This article explores different trends of economic integration in the ASEAN region and their real and potential impacts on the individual national economies in the region. The author appreciated the essence of the ASEAN economic bloc by looking at it largely from the perspective of the countries that form the bloc. It cannot be denied that the economic bloc has grown over the years to the level that its economic size is estimated to be US $ 3.3 trillion. Though it is a cumulative figure, it points to the capacity of the ASEAN economy to expand further, if all countries that form the bloc continue respecting and operating as per the set rules of economic integration.
The author looks at the economics in the region from a prospective angle, where he reports of a possible projected growth in the ASEAN economy as a whole in the coming few years. Therefore, one thing that comes out in the information that is presented by the author is the fact that he dwells more on the collective aspects of integration, rather than focusing on the individual aspects of economic integration in the ASEAN regional economic bloc. This is critical in pointing out the benefits and losses that accrue from the integration at the national level. However, to a certain extent, it can be argued that the author assessed the aspects of economic progress in the entire region, based on the patterns and trends of economic growth in individual economies. An example that can be given from the article is the exploration of the investment/GDP ratio in the Philippines at the early stages of integration in the regional economic bloc.
The other interesting thing to note about the analysis that is done in this article is that fact that the researcher goes deep into pointing out the economic challenges in the ASEAN region; the Asian financial crisis and its impact on individual economies. Furthermore, the analysis conducted by the researcher depicts that economic integration is a great challenge because of the rates and trends of growth in individual nations, which can either be advantageous in some countries or disadvantageous to other countries when it comes to integration aspects of the economy (Hansakul 2013). However, pointing out that there is greater openness in the ASEAN economy by the author is an observation that is subject to debate, owing to the fact that individual economies still align more with the national economic policies compared to the economic policies at the regional economic bloc level.
Hansakul, S 2013, ASEAN Economic Community (AEC): A potential game changer for ASEAN countries. Deutsche Bank, DB Research, viewed 13 February 2013, <http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000315342.pdf>