Home » Customs & Trade » Plus Three’s foreign direct investment in ASEAN climbs 62%

Total foreign direct investment (FDI) flow into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from China, Japan and Korea—collectively called the Plus Three Countries—rose to US$14.9 billion last year, a 62.4 percent increase from 2009. These investments made up one-fifth of the total FDI flows into ASEAN in 2010.

The trade figures were presented during a consultation between ASEAN economic ministers (AEM) and their counterparts in China, Japan, and Korea at the 43rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings held in Manado, Indonesia recently.

At the consultation, the AEM and Plus Three ministers acknowledged the importance of ensuring the smooth flow of goods, services and people in the region.

“The ASEAN Plus Three process continues to be a main vehicle to achieve the long-term goal of building an East Asian community. The Plus Three process and the EAS (East Asia Summit) play a complementary and mutually reinforcing role with other regional mechanisms in community building efforts,” said an August 14 ASEAN news release.

Trade with the three East Asian countries, which comprised 26.1 percent of ASEAN’s total trade last year, swelled 28.9 percent from 2009 to $533.3 billion. ASEAN exports rose by 34.9 percent, and imports by 23.5 percent.

Following the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement forged January 1 last year, trade between ASEAN and China returned to an upward trend in 2010 after declining in 2009.

Exports to China went up 39.1 percent to $113.5 billion last year, pushing China to second spot among ASEAN’s largest export destinations. Imports from China also increased by 21.8 percent to $117.7 billion.

China remains ASEAN’s largest trading partner and accounts for 11.3 percent of ASEAN’s total trade. Conversely, ASEAN has been China’s fourth largest trading partner, accounting for 9.8 percent of China’s total trade. But in the first half of 2011, ASEAN improved to become China’s third largest trading partner.

Two-way trade between ASEAN and Korea increased 31.3 percent from 2009 to $98.1 billion last year. Exports to Korea grew by 31.2 percent to $45 billion, while imports ballooned by 31.4 percent to $53.1 billion. Korea remains ASEAN’s fifth largest trading partner, while ASEAN was the second largest trading partner of Korea last year.

FDI flow from Korea to ASEAN more than doubled, shooting upward by about 155.7 percent from 2009 to $3.8 billion last year to make Korea ASEAN’s fourth largest investor.

The year 2010 recorded a strong rebound for ASEAN-Japan trade as well. Exports to Japan saw a 32 percent spike from 2009 to $103.1 billion last year. Total trade increased by 26.7 percent to $203.9 billion. Japan was ASEAN’s third largest trading partner last year with a 10 percent share of the region’s total trade.

Conversely, ASEAN is Japan’s second largest trading partner. FDI from Japan surged by 124.3 percent from 2009 to $8.4 billion last year. Japan holds a share of 11.4 percent of total inward investment to ASEAN last year.

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