Looking Beyond ASEAN

As the global economy continues to recover from the deep financial and economic crisis of 2008, ASEAN’s regional integration agenda has become more important than ever. It is clear that as the world economy recovers, the high-income economies of North America and Western Europe will need to undergo significant fiscal and structural changes, including lowering consumption and import growth. 

As a result, these traditional economic powerhouse regions will not be the same robust destination markets for manufacturing exports as they were in the past. Emerging and developing economies will have to rely more on China, Japan, South Korea, India and other Asia-Pacific partners for regional trade flows.

Beyond the need to sustain trade in goods, it is also clear that the richer ASEAN economies and other parts of the developing world will now need to focus more on boosting their productivity through diversification into high-end manufacturing and services.