Members of the ASEAN:
Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASEAN is a trade agreement between currently ten 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 million km² and around 673.99 million people. This corresponds to 3.0 percent of the world's inhabitable area and 8.5 percent 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.

Official website:
Map of member countries: ASEAN - Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Brunei19840.45 M5,770 km²14.01 bn US$
Cambodia199916.59 M181,000 km²26.96 bn US$
Indonesia1967273.75 M1,914,000 km²1.186 tn US$
Laos19977.43 M237,000 km²18.83 bn US$
Malaysia196733.57 M330,000 km²372.98 bn US$
Myanmar199753.80 M677,000 km²65.09 bn US$
Philippines1967113.88 M300,000 km²394.09 bn US$
Singapore19675.45 M719 km²396.99 bn US$
Thailand196771.60 M513,000 km²505.95 bn US$
Vietnam199597.47 M331,000 km²366.14 bn US$

ASEAN Economic Community

Outside of Asia, the ASEAN grouping comes to the fore mainly because of its various economic communities. Several agreements between the partner countries are managed under the "ASEAN Economic Community," 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 percent 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 initially on only 15 product groups vis-à-vis non-members. At that time, trade among members was only 15 percent.

Under the umbrella of ASEAN, various agreements also exist between several members 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 ten-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.