e-ASEAN and Regional Integration in South East Asia

e-ASEAN and Regional Integration in South East Asia

Xiudian Dai
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-947-2.ch161
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As a relatively new feature of the digital revolution in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), e-ASEAN was initiated by the ASEAN economic ministers in September 1999 and endorsed by ASEAN leaders at their summit in Manila in November the same year, when the e-ASEAN Task Force was also set up (ASEAN Secretariat, 2003). At the Fourth ASEAN Informal Summit in Singapore in November 2000, a Framework Agreement was signed to serve as the legal foundation for the e-ASEAN initiative. To ensure success, the Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM) was tasked to supervise, coordinate, and review the implementation of the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement. As stipulated in the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement, the SEOM reports to the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) and assists the AEM in all matters concerning this Agreement (ASEAN, 2000, Article 13). While there is no lack of literature discussing trade liberalisation and transborder cooperation in the ASEAN region, the impact of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) on the development of regionalism, and vice versa, remains a rather neglected area of study (Dai, 2003). The purpose of this article is to investigate the implications of the e-ASEAN initiative for regional cooperation and integration in South East Asia in the information age. In particular, the key challenges to achieving the objectives of the e-ASEAN initiative will be analysed.

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