August 30, 2010
News Release 10-096
Inv. No. 332-511
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

HIGH PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH, PROXIMITY TO LARGE ASIAN MARKETS, AND FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS BENEFIT ASEAN'S MANUFACTURING EXPORTS, BUT CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE GROWTH REMAIN, SAYS USITC

China is a major competitor for foreign investment and manufacturing jobs

A wide range of factors has supported the growth of ASEAN's manufacturing exports in recent years, but challenges for ASEAN's export competitiveness remain, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its report ASEAN: Regional Trends in Economic Integration, Export Competitiveness, and Inbound Investment for Selected Industries.

Low wages, high productivity growth, diverse production conditions, proximity to large Asian markets, and the region's trade policy environment, including free trade agreements (FTAs), benefit ASEAN's manufacturing exports, according to the report. A shortage of skilled labor and professionals, the lack of an efficient system for setting product standards and conformity assessment procedures, and inadequate physical and institutional infrastructure are challenges ASEAN still faces.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, completed the report at the request of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

As requested, the report provides an overview of regional trends in Southeast Asia in the areas of economic integration, export competitiveness, and inbound investment for six of 12 priority sectors identified in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint adopted in November 2007 (agro-based products, automotives, electronics, healthcare, textiles and apparel, and wood-based products). The report also identifies and describes an industry within each of these priority sectors (palm oil, motor vehicle parts, computer components, healthcare services, cotton woven apparel, and hardwood plywood and flooring) that has undergone significant changes in regional economic integration with other ASEAN members, export competitiveness, or inbound investment in recent years. Information is provided about each industry's export competitiveness, trade flows, investment, and leading competitive factors, including trade facilitation, logistics services, and e-commerce. Highlights of the report follow.

ASEAN: Regional Trends in Economic Integration, Export Competitiveness, and Inbound Investment for Selected Industries (Investigation No. 332-511, USITC Publication 4176, August 2010) will be available on the USITC's Internet site at http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4176.pdf. A CD-ROM of the report may be requested by e-mailing pubrequest@usitc.gov, calling 202-205-2000, or contacting the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.

USITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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