The January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July

Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is a regional
grouping that was established on 8th August 1967 by the Founding Fathers
of ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Over the
years, ASEAN has gradually evolved and expanded as several countries joined the
organization: Brunei Darussalam on 8 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995,
Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and, lastly, Cambodia on 30 April 1999. 
paper will inform and discuss about how ASEAN, as this year marks its 50th
anniversary, has developed and expanded throughout the years from various
aspects: Political and Security aspects, Economic aspects, and, lastly, Social
and Culture aspects. In addition, this paper will discuss about the success and
achievements of ASEAN, also, anticipate what the future holds for ASEAN, as an
international organization, including its future impacts on Thailand and the
from the purposes of creating ASEAN, ASEAN’s primary objectives are to promote
regional stability, economic growth, political and security cooperation among
its 10 member states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam2.
Moreover, as set out in the ASEAN Declaration during the summit of ASEAN at
Bali in 1976,3
the aims and purposes of ASEAN are to accelerate the economic growth, social
progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors; to
promote regional peace and stability; to expand their trade as well as to
improve transportation and communications.ASEAN
consists of three community pillars that can consider as a main key point in
developing ASEAN: Political-Security Community, Economic Community, and
Socio-Cultural Community. These ASEAN communities assure that the goal of
raising and improving the living standards of its peoples is reflected through peace,
security, harmony, the region’s economic and cultural development. ASEAN, also,
has been developed in many aspects due to these three pillars.First,
through political aspects, in order to deepen and expand ASEAN political and
security cooperation as well as strengthen ASEAN capacity in responding to
regional and international challenges, the ASEAN Political-Security Community
or APSC was established. The main objective of APSC is to ensure that the
countries live peacefully with one another and the world in a democratic and
harmonious environment. Additionally, APSC has also consistently promoted
protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The
Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), signed on 24 February
was created as a peace treaty among Southeast Asian countries. It successfully serves
as a solid foundation for peace and stability among Southeast Asia countries
and, also, other states outside Southeast Asia.  As it currently has 35 states High Contracting
Parties, including major powers such as United States, European Union, and
Japan, this treaty is considered to be one of the major and successful outcomes
from ASEAN.Second,
through economic aspects, AEC or ASEAN Economic Community is established to
make ASEAN a single market and production base with free flows of goods,
skilled labor and investments across its member states, also, to become a
highly competitive region and fully apt into entering the global economy. To
progress towards goals, ASEAN has signed several agreements to support AEC: the
ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment
Agreement (ACIA); and ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons
Trade in Goods Agreement or ATIGA reduces and eliminates tariff and nontariff
measures, also, creates a legal framework to realize the free flow of goods
within the AEC. In 2010, duties were eliminated on 99.2% of tariff lines for 6
member states, including Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand6.
Trade in the region will also be facilitated through harmonized and streamlined
trade as well as rules and procedures. Making it’s easier for investors to
access to regional export markets, raw materials, production inputs. Also, make
it cheaper for production and business costs. The
ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement or ACIA improves the investment
environment by protecting and liberalizing cross-border investment activities;
and, lastly, by embracing international best practices in investment. Making
more conducive business environment in order to encourage investors to do and
conduct business in the region.  The
ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Persons or AAMNP improves the movement
of natural persons in order to have higher possibilities of hiring the people
of the member states with diverse talents and specialties, as a result, it will
benefit ASEAN companies and employers as they start or conduct regional
The ASEAN Free Trade Area of AFTA has made significant progress in the lowering
of intra-regional tariffs. More than 99 percent of the products in the list of the
6 ASEAN members (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Singapore and Thailand) has been brought down to the 0-5 percent tariff range7.
Furthermore, since the start of AFTA in 1993, ASEAN trade has increased
from 19.2 percent to 25.9 percent in 2016 and more than 90
percent of goods are traded with no tariffs.8By
achieving the objectives of AEC, the investment environment in ASEAN is significantly
improved and expanded as the AEC facilitates and encourages the implementation
of trade, services, and investment. At the regional level, the AEC is critical in
developing the ASEAN as a region. Nowadays, as a region, ASEAN is the 7th
largest economy in the world, with a combined GDP of $2.6 trillion in 20169.
And it is projected and expected to rank as the fourth-largest economy by 2050.
a market of over 600 million consumers and combined GDP of almost US$3 trillion, it is no doubt that ASEAN
has a vibrant and growing economy ahead of it and will result in
astonishing economic perspectives in the future.Third,
through social and cultural aspects, ASEAN Socio-cultural or ASCC is
established to achieve unity among the people as well as the member states of
ASEAN. It aims to enhance the people welfare and livelihood; to lift the quality
of life of its people through cooperative activities that are people-oriented
and environmental friendly; and to promote fundamental freedoms, gender
equality, social justice as well as human rights.There
are several significant commitments from ASCC to protect and promote human
rights. One of them is ASEAN Committee on Women. As violence against woman is
also considered to be a violation of human rights in a form of discrimination
against woman, therefore, ASEAN Committee on Women or ACW is established to
eliminate and prevent any form of violence against woman. ACE empowers the
victims and survivors to access to information and remedies in order to claim
their human rights. The approach also includes taking active steps to put human
rights standards in laws and policies. Moreover, ASEAN member states have also shown
their commitments by adopting a number of international human rights treatiesNot
only ASCC promotes human rights, it also ensures environmental sustainability.
One of them is by promoting the sustainability of fresh water resources. To
prevent human health from the disease coming from the water, ASCC has placed
strong emphasis on the need to improved water. By using advanced technologies,
in 2012, 100 percent of the population in Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, and
Thailand were able to access to improved water sources11.
Moreover, the improvement is particularly apparent in Indonesia as the
percentage of improved water sources had increased from 44 percent in 2012 to
87 percent in 2015.12Over
the years, through ASEAN Socio-cultural community, ASEAN has shown their
commitments to strengthen social protection, promotion and protection of the rights
of women and children, improvement of people’s health and well-being, and
development of opportunities for education, and environmental sustainability. So
that it can lift the quality of life of its people.However,
although ASEAN is actively promoting human rights, democracy and good
governance, unfortunately, the region has been going backward regarding human
rights and democracy issues. First, Myanmar has been widely criticized for its
failure to deal and protect the Rohingya people, who continue to face rampant
and systemic human rights violations. Second, in 2006, Thailand has
witnessed political instability which adversely affected tourism and investor
confidence not only in Thailand, but also ASEAN countries as Thailand’s economy
is the ASEAN’s second largest after Indonesia.13Today,
in 2017, as ASEAN has reached its 50th anniversary, thus, many are
anticipated on what the future holds for ASEAN and how much impact it’s going
to create in the future.  In terms of
economics, ASEAN has shown an outstanding record in recent years by growing
around 5 percent a year14.
At current growth rates, it is expected to be fifth largest economy in the
world by 2020 and become the fourth largest economy market after The EU, United
States, and China by 2030.15However,
inevitably, ASEAN’s economic is not entirely perfect and flawless. In a closer
look, inequality has been an issue in almost every country in ASEAN, also,
between the countries. Therefore, it is a challenge whether, in the future,
ASEAN will able to find and search for a solution to inequality problem that
could slow down the economic development.Thailand,
one of the ASEAN’s member states, has always benefited by increased market
share inside ASEAN as Thailand’s market share has increased to 35.8 percent one
year after the AEC’s opening. 16Moreover,
Thailand’s international trade has also improved after the opening of AEC. Therefore,
it can be assumed and expected that if ASEAN’s economy is improving,
undoubtedly, Thailand will be gaining benefits economically as well.In
conclusion, throughout the years, ASEAN has created many remarkable
achievements despite having some challenges. Its journey for 50 years has
proved to be successful significantly through its economic performance, still,
there are flaws that needed to be fixed or improved in certain areas. In the
end, we can assure that ASEAN will be able to continue facing future and going forward
with confidence towards the goals.   


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