control of the economy. Laos has the 133st highest GDP per capita in the
world. Its economy is also largely dependent on the natural resources that they export,
especially with its biggest trade par
tners (Thailand, China, and Vietnam) mainly within
the Southeast Asian region.


Singapore’s market economy is highly developed with industries such as
banking, biotechnology, and energy. Singapore has the 3rd highest GDP per capita in the
, and it is the richest country in ASEAN. Its economy is mainly dependent on
exports, especially with electronics, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and
financial services. It imports and exports with diverse global markets, but especially in
the So
utheast Asian and Asian regions, with its biggest trade partners, Malaysia,
Indonesia, China, Japan, and South Korea.


What is The ASEAN Economic Community?:

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is one of ASEAN’s goals, as it is one
of the first steps toward

achieving a common market between all member countries. This
economic integration would consist of first implementing programs for free trade (
, then free flow of
capital (investment integration),

and lastly, free flow of
people and
ice sector


ASEAN is currently in the first stages of
establishing the economic community by creating
(ASEAN Free Trade Area).

This allows all of the countries within ASEAN to trade goods and services freely between
themselves. However,
it still has a long way to go as it has low levels of trade integration
and investment integration which are large factors in truly creating an economic
community. To improve this, countries in ASEAN must strive to enforce more of a
uniform tariff,

which e
stablishes one universal tax for all items from other countries
being imported into the region within the free trade area.

Goals/Steps taken to establish the AEC

Single, unified market: free flow of goods, services, investment, capital, skilled

Free flow of goods through elimination of tariffs and trade barriers, and
coordinating one universal tax on imports from other non
ASEAN nations.
This makes standards to trade uniform and easier and more efficient.

Free flow of services with elimination of

service trade restrictions. This
allows the standards at which services are regulated to be the same in all

Free flow of investment with fewer restrictions on industries, allowing for
new industries to be established and maintained without bure

Free flow of capital with fewer restrictions on collections of capital in
investments within ASEAN states. This allows more markets to be
developed and maintained.

Free flow of labor with allowed movement of workers between ASEAN
es. This allows standards to be set for the qualifications workers
need in each country while removing workplace discrimination.

Competitive Economic Region

Develop laws regulating competition

Form laws protecting consumers

Establish framework to protect
intellectual properties

Use electronic commerce

Equal Economic Development


Verico, Kiki. "Can ASEAN Achieve Economic Community?"
Home | The Jakarta Post
. PT. Bina
Media Tenggara, 24
Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2013.


Sanchita Basu Das.


Help foster development in small and medium sized industries

Try to narrow the development gap between the economies

Economic Integration

Form a stance on trade with other blocs an
d countries

Participate in global markets, supply and demand network, and investment
frameworks for sustainable development


The governments of the member states are particularly diverse. The freer, more
liberated democracies (Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines) serve as a large contrast
to the communist nations (Laos and Vietnam), the constitutional democracy with
a powerful mon
archy (Thailand), the more restrictive democracies with one
political party dominating the governments (Malaysia and Singapore), the strict,
military controlled

(Myanmar), and the

Therefore, they all have varying d
egrees of control over their
economies, and therefore, there may be differences in their laws regarding trade,
making it difficult to create one set of laws for all the differently regulated
economies. They would have to compromise and alter some of their
laws in order to create one set for the whole region.

The economies and social structures of the nations are also very different.
Countries like Singapore and Brunei Darussalam are among the richest in Asia,
while others, like Burma, Cambodia, and

Laos, are among Asia’s poorest. There
is also a large difference in population sizes. Indonesia is ranked fourth in the
world for its population size, while tiny states like Brunei have less than a million

ASEAN leaders have avoided creating a st
rong regional institution like the
European Union’s central bank to monitor their bloc’s economy. As a result,
ASEAN policies have often been changed and altered by one nation’s decisions to
enact certain measures by themselves, which have often resulted i
n many other
nations shifting their policies as well.

ASEAN’s largest obstacle has been resisting pressures from its neighboring Asian
economic giants, China and India, which are among the world’s largest, most
powerful, and fastest growing economies. Ofte
ntimes, their involvement has
influenced ASEAN policy, which makes it more difficult to fully establish an
independent economic community.

Advantages to this plan


Hill, Hal. "ASEAN Economic Integration: Features, Fulfillments, Failures and the Future."
Working Paper Series on Regional Economic Integration

69 (2010): 3
8. Print.


Hill, Hal.


Economic efficiency:

It would be much easier for businesses in the private sector
and ones owned by the government to conduct business with other member states.
With one set of economic laws and tariffs for whole region, there would be no
more trade barriers and no more major

differences between the nations’ economic
policies in the region.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):

More countries would be willing to
invest in nations within ASEAN, especially within the smaller, less prosperous
nations, simply because of their ties

to the larger, more developed nations within
the region. This investment could really stimulate the economy and its growth
within each of the individual nations, as they would have “strength in numbers.”

Makes all countries within the region as equal as p
ossible economically:

In a
region as diverse as ASEAN, there are inevitable differences between their
member states. Burma would be entitled to the same economic benefits as other
countries in the region, such as Singapore, one of the richest nations in As
Therefore, help from prosperous nations like Singapore and the blanket policies
would really benefit the economies of the smaller nations and, by extension,
ASEAN. With the credibility Singapore has on the global market, it makes other
countries more w
illing to invest in it and its neighboring ASEAN countries
because they are so tied together.

Diplomatic ties between member states:
The economic community would foster
an even larger sense of responsibility and cohesion between the states. By being
so int
egrated economically, there is little room for conflict, as the countries would
not want to antagonize countries they have economic interests and investments in.

Free flow of labor
: This makes it easier to find work within any of the ASEAN
nations and remo
ves discrimination on employment. People would now be able to
find work more easily, and ASEAN nations would be able to have diverse

Options for its future:

Modeling it after the European Union:

The European Union is an economic organization t
hat shares monetary policy,
currency, and a central bank. If ASEAN models their economic community on the
European Union, it would mean standardizing a singular currency throughout Southeast
Asia, as well as establishing an infrastructure of banks and fina
ncial policy that would
transcend national boundaries. Each country in the ASEAN so far has a different
currency and a different financial situation.

Modeling it after NAFTA:


NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) is a three way trade bloc in
orth America between Canada, USA, and Mexico. This agreement entails no barriers to
trade and investment between its members, as well as no tariffs. ASEAN can utilize this
form of economic integration to improve regional stability and unity. Countries are
willing to help trade partners, so a free trade agreement could help strengthen ASEAN.

Questions to Consider:

Should the economic community be more market
driven or government

Should ASEAN plan to enact one currency and model the bloc after
the European
Union, or should they just maintain a free trade zone and model the bloc after

Is the creation of an economic community through the establishment of a custom
union like the European Union better or is it better in the form of the region
frameworks that ASEAN has through its regionalism?

Extra Sources


Feel free to use these for further research and preparation!

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