Report

China’s Slowdown Casts Its Shadow over ASEAN

For the past 20 years, double-digit growth in China bolstered manufacturing south of the border, resulting in robust exports to that country from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN comprises ten countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

But as the daily finance pages regularly note, the free-wheeling party days could be over. Fiscal realities have set in, with China’s GDP suffering the same fate as oil prices, currencies and the stock markets. This represents a fall from grace that is threatening the ASEAN region. As Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist for IHS Global Insight, puts it, “China’s growing prominence as a key market for ASEAN exports has increased the vulnerability of many ASEAN countries to China’s economic slowdown.”

In this special report, based on interviews with and opinion pieces by experts, Knowledge@Wharton explores what China’s slowdown will mean for the ASEAN region. We also write about the regional prospects of climate change as well as lessons that ASEAN could learn from the European Union.

Knowledge@Wharton thanks the Tanoto Foundation for its support in publishing this special report. According to its website, the foundation “strives to be a center of excellence in poverty alleviation through education, empowerment and enhancement of quality of lives.”

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Contents:

Has the China-ASEAN Affair Come to an End?

Double-digit growth in China bolstered the ASEAN economies for more than two decades, but the party days could be over.

Three Misunderstandings of China-ASEAN Economic Relations

In this opinion piece, Malcolm Cook, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, explores — and explodes — three myths about the ASEAN countries’ relationships with China, the U.S. and one another.

Why China Will Find It Hard to Exercise Leverage Over the ASEAN Region

John Lee, author of ‘Will China Fail?,’ believes that the ASEAN countries — with a couple of exceptions — could move closer to the U.S. to counter Chinese influence.

How Will ASEAN Members Cope with Their Climate Change Challenge?

In this opinion piece, Stephen Groff, the Asian Development Bank’s vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, argues that regional cooperation is the best way forward.

What Lessons Can ASEAN Learn from the EU?

Does the European Union (EU) offer any lessons to the ASEAN members as they explore closer economic integration? In this opinion piece, Rolf J. Langhammer, a professor at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, draws parallels between the two to explore that question.