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Published: 07 January 2014

Agility: What the ASEAN Free Trade Area means for trucking

About 55 percent of Asia’s total trade wasconducted within the region in 2012, up from 45 percent 10 years ago. We also see the Free Trade Agreements being signed between countries in Asia as a positive development for the future. Currently the number of exporters using the FTA’s is small but growing.

The ASEAN-China FTA will provide a boost for trade in the region and should help ease delays at Customs particularly on the road borders where we see the most potential for growth in trade.

Within Asia, bilateral trade corridors involving China and India will be the fastest growing sectors – leading the way for Asia
(excluding Japan) to make up roughly one-third of the world’s total economy by 2020, double the region’s current levels.
Agility sees import demand from emerging markets in Asia increasing as consumption develops to become an important
growth engine for the region. All the analysis we are seeing suggests that there will be considerable growth in disposable
income levels, and increased urbanization throughout Asia. A dramatic increase in middle class wealth across Asia is expected.

The establishment of free trade across ASEAN by 2015 is also a key factor higher intra-regional trade. The recently published Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, now in its fourth year, China ranked number one and Indonesia at number five and Malaysia at number eight and were among the top performers Asia in the overall Index rankings.

There are indications that the region’s dependence on established trading blocs is diminishing as consumer classes across the region grow and internal and intraregional trade becomes more important. Confidence in Asian markets was evident among the trade and logistics professionals survey. They selected Intra-Asia trade as having the greatest potential for growth. Elsewhere, survey respondents pointed to Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan as Asian countries poised to become major logistics markets.

Read more about this topic in our Malaysia Issue 15 and Singapore Issue 8.