To stave off competition from India and China, Economic Ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted urgent measures and advanced deadlines to develop a unified and integrated market by 2015. ASEAN nations are afraid that increasing resilience of Indian and Chinese economy may eclipse their own as better investment destinations.
Advancing the deadline from the earlier 2020, the ASEAN Economic Community sees its 10 economies integrated along the European Union model where there will be free flow of goods and services enhancing the USD 1 trillion economies. However, unlike the EU, there is
no consensus on a single currency. While the majors will comply to this aggressive deadline, weaker members such as Kampuchea, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam are not expected to comply with the new guidelines.
Increasing preference to the larger Indian and Chinese economies by investors are affecting the ability of the dominant players in the grouping such as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. While Singapore has already refined its economy to adapt to the new developments, Malaysia is behind times and often resorts to punitive action against non-existent threats from especially India. It has
stalled a Free Trade Agreement with India to gain extra leverage for its own products such as palm oil and indulged in racially motivated attacks on Hindu and Indian-descendant minorities.