Liberar el potencial de la ASEAN

SINGAPUR – ¿Pueden diez países con culturas, tradiciones, idiomas, sistemas políticos y niveles de desarrollo económico diferentes aumentar su potencial colectivo actuando en forma coordinada? Hace décadas que la Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste Asiático (ASEAN) se esfuerza por responder esta pregunta. Y a juzgar por los ambiciosos planes de cooperación de sus líderes, la respuesta tal vez sea afirmativa.

Lo que comenzó como una simple iniciativa de reducción de aranceles se ha convertido en un proyecto para la creación de un dinámico mercado abierto con 600 millones de consumidores y una base de producción capaz de competir directamente con las mayores economías del mundo. Una vez creada, la denominada comunidad económica de la ASEAN (AEC) transformará el sudeste de Asia y su papel en la economía global.

La ASEAN tiene, sin duda, un potencial económico impresionante. En conjunto, los miembros del grupo (Brunéi, Camboya, Filipinas, Indonesia, Laos, Malasia, Myanmar, Singapur, Tailandia y Vietnam) formarían la séptima economía más grande del mundo. Además, el comercio internacional de la ASEAN casi se triplicó durante la última década, y la región atrae un flujo de inversión extranjera directa debido al interés de empresas multinacionales en capitalizar el veloz crecimiento de su clase media y su ubicación estratégica entre China, Japón y la India.

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