Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 May 2017
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has continued to pursue a free and open investment regime to promote more investment flows and investment integration in the region. On one hand, an increase in investment flows will sustain economic growth and improve social conditions in terms of employment and technology transfer. On the other, integration will create better investment environment with lower cost and time efficiency.
Despite the global economic turbulence in 2008–09, the trend of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to ASEAN has continuously improved due to strong macroeconomic foundations, increasingly favourable investment climate, and improving policy environment in ASEAN. The attractiveness of ASEAN has considerably increased since the Blueprint of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was signed in November 2007. The Blueprint incorporates several high-impact agreements such as the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), and ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA). These agreements help create a more favourable economic environment for investors and traders in the region by increasing the region's attractiveness for investment, production and trade. Additionally, the ASEAN Agreement on the Movement of Natural Person (MNP) that was signed in November 2012 also aims to facilitate movement of businessmen and professionals in the region. Institutional capacity was also strengthened with the establishment of the ASEAN Investment Forum (AIF) in 2011, with the participation of lead investment agencies from each ASEAN country. Altogether, many regional measures have been undertaken to promote investment climate and strengthen the region's investment environment, resulting in a more free flow of investment across ASEAN.
In addition to the regional initiatives, each ASEAN Member State (AMS) has also introduced measures to further improve their investment climate and facilitate investment flows, i.e., liberalizing their investment regimes, opening up more industries for investment, providing more attractive investment incentives, and simplifying investment procedures and taxation.
This chapter aims to describe the transitional process of ASEAN's regional investment integration as well as its impacts on FDI flows in the region, both inflows and outflows. Empirical evidence are presented together with a discussion on the implications of ASEAN's efforts towards regional integration under the AEC initiatives and key deliverables. The availability of ASEAN investment data, particular the outflow foreign direct investment (OFDI), is limited.