ASEAN Free Trade Area

Brunei Brunei Cambodia Cambodia Indonesia Indonesia Laos Laos Malaysia Malaysia Myanmar Myanmar Philippines Philippines Singapore Singapore Thailand Thailand Vietnam

- Total ( 2004) - Density

- Total - Total - GNP / capita - GNP / capita

$ 2.172 trillion (PPP ) $ 681 billion (nominal ) $ 4,044 (PPP ) $ 1,267 (nominal )

- Signature

August 8, 1967

The ASEAN Free Trade Area, AFTA short (of English. ASEAN Free Trade Area ), is an agreement between the ASEAN countries, which should serve to facilitate economic cooperation in a free trade zone.

The objectives of AFTA are:

  • The improvement of the economic base in the world market by lowering tariff barriers among members.
  • Increasing the attractiveness of the economic area for foreign investors.

With a population of over 590 million people, ASEAN is larger than the European Union. For companies, this opens up the potential of a growing and integrated market.


The customs barriers shall be mutually completely degraded.

Member States have the right to exclude certain cases:

The regulations now apply to at least 98% of the duties of the ASEAN countries.


The first proposal for the AFTA was made ​​by the then Prime Minister of Thailand, Anand Panyarachun, in September 1991. This proposal was accepted with additions during the meeting of Heads of Government of the ASEAN countries in October 1991 in Kuala Lumpur. At the fourth meeting of the ASEAN countries in January 1992 in Singapore, then the participating governments agreed within 15 years to build (starting with 1 January 1993 ) is a free trade zone with duties ranging between 0% and 5%. This time period has now been brought forward so that AFTA has entered fully into force on 1 January 2003.

The establishment of AFTA was the attempt to increase the exchange of goods between the ASEAN countries, which stood at about 15%, and synergies of the partners to exploit. To this end, the Minister of Economic Affairs were at a conference in Manila first 15 product groups of commodities and food production chosen in October 1992, which gradually reduced duties were imposed. Within five to eight years, they wanted to reduce tariffs on these goods to a maximum of 20%. Initially, AFTA developed only slowly, Indonesia and the Philippines, for example, feared a too rapid economic integration of losing control over their domestic markets. In July 1995, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries could agree on a shorter period of eight years, which was formally adopted in December of the same year at the ASEAN summit in Bangkok.

When the AFTA agreement was originally signed, ASEAN had six members Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. 1995 were added Vietnam and Laos, Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. AFTA now comprises ten Member States, with the four that was added later states a temporal leeway to implement the agreement was granted.

Member States

  • Brunei Brunei
  • Indonesia Indonesia
  • Malaysia Malaysia
  • Philippines Philippines
  • Singapore Singapore
  • Thailand Thailand
  • Vietnam Vietnam1
  • Laos Laos1
  • Myanmar Myanmar1
  • Cambodia Kambodscha1

1 regulations in 2012 came into force

Current Development

On 29 September 2004, the timing of AFTA was further accelerated. The meeting was also observers from India, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand participated.


  • Michael Leifer: Dictionary of the Modern Politics of South - East Asia. London: Routledge 1996 ( 1 of A. Taschenbuchausg. ), ISBN 0-415-13821-3.
  • Biller, U. Einflus AFTA on FDI