The curve has slowed in recent years, but the trend is evident and coincides with the difficulties of the Doha Round. In 2001, 91 cumulative regional trade agreements were in force and 305 are in force. This certainly indicates that the failure of one has influenced the success of others, but that does not mean that we have to choose. It is useful to continue efforts towards multilateral agreements, but knowing that failure will likely lead to more regional agreements. This is not to say that Europeans are not Pharisees, but it does indicate that it could be a smart policy to follow both paths at the same time. Most WTO members adhere to all WTO agreements. However, after the Uruguay Round, four agreements were originally negotiated in the Tokyo round that had a smaller group of signatories and are known as multilateral agreements. All other Tokyo Round agreements became multilateral commitments with the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 (i.e. obligations for all WTO members). The four were the four: the fact that, in some cases, the ASEAN Secretary General also signs such agreements does not matter when such agreements are read as traditional multilateral agreements.
In this reading, the variations of the formula, which ASEAN calls the community, do not diminish the clearly plurilateral nature of the agreements. If ASEAN is called a collective, this can be interpreted as a generic term or an acronym for each member state. This means that it is the governments of asean member states that conclude the agreement, not ASEAN as an institutional entity. The fact that they together form ASEAN does not matter in terms of the nature of the external instrument as a multilateral agreement. In the current nature of external agreements, ASEAN, as an IO, is sidelined. It offers at most a forum for contracting by Member States or serves as a place of coordination. As multilateral agreements, the internal impact of ASEAN`s external agreements is consistent with the effects of another international agreement within ASEAN member states.