ASEAN Integration Advocacy Paper 2018


ASEAN’s economic performance continues to improve from 4.8% GDP growth in 2016 to 5.3%/p in 20171 . The combined 2017 GDP of the bloc was at USD2.768 trillion, while its population for the same year was at 643.47 million. In 2017, ASEAN received FDIs that totals to USD137.006 million, with (1) wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and cycles, (2) manufacturing, and (3) financial and insurance activities as the top contributing sectors.

The EU continues to be ASEAN’s second largest trading partner with a share of 13.2% of the bloc’s total world trade in 2017 , while ASEAN is EU’s 3rd top trading partner. ASEAN’s top imports from EU are chemical products, machinery, and transport equipment. On the other hand, the EU’s top imports from ASEAN are machinery and transport equipment, agricultural products, textiles and clothing. The EU also accounted for more than 10 million (8.8%) of the 115.5 million tourists that visited the ASEAN in 2016 . The EU is also by far the largest investor in ASEAN countries. In 2016, the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the region accounted for 31% of the total at USD30.4 billion.

The ASEAN Economic Community serves as the actualization of the region’s fundamental goal of economic integration. The ASEAN Community Vision8 envisions a region that is integrated as a bloc and with the global economy, and highly competitive and innovative. Increasing global interconnectivity and emerging trends and developments pose both opportunities and challenges that need to be taken into great consideration to realize the ASEAN vision and maximize the benefits of an integrated region. We therefore put forth our recommendations to (1) facilitate trade, (2) attract more investments, and (3) increase the region’s competitiveness.