Asia’s Business Leaders Expect Mega-Regional Trade and Investment Initiatives to Drive Economic Integration

Business leaders in Asia expect mega-regional trade and investment initiatives to drive economic integration, deepen connectivity and improve the overall business environment in Asia, according to a new research paper released by The Economist Corporate Network (ECN).

Majority (80%) of respondents expect China’s “one belt, one road” (OBOR) initiative to extend Chinese influence throughout the region and 59% expect this to lead to partnerships with Chinese firms. Just fewer than 15% of respondents describe OBOR as “very relevant” to their business today, but 38% expect it to become relevant in the next three years.

The study also reveals that 82% of respondents expect both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to improve the overall business environment, with 56% expecting the deals to result in an improved protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

In spite of concerns around the TPP ratification process, 63% of all respondents expect it to be operational within next three years (only 5% do not expect the TPP to ever be ratified). Meanwhile, 69% of respondents report that membership of TPP makes countries more attractive than non-member countries as investment destinations, with Vietnam being a main beneficiary.

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