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ASEAN needs more cohesion to stand on its own

Bloc's ex-chief sees inequality, reliance on external trade as vulnerabilities

Surin Pitsuwan

ASEAN leaderships need a moment of reflection. We are seeing strong anti-globalization sentiment and failures of multilateral arrangements in the West. This certainly dents ASEAN's drive for more openness and more integration. Even before such global moves, a sense of hesitation had been building up among us, about opening up too widely. We agreed to remove tariffs, but nontariff barriers have been raised.

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