ASEAN and Trade Integration (TIID Working Paper Series 1/09)

Working paper8 Apr 2009

This paper reviews the progress in trade-related areas of ASEAN Economic Community to be established by 2015. It provides empirical evidence and qualitative analysis on how the process of trade integration worked and what could have been done for it to have worked better. Where appropriate it elaborates on forces or institutions driving the process of integration. The paper uses descriptive statistics and some off-the-shelf indicators to track progress in trade integration which is the main pillar of building ASEAN Economic Community. Second part of the paper examines the progress in building effective integration with the other trading partners. Three different but inter-related issues are analyzed: 1) ASEAN in world economy in terms of relative size, discrimination of other partners in trade, and treatment that ASEAN obtains in importing markets of developed countries compared to average of all developing countries; 2) the WTO membership and negotiation positioning of individual ASEAN members, and 3) the role of bilateral and plurilateral preferential trade agreements of ASEAN member countries and of the ASEAN as a bloc.