Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), organization established by the Bangkok Declaration (1967), linking the nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Subsequently, Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos (1997), Myanmar (1999), and Cambodia (1999) were admitted; a formal charter for ASEAN was signed in 2007 and came into force in 2008. The organization's secretariat is in Jakarta. ASEAN seeks to promote socioeconomic progress and regional stability through cooperation in banking, trade, technology, agriculture, industry, and tourism. Members agreed in 1992 to create the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), a regional common market, which became effective in 1993. Tariffs among the ASEAN nations have been greatly reduced, especially among the six oldest ASEAN members; a free trade area is slated to be established largely by 2015. ASEAN also has reached free-trade agreements with China (2004), South Korea (2006), Japan (2008), and Australia, New Zealand, and India (2009). Members are also pledged to work together to promote foreign investment in the region.