Monday, November 9, 2009

The promise of ASEAN regional economy

ASEAN economic indicators

To see the above table, please use your browser's zoom in function.  I have organized the data from largest population size to smallest because I believe that second to a country's economic policy, it is population size which is an important key to assessing a country's economic potential.

ASEAN has matured surprising well over the past 10 years or so, considering the skepticism of many in the international community.  President Obama's signal to strengthen ties with ASEAN is a clear indication of this. Below are two sources of information (via google, of course) I found interesting whose words I could quote rather than write a whole blog about the promise of ASEAN's regional economy myself.

"Asean has a total population of 582 million people, nearly half the size of China. Market size is not only based on Asean but also the Asian region as a whole as Asean is connected to every country through its integration. Asean has a combined GDP of US$1.5 trillion and a total trade of $1.7 trillion with the world market. Of that 27 per cent of trade came from six Asean countries—Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Last year, Asean attracted $60 billion foreign direct investment."

and from The Heritage Foundation's policy paper:

"ASEAN countries have a combined population of more than 500 million people--larger than the population of the European Union. Their combined gross domestic product (GDP) exceeds $1 trillion, which is the 11th largest in the world, ahead of Russia and India."

"The measure of ASEAN's integration is not only intraregional trade and investment flows, but also its attractiveness as an investment destination. From the 1992 launch of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) to the signing of its Economic Community Blueprint in November 2007, achieving economy of scale in ASEAN has always meant attracting greater levels of foreign investment. Yet even as it has sought ever new ways to stay competitive as a region, it has lagged behind market-leader China-- particularly since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. (A few years prior to the crisis, ASEAN actually led China as an investment destination.)"

Towards the end of the above quoted policy paper is a section titled "Why ASEAN's Economic Integration Matters to America", which I will not copy-paste here since it deserves to be read in full at the Heritages website:

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