Skip to main content Accessibility help

The ASEAN Economic Community: Deep Integration or Just Political Window Dressing?

  • Jörn Dosch (a1)


On 31 December 2015, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In theory, this agreement has produced association-wide economic integration. However, following the announcement and for the foreseeable future, ASEAN member states will continue to have significantly less than full regional economic integration. Why? Some observers believe that the AEC plans involve an overly ambitious timeline and too many ill-thought-out initiatives. Others point to ASEAN's traditional aversion to legally binding agreements. While progress has been made in reducing or eliminating intra-ASEAN trade tariffs, substantial non-tariff barriers to trade persist. However, for most member states, the ASEAN market is relatively small, while external markets, especially China, are growing rapidly. Given this outward orientation for ASEAN trade, is the lack of an unhindered regional market really a problem?



Hide All
All links correct as of November 2016
Acharya, Amitav. 2000. The Quest of Identity: International Relations of Southeast Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Acharya, Amitav. 2001. Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia: ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order. London: Routledge.
ASEAN. 2016. ASEAN Economic Community. Available at:
ASEAN. 2013. The ASEAN Economic Community scorecard. Powerpoint presented at the Workshop on “Myanmar and the ASEAN Economic Community”, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 21–22 March. Available at:
ASEAN. 2008. ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint. Available at:
ASEAN. 2004. ASEAN Accelerates Integration of Priority Sectors. Available at:
ASEAN. 2003. Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II). Available at:
ASEAN Secretariat. 2015. ASEAN Integration Report 2015. Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat.
Asian Development Bank, Asian Development Bank Institute. 2015. Integrating SMEs into Global Value Chains: Challenges and Policy Actions in Asia. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank.
Balassa, Béla. 1961. The Theory of Economic Integration. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin.
Balboa, Jenny D. and Ganeshan, Wignaraja. 2014. ASEAN Economic Community 2015: what is next?. Asian Pathways: A Blog of the Asian Development Bank Institute. Available at:
Chia, Siow Yue Chia. 2010. Trade and investment policies and regional economic integration in East Asia. ADBI Working Paper 210. Tokyo: Asian Development Bank Institute.
Chipman Koty, Alexander. 2016. Labor mobility in ASEAN: current commitments and future limitations. ASEAN Briefing, 13 May. Available at:
Das, Sanchita Basu (ed.). 2013. ASEAN Economic Community Scoreboard: Performance and Perception. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).
Dent, Christopher M. 2008. East Asian Regionalism. London: Routledge.
Dosch, Jörn 2013. The ASEAN Economic Community: The Status of Implementation, Challenges and Bottlenecks. Kuala Lumpur: CARI ASEAN.
Hanouz, Drzeniek, Margareta, Thierry Geiger, , and Doherty, Sean, eds. 2014, The Global Enabling Trade Report 2014 (Geneva: World Economic Forum). Available at:
Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). 2012. Mid-Term Review of the Implementation of AEC Blueprint. Jakarta: ERIA.
Harrison, John. 2006. Re-reading the new regionalism: a sympathetic critique. Space and Polity 10(1), 2146.
Hettne, Björn. 1999. Globalization and the new regionalism: the second great transformation. In Hettne, B., Inotai, A. and Sunkel, O. (eds.), Globalism and the New Regionalism, pp. 124, London: Macmillan/New York: St Martin's Press.
Hettne, Björn. 2005. Beyond the ‘new’ regionalism. New Political Economy 10(4), 543–71.
Hill, Hal and Jayant, Menon. 2014. ASEAN commercial policy: a rare case of outward-looking regional integration. ADB Working Paper Series on Regional Economic Integration 144. Available at:
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 2002. Beyond Borders: The New Regionalism in Latin America: Economic and Social Progress in Latin America. Washington, DC: IDB.
Jones, Lee. 2015. Explaining the failure of the ASEAN Economic Community: the primacy of domestic political economy. The Pacific Review 29(5), 647670.
Lawrence, Robert Z., Hanouz, Margareta Drzeniek and Moavenzadeh, John (eds.). 2009. The Global Enabling Trade Report 2009. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Available at:
Low, Patrick. 2016. Asean Economic Community faces numerous challenges. Southeast Asian economies are among the most closed in some sectors. South China Morning Post, 7 January. Available at:
Nesadurai, Helen E.S. 2012. Trade policy in Southeast Asia: politics, domestic interests and the forging of new accommodations in the regional and global economy. In Robison, Richard (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics, pp. 315329. London: Routledge.
Nye, Joseph S (ed.). 1968. International Regionalism: Readings. Boston, MA: Little Brown.
OECD 2013. Southeast Asian Economic Outlook 2013. Paris: OECD.
Particip. 2014. Evaluation of EU's Regional Co-operation with Asia, Final Report, Vol. 1, 30 March. Available at:
Pasadilla, Gloria O. 2013. Addressing Non-tariff Measures in ASEAN. ARTNeT Working Paper No. 130, September, Bangkok: ESCAP. Available at:
Pelkmans, Jacques. 2016. The ASEAN Economic Community: A Conceptual Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pente, Imke. 2014. Lipstick, Innovation, and Preferences - A Developmental-Intergovernmental Approach to Economic Policy Transfer from the EU to ASEAN (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Freie Universität Berlin.
Ravenhill, John. 2010. The ‘new East Asian regionalism’: a political domino effect. Review of International Political Economy 17 (2): 178208.
Rüland, Jürgen. 2016. Why (most) Indonesian businesses fear the ASEAN Economic Community: struggling with Southeast Asia's regional corporatism. Third World Quarterly 37(6), 11301145.
Sally, Razeen. 2014. ASEAN Needs to Ride a New Wave of Reform. East Asia Forum. Available at:
The Nation. 2015. Significant Disparities in Asean Countries' Economic Freedom Rankings, 17 September.
Väyrynen, Raimo. 2003. Regionalism: old and new. International Studies Review 5(1), 2551.
Viner, Jacob. 1950. The Customs Union Issue. New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
World Bank. 2016. WTO Services Trade Restrictions Database. Available at:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
  • ISSN: 2051-364X
  • EISSN: 2051-3658
  • URL: /core/journals/trans-trans-regional-and-national-studies-of-southeast-asia
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed