Southeast Asian nations have officially launched a huge economic bloc, called the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), as part of their efforts to deepen trade and investment links across the region.
For 50 years, ASEAN has given Southeast Asian nations a forum to address a long list of conflicts, catastrophes and crises. But there are limitations to what the association can accomplish beyond business and rhetoric.
50 years ago, ASEAN emerged as a beacon of unity in Southeast Asia. Today the group is beset by security challenges stemming from the new US administration, a lack of economic integration and a poor human rights record.
The EU and the 10-member bloc of Southeast Asian states are to put a trade pact back on the agenda after a 7-year hiatus. Currently only Singapore and Vietnam have free trade deals with Europe.
Some 700 people have joined the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Cambodia. Among them are four presidents from the region and a host of business leaders. DW's Manuela Kasper-Claridge reports.
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