The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Asean: The challenges of regional union

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 is likely to help them flourish. As it stands, Thailand exports more to the four smallest (in terms of GDP) countries in Asean – Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia – than it does to the four largest countries in Europe – Germany, France, Italy and the UK. A fact that helped shelter Thailand from the worst of the global financial crisis.

"Infrastructure in the countries surrounding Thailand is limited, and stock markets there are immature, so it makes sense for Thailand to take the lead in the region and become a gateway to these countries, which the government wants to do," says Pumchai Kambhato, head of investment banking at UBS in Thailand. "But we have a long way to go before this can be realized."

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.

By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree