Michael Ewing-Chow

is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS) where he teaches corporate law and world trade law. He has a LLB (First Class Honors) from NUS and a LLM from Harvard. After graduation, he worked in the corporate department of Allen & Gledhill before returning to NUS, He, with some colleagues, started the first World Trade Law course at NUS and became involved in negotiations for Singapore’s early free trade agreements. He has been a consultant to the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance as well as the World Bank and the WTO. Michael has also been involved in the building of trade law capacity of government officials in Asia and Latin America. On the corporate side, he has also assisted the Singapore Company Law Reform and Frameworks Committee which was tasked in 2001 with a major overhaul of corporate law in Singapore and in 2008 was appointed to a Working Group of the Steering Committee for the review of the Singapore Companies Act. Michael also volunteers with various local NGOs and co-founded aidha, an NGO which provides financial education and microfinance opportunities for domestic migrant workers and for which he was awarded a Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007. He was also awarded the Teaching Excellence Award in 2007 and the Inspiring Mentor Award in 2009.

Research Project

Comparing Apples and Bananas: How should ASEAN look at the EU?

The ASEAN Charter was signed on 20 November 2007 at the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore. At the signing, the ASEAN members also declared that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) would be implemented by 2015. Some commentators have suggested that the Charter does not sufficiently address the problems of integrating the member states of an organization famous for its consensual ASEAN Way. In the months before the signing of the Charter, the then ASEAN Secretary General, Ong Keng Yong, said that the AEC would look towards the European Union (EU), while not as a model, for best practices and ideas. However, others have suggested that the EU is too different for ASEAN to look towards. It is, therefore, important to understand if and how ASEAN should look at the EU for best practices and ideas since “best” denotes a comparative analysis using an appropriate comparator. The genesis of ASEAN appears to be distinctly different from the arguably liberal (and perhaps democratic peace) theory inspired genesis of the EU.  ASEAN arose not from the ashes of the Second World War but from the real politick of the Cold War. Focusing primarily on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the paper will ask a normative jurisprudential question of “What is “best” for ASEAN?” Since it is difficult to discern much less agree on a common ASEAN vision and ASEAN appears, at present, to be largely tied together either by self-interest of member states or enlightened self-interest that promotes their common interests, the paper will adopt the stated objective of integration as the appropriate comparator. Thus, the paper will ask what sort of “best practices” ASEAN should adopt to promote the integration it wants taking into account the EU’s experience with integration.