Ever since the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) was established in 1992, economic integration within ASEAN has steadily gained momentum, strengthening cooperation in such areas as trade, services and investment. The ASEAN Investment Area (AIA) was set up in 1992, followed by the entry into force of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) in 1995, 2010 and 2012 respectively.

              To realize the AEC, the AEC Blueprint set goals for ASEAN to become:

               - A single market and production base;

               - A highly competitive economic region;

               - A region of equitable economic development; and

               - A region fully integrated into the global economy.