India and the US were supposed to become members of RCEP and CPTPP, respectively, but withdrew under the Modi and Trump administrations. As the agreements are now configured (see Figure 1), they stimulate intra-Asian integration around China and Japan. This is partly the result of American policy. The United States must rebalance its economic and security strategies to promote not only its economic interests, but also its security objectives. The AFTA Agreement was signed in Singapore on 28 January 1992. When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members, namely Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Vietnam joined in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. AfTA now covers all ten ASEAN countries. The four latecomers had to sign the AFTA agreement to join ASEAN, but had longer delays in meeting AFTA`s tariff reduction commitments. Efforts to close the development gap and expand trade among ASEAN members are key points in the political debate. According to a research report published in 2008 by the World Bank as part of its Project on Trade Costs and Facilitation[11], ASEAN members have the potential to reap significant benefits by investing in further trade facilitation reforms as a result of the comprehensive tariff reform already implemented under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. In addition to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) among ASEAN member states, the regional trading bloc has signed several free trade agreements with some of the major economies in the Asia-Pacific region. These include the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), the ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA), the ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA), the ASEAN-Korea FTA (AKFTA) and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP).

The objective of these free trade agreements is to encourage and encourage companies of all sizes in ASEAN to trade regionally and internationally without tariff barriers. Companies with branches in ASEAN can use free trade agreements to easily access new export markets for their low-cost products and to benefit from simplified export and import procedures. TiFA also set the stage for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an important trade agreement that included Southeast Asian brunei countries, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as possibly others at all levels. However, the U.S. withdrew from the agreement after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, which resulted in the amendment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP). RCEP, often mistakenly called “China-led,” is a triumph of ASEAN middle-power diplomacy. The value of a major trade deal with East Asia has long been recognized, but neither China nor Japan, the region`s largest economies, were politically acceptable as architects of the project. The impasse was resolved in 2012 by an ASEAN-brokered agreement that included India, Australia and New Zealand as members and gave ASEAN responsibility for negotiating the agreement. Without such an “ASEAN centrality”, RCEP might never have been launched.

The Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement (TIFA) between the United States and ASEAN is a framework that defines economic engagement between the two sides. While there is a lack of detail, TIFA, which was signed in 2006, sets out broad goals and principles for the United States and ASEAN to work together to strengthen trade and investment. The administration of AFTA is handled by the national customs and trade authorities of each ASEAN member. The ASEAN Secretariat has the authority to monitor and ensure compliance with AFTA measures, but does not have the legal authority to enforce compliance with the measures. This has led to contradictory decisions on the part of ASEAN national authorities. The ASEAN Charter aims to strengthen the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat to ensure consistent implementation of AFTA measures. A third option for the U.S. is to emphasize increased exposure to soft power combined with strict but firm safety commitments. This approach would build on U.S. strengths and save time for more ambitious initiatives.

It would emphasize vigorous participation in regional forums, people-to-people exchanges, the promotion of principles for rules-based trade and a clearly articulated military presence. He would benefit from a favorable agreement between the United States and China, which is not an easy task in the current context. Related Content China Trade in Digital Services and China`s Data Governance: How Should the U.S. Respond? Joshua P. Meltzer October 2020 Play Audio Global Commerce Global Competition for Digital Commerce Joshua P. Meltzer and David Dollar Monday, 12. October 2020 China The new center of gravity of global energy trade Samantha Gross Monday, September 14, 2020 ASEAN is currently the fourth largest trading partner of the United States with a trade volume of more than $354 billion in 2019. In 2020, the United States was the largest source of foreign direct investment in ASEAN, responsible for more than $328.5 billion in investment. Nearly 42,000 U.S. companies export to ASEAN, supporting more than 625,000 U.S. jobs. TIFA notes that the United States and ASEAN recognize that expanding trade and investment can lead to economic growth and development, which can be achieved by removing associated barriers and promoting an open and predictable environment.

In addition, tiFA recognizes the role of intellectual property protection in promoting technological innovation and investment. The agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) entered into force in January 2010. The Free Trade Agreement is the most comprehensive agreement covering a wide range of issues, including trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property, competition and economic cooperation. Since its inception, AANZFTA has promoted trade in goods and services by removing barriers and reducing transaction costs for companies wishing to do business in member countries. By 2020, 99% of goods trade between Australia and New Zealand with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam will be duty-free. When fully implemented in 2025, almost all trade between member countries will be duty-free, helping businesses save millions of dollars in tariffs each year. The ASEAN-India Merchandise Trade Agreement was signed on 1st. Entered into force in January 2010. The signing of the agreement paved the way for the creation of one of the world`s largest markets for free trade areas, creating opportunities for more than 1.9 billion people in ASEAN and India with a combined GDP of $4.8 trillion. AIFTA creates a more liberal regime, facilitating market access and investment between member countries. The agreement provided for tariff liberalization of more than 90% of the products traded between the two dynamic regions.