Trade between ASEAN countries and their major trading partners
ASEAN economies weathered the recent global financial crisis relatively well. The region’s economic growth plummeted during the worse of the
crisis in 2009 but quickly rebounded in the following yea...
r. ASEAN countries currently supply 15% of total output in developing Asia and 25% of the region’s total trade. Robust domestic demand is a key
reason for the region’s resilience under the recent crisis. Countries with large domestic consumer markets, like Indonesia, managed to weather
the crisis well by relying on domestic demand. In addition, more prudent
fiscal management in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in 1997–1998 has given ASEAN countries more scope to stimulate domestic economies through fiscal expansion (ADB 2010). Other advantages, such as abundant natural resources and slower wage growth than in the PRC, have contributed to the dynamism of the region’s economies. All of these factors helped ASEAN countries avoid a collapse in GDP during the global financial crisis and contributed to the region’s sharp recovery immediately afterward.
This analysis does not mean that international trade is no longer important to the region. As global trade rebounded in 2010, the larger ASEAN members—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand—saw their exports grow sharply, fueling stronger consumption and investment that supported
growth (ADB 2011).
A change in trade structure has also helped secure trade for the region. Since 2000, total trade within ASEAN and with the PRC and India has grown much more quickly than trade with ASEAN’s traditional partners among the advanced economies (Figure 1.2.1). Greater trade within developing Asia helped cushion the impact of soft export demand from traditional markets during the recent crisis.
--- a) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 10 are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar,
the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
--- b) The euro area 17 are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal,
Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.
Source: UN Comtrade (accessed 4 March 2013).