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ASEAN

ASEAN members
Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASEAN is a trade agreement with currently 10 member states in Southeast Asia with the aim of working together both economically and politically. The seat is currently in Singapore. The model for the economic area was, among others, the European Union.

The predecessor of ASEAN, which was founded on August 8, 1967, was the ASA Association (1961-1967).

All member states together cover an area of 4.49 m km² and around 660.62 m people. This corresponds to 3.0% of the world's inhabitable area and 8.6% of the world's population. ASEAN is thus larger than the European Union. In terms of area, population and gross domestic product, Indonesia is by far the largest and thus most influential member state.

Map of member countries: ASEAN - Association of Southeast Asian Nations

CountryCommencementPopulationArea
Brunei19840.43 M5,770 km²
Burma199754.05 M677,000 km²
Cambodia199916.49 M181,000 km²
Indonesia1967270.63 M1,914,000 km²
Laos19977.17 M237,000 km²
Malaysia196731.95 M330,000 km²
Philippines1967108.12 M300,000 km²
Singapore19675.70 M719 km²
Thailand196769.63 M513,000 km²
Vietnam199596.46 M331,000 km²


ASEAN Economic Community

Outside of Asia, the ASEAN grouping comes to the fore mainly because of its various economic communities. Under the "ASEAN Economic Community", several agreements between the partner countries are managed, which connect large parts of the Asian economy. First and foremost, the ASEAN Free Trade Area "AFTA" enables member states to remove tariff barriers on an extensive level. In total, around 98% of all tariffs between the member states are abolished or at least reduced. This initiative goes back to a decision taken in Manila in 1992 to reduce tariffs on initially only 15 product groups vis-à-vis non-members. At that time, trade among members was only 15%.

There are also several different agreements between the members in which numerous ASEAN member states also participate in order to strengthen the economic community:
  • ARF ("ASEAN Regional Forum") for security
  • AFTA ("ASEAN Free Trade Area") for a free trade zone
  • AIA ("ASEAN Investment Area") for direct investment

Chairmanship and decision-making

While the individual organs of ASEAN are officially headquartered in Jakarta (Indonesia), the chairmanship rotates annually according to a predetermined pattern. Thus, within a 10-year period, each member holds the chairmanship once, at which time the summit conference is also held. In addition, there are well over a dozen ministerial meetings each year, each with subordinate committees and working groups. Overall, there are numerous parallels to the EU. What differs, however, is that the decisions of the Community are not supranational, i.e. they do not force member countries to implement them involuntarily.