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ASEAN integration lags the real world

China's rise and the digital economy are absent from the group's plans

| Vietnam
ASEAN leaders pose for a photo at the signing ceremony of the ASEAN Economic Community in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 22, 2015.

Any objective verdict on the achievements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the last 50 years can only be mixed. Governments and public officials will say the glass is half full in assessing the organization, while non-governmental organizations and the private sector will declare it as half empty. Going forward, ASEAN has optimistic plans for further integration until 2025. The results could determine which view is right.

From the business perspective, what is more important than ASEAN's contribution to peace and stability is what is built upon it. This depends on if outcomes are optimized. Government officials would appear to be satisfied with ASEAN pursuing sub-optimal goals as long as the group survives. Businesses want ASEAN to thrive by achieving optimal results

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