The bloc’s potential is supported by a thriving young population, growing middle class and rising demand growth across various sectors - yet the scale of the ASEAN opportunity is still often underestimated by Australian business.
" ASEAN provides a solid consumption base for Australia’s goods and services and is slowly developing into a region with a skilled workforce in which to invest.”ASEAN and Australia share a dynamic and complementary relationship. ASEAN as a grouping is Australia’s third-biggest trading partner after China and Europe. With strong demand growth, rising standards of living and a sizable infrastructure deficit, the potential for Australia-ASEAN trade and investment is expected to exceed $US210 billion by 2025.
Why ASEAN stands out
ASEAN is set to become the fourth-largest market after the EU, US and China by 2030. Its population, currently 650 million, is growing by seven million a year and nominal GDP has reached $US2.7 trillion - a near doubling in the past decade.
The median age of ASEAN’s population is well below other bigger economies like China and Korea, which are increasingly grappling with an older population. Among the developing Asian economies, ASEAN’s median age comes close to India’s – a country well recognised as having a substantial ‘demographic dividend’.
A growing urban population and a thriving middle class can feed through into higher economic growth. With ASEAN contributing to Asia’s growing middle class, there will likely be assimilation of new skills, better technology and a growing need for new investment.
ASEAN provides a solid consumption base for Australia’s goods and services and is slowly developing into a region with a skilled workforce in which to invest.