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Regional Integration and Inclusive Development: Lessons from ASEAN Experience


  • Hank Giokhay Lim


  • Kester TAY Yi-Xun

    (Singapore Institute of International Affairs)


The current economic crisis has lent extra urgency to ASEAN’s efforts at economic integration and raising its attractiveness for trade and investment. This process gained momentum in the 1990s and has made much progress, as reflected in the emergence of a wide range of extra- and intra-regional agreements. However, the effectiveness of this network of arrangements in stimulating trade and investment depends on not just the characteristics of each arrangement but how well they complement each other. This paper addresses these two areas by examining and evaluating past and present initiatives individually and collectively. Findings suggest that the fundamental impeding issues have endured over the years: lack of political will, ASEAN-style consensus-reliant negotiation, and insufficient management in implementing and harmonising of initiatives. Recommendations include agreement design innovation and focus on shared concerns to overcome lack of will, role expansion of the secretariat to monitor implementation through issuance of score cards, and establishment of specialised bodies such as sub-committees and working groups to enhance implementation and dispute settlement.

Suggested Citation

  • Hank Giokhay Lim & Kester TAY Yi-Xun, 2008. "Regional Integration and Inclusive Development: Lessons from ASEAN Experience," Working Papers 5908, Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an initiative of UNESCAP and IDRC, Canada..
  • Handle: RePEc:esc:wpaper:5908

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Vandoren, 2005. "Regional economic integration in South East Asia," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 517-535, December.
    2. Ramkishen Rajan & Rahul Sen, 2002. "The Japan-Singapore “New Age” Economic Partnership Agreement: Background, Motivation and Implications," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2002-08, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
    3. Tubagus Feridhanusetyawan, 2005. "Preferential Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific Region," IMF Working Papers 05/149, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Hadi Soesastro, 2005. "Accelerating ASEAN Economic Integration - Moving Beyond AFTA," Trade Working Papers 22034, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Engwerda, J. & Boldea, O. & Michalak, T. & Plasmans, J. & Salmah,, 2012. "A simulation study of an ASEAN monetary union," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1870-1890.

    More about this item


    ASEAN; Economic Integration; Development; Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade


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