Southeast Asia: Region on the Rise

Post date: Feb 2, 2016 3:50:01 AM

Southeast Asia's 11 countries have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.9 trillion; a population of almost 600 million people; and an average per-capita income nearly equal to China's, according to Southeast Asia: Crouching Tiger or Hidden Dragon?, an article published by the International Economic Bulletin.

While Southeast Asia has experienced significant economic growth over the past 10 years, it is a region at a crossroads. Its continued growth relies on deeper regional cooperation and integration from a policy perspective, and market-driven intervention by businesses that aspire to expand their footprint across the national borders, according to Destination Southeast Asia: A Joint Pathway to Future Growth?, a 2011 report from consulting firm Accenture.

"Early indicators are promising stable real GDP growth; substantial (and growing) consumer markets; strong labor forces; and steady economic and market transitions across its economies," notes the report. "By taking the right path now, the region will be well on its way to becoming a formidable economic powerhouse by 2020."

Here's a closer look at five of the Southeast Asian countries that will lead the way.

Thailand's top export to the United States is computer accessories, followed by telecommunications equipment and fish. Nearly all exports from Thailand depart from the Port of Laem Chabang, and arrive at the Port of Los Angeles. U.S. imports from Thailand were up three percent year-to-date in 2012, compared to 2011.

Thailand has a GDP worth U.S. $602 billion, classifying the country as the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Despite this ranking, Thailand falls midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia, as it is the fourth-richest nation based on GDP per capita—after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.

Vietnam may be the fastest growing of Southeast Asia's emerging economies by 2025, with a potential annual growth rate of about 10 percent in real dollar terms, according to a forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers. That would increase the economy's size to 70 percent of the United Kingdom's by 2050.

Apparel, textiles, and furniture are the top products imported from Vietnam to the United States. "Year-to-date, U.S. imports from Vietnam are up 15 percent compared to 2011, making the country one of the fastest growing suppliers to the United States," notes Rasmussen.

The majority of goods depart from the Port of Vung Tau, and arrive at the Port of Los Angeles. Ocean carriers Maersk Line, Mitsui, and Hanjin have large market shares of import transportation. Read More