ASEAN Trade Still Bilateral

A New Export Landscape for ASEAN and Asia examines the movement of goods across borders in Asia, with ASEAN as the starting point. The study reveals that ASEAN is at a crossroads between trying to foster deeper integration with fellow ASEAN member countries or falling away to develop individual bilateral trading relationships with China.

With the exception of Vietnam, the share of exports to China from all ASEAN countries in the study has risen sharply while intra-ASEAN trade has shown a declining growth trend.

The study concentrated on the ASEAN’s six largest economies: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Trading volumes have changed over the past seven years. The composition of trade has shifted, and most importantly, trade flows have realigned to respond to changing economic and business conditions, says DHL. For ASEAN to sustain growth, governments and businesses alike will have to understand how trade patterns and flows are evolving, particularly as new centers of manufacturing (such as China and India) rise in the global trading system, continues the report.

“Our role as a trade facilitator goes beyond the movement of goods to the pursuit of trade patterns and how they are changing across Asia and globally,” said Dan McHugh, CEO of DHL Express-Asia Pacific.

Though intra-ASEAN trade has declined compared with the rise of China, McHugh and DHL believe the region will stand firm and continue to grow.

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