Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok as a regional forum with an aim to promote political cooperation and stability, trade and economic expansion, as well as social development of member countries. At the outset, ASEAN comprised five founding member countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Subsequently, after the end of the cold war, ASEAN started to enlarge its membership which stands at 10 member countries at present. This began with Brunei Darussalam joining in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Lao and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The ASEAN region has a population of about 550 million, with total area of 4.5 million square kilometers. The ASEAN Secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 4th ASEAN Summit in 1992 marked the first major step of regional economic cooperation as member countries reached an agreement on establishing the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). This agreement aims to increase the competitiveness of ASEAN as an important production base for the global market through the opening of trade and reduction of both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as the adjustment of tariff structure to facilitate the free trade environment. In 1997, ASEAN further enhanced its economic and financial cooperation by announcing the "ASEAN Vision 2020" which targets to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2020. In addition, the ASEAN Finance Ministers' Meeting (AFMM)1/ process and cooperation with China, Japan, and Korea were initiated in that same year.
With the advancement of regional economic cooperation, ASEAN Leaders agreed at the 13th ASEAN Summit in 2007 to accelerate the establishment of the AEC from 2020 to 2015. In this regard, ASEAN Leaders endorsed the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint (AEC Blueprint) (http://www.aseansec.org/21083.pdf) which is a detailed action plan on how to work towards the ASEAN Economic Community.
In addition, during the 13th ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Leaders also endorsed the "ASEAN Charter" which provides the legal and institutional framework for ASEAN to be a leading international organization within the region. The Charter will come into effect after being ratified by all member countries.
2. Relationship with the Bank of Thailand
The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand are the main responsible agencies in the area of regional financial cooperation and surveillance process. Since 1997, ASEAN Finance Ministers have been meeting annually, and the technical work on regional financial and economic cooperation has been undertaken by the 3 Working Committees, namely (1) Capital Market Development (WC-CMD), (2) Financial Services Liberalization under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (WC-FSL/AFAS), and (3) Capital Account Liberalization (WC-CAL).
On top of this, ASEAN Finance Ministers are also responsible for the implementation of the financial sector component of the AEC Blueprint, covering areas such as financial services liberalization and capital account liberalization.
Apart from the cooperation under the AFMM, the Bank of Thailand also actively takes part in the ASEAN Central Bank Forum (ACBF) which was established on 5 November 1997. The meetings under the ACBF consist of 2 high-level meetings: the ASEAN Central Bank Governors' Meeting (ACGM) and the ASEAN Central Bank Deputies' Meeting (ACDM). Like the AFMM, the issues for discussion amongst ASEAN central bankers mainly focus on the regional financial cooperation.
In addition, the ASEAN central banks established the ASEAN Swap Arrangement (ASA) on 5 August 1977 with an aim to provide short-term liquidity assistance to member countries facing temporary liquidity problems. The agreement had an original term of 2 years, and it has been renewed up until now. The current total amount of the ASA is USD 2.0 billion.
Further information on the ASEAN Finance Ministers' Meeting can be found at
In addition, latest information on the BOT's participation in the ASEAN can be found in BOT's Annual Economic Report
1/ Including the ASEAN Surveillance Process (ASP)