Region set for significant growth, despite the bumps

THIS seemingly incoherent series of numbers - 5, 55, 2, 7, 46, 690, 9, 70, 1/3, 26 - is not some secret code. These are the 10 key numbers to understand Asean by. The grouping was established on Aug 8, 1967, by five founding members: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei (joined in 1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos (1997), Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999) subsequently made up the current 10 member states.

Contrary to the common misconception, it is not similar to the EU and does not try to be. It works by consensus - the Asean way. There is no central institution such as the European Commission to enforce members' adherence to their commitments. Its aim is to become...

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