Southeast Asian Countries Come to Fore as Economic Growth Drivers

ASEAN Economic Community pic

ASEAN Economic Community
Image: asean.org

Stephen M. Timms serves as vice president of strategic programs with International Golden Group in Abu Dhabi and engages with a range of international clients. Stephen M. Timms has extensive experience working in Southeast Asia and was based in Kuala Lumpur for nearly four years while an executive at a high-tech defense company.

A recent New York Times article highlights the way in which Southeast Asia is poised to take over as a driver of global economic growth after years of being under China’s shadow. The recently created ASEAN Economic Community includes a population of 600 million and approximately $1.3 trillion in combined GDP.

Key growth drivers are forecast to be the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with the latter country getting over headwinds caused by anti-Chinese riots related to China’s placement of an oil rig in contested waters. This has pushed Vietnam, which is highly reliant on China as a trade partner, toward a Trans-Pacific Partnership spearheaded by the United States.

Less exposed to China, the Philippines has a different challenge to circumvent focused on rebuilding ports, roads, and critical infrastructure. Close collaboration with development partners, including South Korea, Japan, and the World Bank, are seen as critical in getting the Philippines into a position where it can thrive economically.

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