The United States 2010 Report on the Asean Markets

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In August 2010, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) published a report about the Asean markets. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conformed by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The report addressed Asean markets productivity growth, free trade agreements, manufacturing exports, and the future of Asean markets. One of the main conclusions of this report is the fact that China, not surprisingly, is the major competitor for foreign investment and manufacturing jobs for Asean countries. This article provides a summary of the ITC’S report.

The ITC report is titled ASEAN: Regional Trends in Economic Integration, Export Competitiveness, and Inbound Investment for Selected Industries (hereafter the Report) and was published in August 2010. This Report was requested by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and provides an overview of regional trends in Southeast Asia. The report states that the following factors benefit Asean”s manufacturing exports: low wages, diverse production conditions, high productivity growth, proximity among large markets, and the region’s trade policy environment, including free trade agreements. Hence, Asean markets still face some challenges such as a shortage of skilled labor and professionals, lack of an efficient system for product standards and conformity assessment procedures, inadequate physical and institutional infrastructure, among others. The six main priority sectors in the Asean markets are: agro-based products, automotives, electronics, healthcare, textiles and apparel, and wood-based products. Among these, the most relevant sub-industries are palm oil, motor vehicle parts, computer components, healthcare services, cotton woven apparel, and hardwood plywood and flooring.

The Report highlights the following conclusions,

(1) Asean countries “are committed to liberalize trade and investment in logistic services by 2013;” such as customs brokerage, freight forwarding and express delivery. These services currently vary in quality across members. For example, these services are “world-class” in Singapore, but poor in Laos, Cambodia and Burma, the Report says.

(2) Technical infrastructure such as broadband connections, and people’s computer skills are important areas to improve so Asean markets can expand their e-commerce transactions. E-Commerce laws have been implemented in general, but the technical and human resources factors need to improve.

(3) “China is the major competitor to Asean countries in foreign investment and integrating regional production chains.” Yet, China recently signed a free trade agreement with Asean countries; this is expected to offer better opportunities for Asean countries.

(4) Trade among Asean members must improve, the Report states; particularly in certain countries such as Laos and Cambodia, where procedural requirements are cumbersome. Importing and exporting procedures are easy in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

(5) Asean Industry Roadmaps for Integration (Roadmaps) have promoted tariff reduction and facilitate certain administrative procedures; yet, regional integration has not been fully accomplished through the use of these Roadmaps. Asean countries still see each other as competitors for inbound investment and jobs.

Courtesy of Internet Business Law Services

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3 Responses to “The United States 2010 Report on the Asean Markets”

  1. […] posted here: The United States 2010 Report on the Asean Markets « China Lawyer Filed under: chinese lawyer, lawyer Comment (0) Article tags: asean, asean-markets, […]

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