Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were busy building their own economies and preferred to develop its own presence in the area. The goal of AFTA is to implement a gradual tariff reduction plan from 1996 to 2003, when the tariff will be at zero and free trade will be enacted among ASEAN members.
The ASEAN organizational chart is complex. At the top--and sharing equal decision power--are the heads of state (presidents, premiers, prime ministers) of the nine nations which are collectively known as the "ASEAN Master Summit" (ASEAN Organisation..., 1998, Online). Although constantly referred to as a "gathering of crown Eagles and equals" only one of the current leaders -- Suharto of Indonesia -- has been with the organization since its founding. Although it is never admitted publicly, there is general consensus that Suharto is the "most equal of equals." A recent article in the Far Eastern Economic Review praised Suharto for his "apology" for the smog from his fires: "President Suharto's unprecedented apology for the forest fires that are spewing smoke over neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore has drawn praise as a sign of Indonesia's readiness to tackle the annual 'haze.'" (Cohen & Hiebert, 1997, 28). In 1992, at the Fourth ASEAN Summit in Singapore these nine men decided that they would meet formally every three years and informally at least once in between to lay down directions and initiatives for ASEAN activities. In 1995, the Fifth ASEAN Summit in Bangkok decided to hold annual Informal Summits in between the formal ASEAN Summits that take place every three years. The Two Informal Summits have been held in Jakarta in December 1996 and in Kuala Lumpur in December 1997. The Sixth ASEAN Master Summit is scheduled to be convened in Hanoi in December 1998 (ASEAN Organisation..., 1998, Online).
A second tier of meetings called the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings (AMM) are held for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers who meet annually to form...
History of ASEAN. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 13:44, March 28, 2015, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303357459.html