The ASEAN Leaders at their Summit in Kuala Lumpur in December 1997 decided to transform ASEAN into a stable, prosperous, and highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities (ASEAN Vision 2020). At the Bali Summit in October 2003, ASEAN Leaders declared that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is the goal of regional economic integration (Bali Concord II) by 2020. At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007 in Cebu City, Philippines, the Leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015 as envisioned in the ASEAN Vision 2020 and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II), and signed the Cebu Declaration on the ‘Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015’. In particular, the Leaders agreed to hasten the establishment of the AEC by 2015 and to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.

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