Business opportunities in ASEAN

Find out where ASEAN is heading to

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) aims to foster a strong relationship with its members.

ASEAN member states

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Lao PDR
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The organization feels that the only way to do this is further economic integration in order to achieve its goals. Market research will show how much good they can get out from doing this.

In an effort to promote economic integration, ASEAN leaders signed the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint in November 2007. The AEC has made progress especially when it comes to trading goods but in the long run, it will spark competitiveness and productivity over the entire region.

4 Key pillars of AEC

  • A single market and production base
    • Barriers of trade will be brought down or kept to a minimum. Flows of investment, capital, and skilled labor will be facilitated. Cooperation among sectors will be prioritized.
  • A competitive economic region
    • To cultivate fair competition where institutions and laws can allow businesses to compete fairly.
  • Equitable economic development
    • Policies developed which will aim for SME development ad narrowing gap between countries.
  • Integration into the global economy
    • ASEAN aims to integrates itself better through trade agreements.

Free flow of goods

The ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) was enacted in 2010. The ATIGA contains the full tariff liberalization schedule among ASEAN Member States (AMS) for products to qualify for tariff concessions. At the moment, ATIGA has eliminated tariffs from several countries already.

Not only does ATIGA deal in the reduction and elimination of tariffs, it also empowers the AMS to conduct trade by tackling barriers and these are some of the initiatives created to help companies:

  • Launch of a publicly available ASEAN non-tariff measures (NTMs) database
    • Contains the possible NTMs company will face while trading in each AMS. This provides transparency to traders.
  • Harmonization of national standards and technical regulations through Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs)
    • MRAs eliminate the need for duplicative testing during exports reducing the time-to-time market.

Free flow of skilled labor

The Movement of Natural Persons (MNPs) was signed and agreed upon by AMS to regulate the temporary movement of skilled workers across countries. The MPN was part of an agreement on trade services between countries. These skilled professionals’ qualifications are also recognized in other countries due to MRAs.

Free flow of investments and capital

Investment cooperation is facilitated through the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA). It is the ASEAN’s ways creating a free and open investment regime. It provides greater confidence to investors and maintain their investments in ASEAN.

The progress in trade has been very good between the ASEAN economies. Nevertheless, the ASEAN countries still aim to improve on many points on many levels. Market research will provide constant feedback to these countries in the hopes of making sure that there will be economic growth within Southeast Asia.

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