Association of Southeast Asian Nations

An important trend in the global economy since the early 1990s has been the proliferation of regional initiatives among countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU) best illustrate such a trend; however, regionalism among developing countries has also become popular. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) represents the most advanced regional bloc in Asia (Figure 1). Conceived and formed in 1967, it has grown from 5 to 10 members (Table 1) and developed from an informal to a more formal entity, creating the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) along the way. However, ASEAN has often been compared with the EU or NAFTA with the general observation that it has produced a system ...

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