23 November 2015
As we set our eyes on the long horizon of economic integration we should not neglect the important role ASEAN can play in the wider region today.
This has been a year of high expectations and of disappointment in Southeast Asia. Rarely has the economic and strategic importance of the region been as apparent. As China’s economy transitions towards “a new normal” marked by lower growth, structural and financial reform, and as the other BRICS markets have also slowed, investors have looked to ASEAN, with its favourable demographics and market-oriented economies, as both an alternative and a complementary market to China.
ASEAN’s prospects have often been approached through the criteria of economic integration. Hopes have centred on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is being inaugurated as we speak. The bold language of “a single market and production base” and of the launch of an economic community implies a change in the way business will be done in Southeast Asia. The reality is slow and incremental progress.
… John Pang is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
SRP / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015