ASEAN Briefing Turns One Year Old

Posted by Reading Time: 5 minutes

In the year since we launched ASEAN Briefing, awareness of what ASEAN is and its importance to China, India and Asia as a whole has significantly increased.

First off, there is a growing awareness of its size. ASEAN represents the world’s third largest free trade area, only behind the European Union and the North America Free Trade Agreement. It is, however, the world’s largest in terms of population – some 600 million people live in the ASEAN region, making it a primary resource for two reasons – a fast growing middle class consumer base and a new global driver for manufacturing.

As growth in China slows and its population ages, that worker dividend that China has enjoyed for the past twenty years is coming to a close. It is two Asian locations – India and ASEAN – that are set to inherit this productive and dynamic new human capital resource.

In fact, we are already seeing the shift. Foxconn, the global manufacturer of Apple’s products, are beginning to shift their production away from China and to India and Indonesia, the only two markets that can offer human capital in the required numbers. Indonesia, of course, is ASEAN’s largest member by population – and with 260 million, is the world’s fourth most populous nation.

ASEAN is having an impact far beyond its own borders however. With free trade agreements in force with both China and India, import duties and tariffs have been largely eliminated on 90 percent of all traded products between ASEAN and these nations. Never before has there been such a free flow of goods right across Asia.

For China manufacturers being squeezed by the increasing costs of labor, ASEAN offers a get out clause – cheaper labor in ASEAN nations such as Vietnam mean production can be shifted outside of China yet still imported into China for their fast domestic consumer market at very little dutiable rates. The same is true of India – itself with a massive consumer middle class of 250 million.

ASEAN, therefore, is becoming the central focal point for Asia. With Singapore as its de facto financial and services hub, with world class infrastructure, banking, financial and support services, ASEAN is poised to very much play a key role in what is fast now becoming the Asian century.

With ASEAN, China, and India all tied together and further treaties being negotiated that have the potential to bring in Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, it is the benefits of being an ASEAN player that will project global manufacturers and sourcing companies into becoming MNC competitive over the next decade. ASEAN, quite simply, holds the combination to deliver the future prosperity of Asia and the key to deliver manufacturing for the world markets.

Meanwhile, ASEAN Briefing has become fixed as a go-to source for ASEAN market intelligence. With several hundred Double Tax Agreements archived on the site, together with regular updates on trade negotiations and legal, tax and regulatory news that affects all ASEAN countries – and those that trade with them – ASEAN Briefing has become an important resource in understanding the development of ASEAN and its impact upon Asia as a whole. This is one of the reasons why Euromoney have chosen the publication as their media partner for their ASEAN conferences.

To ensure you receive our regular ASEAN and Asia Briefing weekly updates, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.

For further details or to contact the firm, please email, visit, or download our brochure.

You can stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends across Asia by subscribing to Asia Briefing’s complimentary update service featuring news, commentary, guides, and multimedia resources.

Related Reading

Are You Ready for ASEAN 2015?
ASEAN integration in 2015, and the Free Trade Agreements China has signed with ASEAN and its members states, will change the nature of China and Asia focused manufacturing and exports. In this important issue of Asia Briefing we discuss these developments and how they will impact upon China and the Global Supply Chain.

The Gateway to ASEAN: Singapore Holding Companies
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we highlight and explore Singapore’s position as a holding company location for outbound investment, most notably for companies seeking to enter ASEAN and other emerging markets in Asia. We explore the numerous FTAs, DTAs and tax incentive programs that make Singapore the preeminent destination for holding companies in Southeast Asia, in addition to the requirements and procedures foreign investors must follow to establish and incorporate a holding company.

The 2014 Asia Tax Comparator
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we examine the different tax rates in 13 Asian jurisdictions – the 10 countries of ASEAN, plus China, India and Hong Kong. We examine the on-the-ground tax rates that each of these countries levy, including corporate income tax, individual income tax, indirect tax and withholding tax. We also examine residency triggers, as well as available tax incentives for the foreign investor and important compliance issues.
An Introduction to Development Zones Across Asia
In this issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, we break down the various types of development zones available in China, India and Vietnam specifically, as well as their key characteristics and leading advantages. We then go on to provide a snapshot of the latest development zones across the rest of Asia. With several hundred development zones operating in the region, it is impossible to cover them all in the pages of just one publication. However, we hope that this issue will provide the basic fundamentals to understanding one of the most important business tools available to international businesses operating in Asia.