Asean: The challenges of regional union

Kanika Saigal
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By 2015, the establishment of the Asean Economic Community will lower trade barriers between countries in southeast Asia. The agreement will bring opportunities for increased trade and investment, but for Thailand it also means that in less than three years the country will need to grapple with growing competition from the rest of the Asean region.

At the same time, southeast Asia is becoming a lot more competitive. In China, wages are rising and infrastructure is stretched, making southeast Asia a viable alternative to diversify business.

Thailand stands to benefit in the AEC because of its location and level of development. Geographically, it is surrounded by Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. Although these countries are relatively small, increased foreign direct investment...