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Why does ASEAN matter now? Part I

ASEAN What?

ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It was created in 1967 by five founding countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. A few more nations signed on eventually. Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Vietnam joined in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar joined in 1997, Cambodia joined in 1999. So at the moment, there are total of 10 nations that make up ASEAN.

Buy Why?

Essentially, there are 7 objectives of ASEAN. Namely these are:

  1. Accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development
  2. Promote regional peace and stability
  3. Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest
  4. Provide assistance in the form of training and research facilities
  5. Collaborate more effectively for greater expansion of trade
  6. Promote Southeast Asian studies
  7. Maintain close cooperation with other international and regional organizations

Does ASEAN really have its own flag?

Yes, it does. The image of the flag is shown below. The circle represents unity of ASEAN.

ASEAN flag

ASEAN flag

Why should my company be concerned with ASEAN?

Well, considering that just 1% of U.S. based companies currently export outside of the USA, ASEAN represents a great opportunity for your business. During 2010, total trade between ASEAN countries and U.S. amounted to more than $70 billion. We would say it is a segment of the globe that should not be ignored if you’re looking for new markets for your company. Currently China, EU, and Japan trade more with ASEAN nations than the USA does. Less than half of 1% who export currently export to just one country, mostly Mexico and Canada. Needless to say, there are tremendous opportunities for U.S. based companies given than 95% of world’s consumers live outside of the USA.

What can you tell me about ASEAN nations?

We’re glad you asked. Here are some rich gems for each of the ASEAN nations that can help in deciding where you want to expand.

  1. Indonesia:
    • Southeast Asia’s largest economy
    • Its economy was among the top world-wide performers during the recession of 2009
    • During the recession of 2009, its stock market valuation was up 87%
    • Has  stable currency
    • Has dramatically improved its credit status
    • GDP per person is higher than Philippines and Vietnam
    • Top-ten market for U.S. agricultural products
    • Number of households with annual disposable income of $5,000 to $15,000 should expand from 36% of total population to nearly 60% of total population by the year 2020
    • Around 60 million low-income consumers will be joining the middle class within the next 10 years
    • Where do opportunities exist:
      1. Mining
      2. Energy
      3. Agribusiness Equipment & Services
      4. Aircraft Market
      5. Telecommunications Technology
      6. Satellites
      7. Software & Information Technology

Stay tuned to Part II of this white paper where we will provide rich gems on the other 8 ASEAN nations.

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