ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an intergovernmental organisation, established in Bangkok, Thailand, on 8 August 1967, aimed primarily at promoting economic growth and regional stability among its 10 members including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
ASEAN aims to promote collaboration and cooperation among member states, as well as to advance the interests of the region as a whole, including economic and trade growth. In 2015, it established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a major milestone in the organization’s regional economic integration agenda. The AEC envisions the bloc as a single market with free flow of goods, services, investments and skilled labour, and freer movement of capital across the region.
The theme for ASEAN 2019 under Thailand’s Chairmanship is “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, the grouping is looking towards the dream of building a community that is oriented towards the people, centers on the people and leaves no one behind. It intends to promote sustainability in all dimensions to enable ASEAN to respond to changes and challenges, such as climate change. It also aimes to maintain peace, stability and look towards the future; capitalise on opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to promote the digital economy and green growth; enhance relations with partners to develop sustainably and gain a higher global stature for ASEAN; and step up connectivity in all fields towards a seamless ASEAN.
As for relationship with the Czech Republic, there is an increasing economic development between ASEAN Member States and the Czech Republic. Last year, trade volume between the two sides has reached over 7 billion US dollars. The Czech Republic is certainly a major hub in Central Europe. At the same time, ASEAN, the region with almost 650 million population, a common market of a combined GDP over US$ 2.92 trillion, is now one of the most dynamic economy in the world. There are significant potentials for closer economic cooperation between the Czech Republic and ASEAN.
Currently, in Prague, there are six ASEAN embassies, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, Thailand, Vietnam, and, the newest member of the ASEAN family, Myanmar. This year, ASEAN celebrated the 52nd Anniversary of its founding. Let’s see what the ambassadors have to say about ASEAN.