Integration Strategies for ASEAN: Alone, Together, or Together with Neighbors?

East-West Center Working Papers No. 92

37 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2008 Last revised: 29 Jun 2008

Date Written: November 1, 2007


ASEAN has been deepening intra-regional integration at the same time that it has been forming various cooperative arrangements with its partners, and its Member Countries have been pursuing individual trade accords. Which would be the optimal configuration for ASEAN? In this paper, we evaluate various economic scenarios for the region in terms of real-sector, financial and macro-economic cooperation with a view to gauge the best unit of integration. We review the current evolution of trade and financial accords in the region and survey the literature on the economic viability of these accords, including from fresh CGE simulations on the correlation of business cycles and the economic effects of potential trade groupings being considered. In general, the paper suggests that the economic potential for closer economic integration is strong. In terms of trade, we note that there would be positive gains from ASEAN integration and the current wave of bilateral free trade areas, but that these gains are much less significant for ASEAN than would be the case of other scenarios, such as the ASEAN 3 or the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. We also argue that the case for deepening financial and monetary integration in Asia is convincing, even though the political underpinnings of such an accord are not yet in place.

Keywords: ASEAN Integration, FTAs, Monetary Union, CGE models

JEL Classification: F15, F17, F33

Suggested Citation

Plummer, Michael G. and Wignaraja, Ganeshan, Integration Strategies for ASEAN: Alone, Together, or Together with Neighbors? (November 1, 2007). East-West Center Working Papers No. 92, Available at SSRN: or

Michael G. Plummer

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

Via Belmeloro 11
40126 Bologna

Ganeshan Wignaraja (Contact Author)

Asian Development Bank ( email )

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Metro Manila

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