The Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed a declaration for establishing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in Nov 2015. A single market that allows the free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and capital across the region, it is due to become fully functional on the last day of 2015.
As ASEAN chair in 2015, Malaysia has the task of organizing celebrations suitable for the history-making trade deal. Foreign investment has poured into the 10-country bloc in anticipation of the AEC, a bet that carries risk.
The AEC makes the region very attractive to investors. It covers 625 million people, more than the United States or the euro zone, and a young workforce means it has few of the demographic worries seen in developed economies.
Reuters points out that investors should be wary of blanket investing because the region is economically variable and ranges from the developed financial center of Singapore to the frontier markets of Myanmar and Laos.
The ASEAN Leaders adopted the ASEAN Economic Blueprint at the 13th ASEAN Summit on Nov 20, 2007, in Singapore to serve as a coherent master plan guiding the establishment of the AEC.
Date written/update: 2015-11-26