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ASEAN Dragging Feet on Services FTA – Indian official

SINGAPORE, Sep 10 2012 (The Hindu Business Line) – The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been slower in responding to India’s proposal to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Services, former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said here today.

It Ain’t All Bad

Not all stories of labour migration in Southeast Asia are bleak and foreboding. Many workers are only too happy to have found employment in the region’s more affluent states—with none of the struggles of their not-so-fortunate compatriots.

Standardizing Human Rights in ASEAN

JAKARTA, Aug 25 (Jakarta Post) – Despite the absence of a joint communiqué from the 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), foreign ministers of the regional grouping have agreed to release its “key elements” to public as part of consultations before the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) at the 21st ASEAN Summit in November in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

ASEAN: Useless Body, Superpower or Somewhere in Between?

SINGAPORE (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Say ‘ASEAN’ and South-east Asians are likely to know of their main regional organisation. But this good recall does not always mean they understand how ASEAN really works, its kind of regionalism, or how this relates to their governments’ policies or their daily lives.

Laos’ Herculean Effort to Join the WTO

GENEVA, Apr 30 2012 (IPS) – After almost a decade of major economic transformation, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is on the brink of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership. But the small country’s Herculean effort to join the exclusive trade club is a reminder to the ten other least developed countries (LDCs) now seeking membership of the cumbersome process involved.

Nothing Less Than International Standards

Sixty-three human rights groups in South-east Asia have issued an open letter to the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, expressing their call that the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration “will not be lower than international human rights norms and standards”. The draft declaration, the subject of criticism by rights groups who say it is too weak, is set to be adopted at the ASEAN summit in November 2012. The text of the open letter follows.

Doubts, Anticipation Mix as Cambodia’s SMEs Prepare for 2015

KAMPOT/PHNOM PENH/KAMPONG CHAM, Aug 28 – Cambodia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are busily preparing for the ASEAN Economic Community’s (AEC) free flow of goods in 2015. They are probably not that different from the other 10 ASEAN member states’ own SMEs.

ASEAN at 45

On ASEAN’s ‘birthday’ on Aug. 8, 2012, Moe Thuzar of the ASEAN Studies Centre reflects on the high and low points of the organisation as well as the importance of linking its goals and work to the everyday lives of its constituency.

Myanmar, A Middle-income Country by 2030 – AsDB

BANGKOK, Aug 27 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – Busy shedding off its reputation as a recluse after decades of self-imposed isolation, Myanmar is playing catch-up with it neighbours and may well become a middle-income nation by 2030, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) says in a report released this month.

ASEAN: Expectations, Myths And Facts

There is a lot of discussion in the media and public space about ASEAN, but there are also many misconceptions about the regional organisation, says Rodolfo Severino, Head of the ASEAN Studies Centre.

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