Since its formation, ASEAN has seen an underdeveloped region grow into one of the most dynamic drivers of today’s global economy. As it marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2017, the Association’s ten member countries are a significant focus of international investment as Southeast Asia’s success story continues, following the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
The AEC that came into being at the end of 201 5, provides a firm foundation for development in the region by providing the means for further integration of the member states’ economies over the next decade. The single market provided by the AEC, maps a route for an uninhibited flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and a freer flow of capital between all the member countries. Many benefits are likely to result, including access to a huge and expanding single market and a reduction in trade barriers.
ASEAN’s combined GDP stood at US$2.43 trillion in 201 5, firming up the region’s position as a global economic powerhouse. Economic performance is poised to improve further within Southeast Asia, as the
major economies of Indonesia and the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand increase investments despite difficult international trading conditions. While global headwinds weigh on short term growth prospects, Southeast Asia’s own economic outlook is projected to remain resilient, with an average GDP growth of 4.8% predicted in the region during 2017.