FTAs in Southeast Asia: Towards the Next Generation

Small to medium-sized exporters in four countries in ASEAN (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam) believe that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are the best hope for the future of their overseas businesses.

But there is a gap between the usage of FTAs and awareness of its values and benefits: it is down to the current stage of development of FTAs and the quality of existing deals.

In a study sponsored by HSBC, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 400 exporters about their use of FTAs and their attitudes towards these agreements. In particular, the reports examines how low-usage rates of FTAs reflect their complexity and limit preferential access, despite many exporters placing high hopes on FTAs for next-generation trade deals.


  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1: There But Unused
  • Chapter 2: Life Inside the “Noodle Bowl”
  • Chapter 3: Tariffs Are Just the Beginning
  • Chapter 4: ASEAN, the AEC and China: A Changing Trade Relationship
  • Conclusion 

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