Free-Trade Agreements use in Southeast Asia


This report by the Economist Intelligence Unit examines the Free-Trade Agreements – FTA – in South-East Asia and their real usefulness for business. With a lot of feedback from professionals involved in international trade, it will help companies and governments apprehend current and upcoming FTAs.

Key findings on the use of Free-Trade Agreements in Southeast Asia

  • Free-Trade Agreements are used by few exporters: each FTA is used only by an average of 26% of Southeast Asian exporters, and only 50% of exporters use the ASEAN Free-Trade Agreement. This is partly due to their cmplexity and their lack of ambition, accoding to 48% of respondents.
  • Most exporters (81%) want FTAs with a comprehensive vision that not only cuts tariffs but also tackle trade in services, e-commerce, intellectual property rights, customs cooperation and other regulations that hinder trade.
  • 77% of exporters want FTAs with bigger economies, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and the ASEAN Economic Community, hoping that they will bring simpler and more comprehensive frameworks together with more interesting opportunities.

For a more comfortable reading, it is quite suggested to open the report in full screen!

This report is partly based on a survey of 400 exporters from a varied range of industries from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam conducted in the first quarter of 2014 that included.

FTAs in Southeast Asia – Summary

  • Executive Summary – page 2
  • About the research – page 4

Chapter 1: There but unused – page 5

  • Utilisation gap – page 5
  • Recognising the benefits, but abhorring the costs – page 6
  • Getting the message out – page 9

Chapter 2: Life inside the “noodle bowl” – page 11

  • An ambitious trade agenda – page 12
  • No easy path to information – page 14
  • Case study: Hoa Sen: Pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership – page 15

Chapter 3: Tariffs are just the beginning – page 16

  • Taking FTAs to the next level – page 16
  • Invisible enemies – page 17
  • Case study: The eCEOs: Laborious work – page 18

Chapter 4: ASEAN, the AEC and China: A changing trade relationship – page 19

  • Mutual benefits – page 20
  • A piece of the action – page 22
  • Just words? – page 22
  • Case study: YCH: Gradualism the key for ASEAN integration – page 23

Conclusion: Is ASEAN ready for 21st century trade? – page 24

View this report from Economist Intelligence Unit website

One Reply to “Free-Trade Agreements use in Southeast Asia”

  1. The novel feature about ASEAN FTAs are – that they are free trade “areas” not “agreements” – and with AIFTA, ACFTA, AKFTA, AANZFTA and AJCEPA – individually partnered by Asian countries with ASEAN — India, China, Korea, Australia+New Zealand and Japan, these FTAs have been adopted by all the members with varying imports tariff and preferences for their members and their partnering countries – so, there are over 50 import tariffs – in different combinations – in the ASEAN region. Not to say more, in addition, the ASEAN members have their own FTA – ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), – certainly, an overwhelming choice for the commerce and industry !

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