ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

The AEC envisages the following key characteristics:

  • a single market and production base; 
  • a highly competitive economic region; 
  • a region of equitable economic development; and 
  • a region fully integrated into the global economy.

The AEC’s areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building, recognition of professional qualifications, closer consultation on macroeconomic and financial policies, trade financing measures, enhanced infrastructure and communications connectivity, development of electronic transactions through e-ASEAN, integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing, and enhancing private sector involvement for developing the AEC. 

Enabling economic development throughout ASEAN is also an important objective of the AEC. The enlarged membership of ASEAN came with a new set of challenges.  The last four members to join – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – had significant development gaps with the six founding members.  

Narrowing this “development gap” thus became an additional priority of ASEAN.  Projects under the Initiative for ASEAN Integration are designed to enable new ASEAN members to accelerate the pace of economic growth, and enable them to participate on a similar level with the first six members.