There is no single or simple solution to ensure SMEs benefit from regional integration schemes – ASEAN economies need to fix key productivity, regulatory, infrastructure, and financing gaps.
TPP and RCEP are not perfect, but they can unlock Asian trade liberalization and growth. Supporting open accession, an eventual Asia-Pacific FTA and complementary national policies will help achieve this end.
The right policies could raise developing Asia’s potential growth by nearly 1 percentage point annually over the next ten years.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership offers hope in in an ocean of trade policy pessimism.
East Asia’s rich experience in global production networks offers valuable lessons for industrial latecomers.
As wages and other business costs increase in East Asia, there is an incentive for some supply chains in food processing and garments to shift to Africa.
Multiple and overlapping initiatives in Asia also risk creating a “noodle bowl” phenomena more usually associated with free trade agreements, which bring high transactions costs for economies and business.
To avoid heavy-handed state intervention in small businesses, we need to think of new ways to make it easier for SMEs to obtain credit from commercial banks in ASEAN economies.
South Asia-Southeast Asia integration is no longer a pipe dream and with national and regional policy attention, it can become a reality.
Latin America is now firmly on the economic radar of Asia in the post-global financial crisis world, with both regions having grown faster than the world economy.