ASEAN Continues To Be The Region with Best Economic Opportunity

The majority of respondents in a recent survey of the EU-ASEAN Business Council continue to see the ASEAN bloc as the region with the best economic opportunities.  

According to the 6th Business Sentiment Survey, a total of 53 percent see ASEAN as the region offering the best economic opportunities in the post-COVID-19 world.

As many as 47 percent of respondents are considering reorganising supply chains post-COVID-19, and ASEAN, Europe, and China emerge as the top destinations for supply chain reorganisation.

A total of 73 percent of respondents expect to expand their current levels of trade and investment in ASEAN in the next five years, the survey also showed.

An overwhelming majority, 98 percent, of respondents would like the EU to accelerate free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with ASEAN and its members, compared to 96 percent in the 2019 survey.

“This year’s survey confirms that ASEAN is still seen as the region of best economic opportunity, but as would be expected during the COVID-19 crisis, the outlook for increased trade and investment shows signs of softening,” said Donald Kanak, Chairman of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, commenting on the survey.

“Almost half expect supply chains to be reorganised following COVID-19. That makes the unfinished business on the ASEAN economic integration and progress on trade facilitation crucial to ASEAN’s sustainable recovery from the economic downturn,” Kanak added.

“European businesses clearly want the European Commission to step up the pace of negotiations and engagement with Southeast Asia,” Chris Humphrey, Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council, said, noting that European businesses are now adjusting their business strategy according to local environments, rather than waiting for substantial progress in regional economic integration.