Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse regions on earth. More than just having a monicker describing its position on the Asian continent, a melting pot of cultures make up this vibrant community of nations.

With the proximity of these culturally distinct nations to each other, the vision of a unifying body has always been put forward. This is the principle behind the creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which occurred on 8 August 1967, setting into motion a union committed to fostering trade, security and international relations.

ASEAN is composed of ten (10) member states, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Philippines was one of the groups’ founding members.

As a bloc, ASEAN interacts with the rest of the global community through economic partners such as China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, United States, and the European Union.

As a member of ASEAN, the Philippines has privileges that are unique to the region. It makes great use of its position being part of the region. For this archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, ASEAN’s growth and success is tantamount to opportunities.

ASEAN member states share the same vision and collectively adopt three pillars, namely the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC). These three highlight the member states' commitment towards building a sharing culture and cooperation in the areas of social welfare, economic inclusion and integration, and political environment, respectively.


The AEC is all about economic integration; helping in the community-building system of the organization.

The AEC’s penultimate goal is to develop an integrated and wealth-building economic region where citizens of all ASEAN members experience fruitful lives.

When all ASEAN economies are merged as one, the AEC is realized.

  • AEC takes place when ASEAN is viewed as one, unique investment destination.
  • When investors go beyond the individual opportunities, viewing the whole region as an amalgamation of customers and as a huge production base. Therefore, barriers for goods exchange, delivery of services, investment flow, and mobilization of people in ASEAN Members States are taken out or reduced.
  • When the policies on economic activities come together and become united, thereby allowing ASEAN to effectively engage in the global market as an economic bloc.
  • As ASEAN resonates with a singular voice for international trade and investment discussions, and partakes of the global supply chain.
  • When economic well-being begets inclusive growth. The development deficits are lessened, MSMEs develop, jobs are made available, and livelihood opportunities beckon. 

To know more about ASEAN and AEC, browse through these publications:

Understanding the ASEAN Economic Community Quick Guide
Understanding the ASEAN Economic Community Primer
AEC The Philippine Game Plan
Business Beyond Borders

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