Autumn 2019 Update
A busy schedule of political events in Southeast Asia in early-2019 has occupied the minds of observers, however the elections are unlikely to alter business conditions in the near to medium term.
Elections in Thailand and Indonesia will likely see the re-elections of a pro-business candidate (Jokowi) and pro-military candidate (Prayut) with economic conditions continuing largely within the current status quo. Where the changes will affect Australian exporters largely falls within policy decisions of the respective bureaucracies, including reforms of the Halal Certification policy in Indonesia and ongoing Industry 4.0 strategy in Thailand.
Indonesian Halal Certification Policy
Halal certification of an expanded range of products will become mandatory from October 2019 covering products with any biological matter, including all chemical, biological and genetically engineered products in addition to traditional consumer goods such as food and beverage. While this is believed to ultimately streamline the certification process, it also poses significant issues for exporters to comply with the regulations prior to October.
Thai Industry 4.0 Strategy
The Industry 4.0 strategy from the Thai Government aims to modernize the digital economy and connectivity of Thailand through a range of initiatives including widening Thailand’s WIFI hotspot network, cultivating start-up and innovative communities and raising the technological capability of its workforce through STEM education. As 2019’s ASEAN Chair, Thailand has chosen Industry 4.0 as its key focus with the proposition of a Regional Industrial 4.0 Development Plan which in turn will help to shape digital related non-tariff barriers across the region.
While economic growth is steady across the region, nationalist economic policy has been a focus of recent election campaigns in Indonesia and Thailand and it has also been prevalent in Malaysia and the Philippines, where politicians have sought to combat negative export growth with economic policies targeting the growth of domestic manufacturers. This has not negatively affected Victorian exports to the region overall but will continue to be closely watched by Global Victoria for future policy changes.
Spring 2018 Update
On 11 September 2018 the Minister for Trade and Investment launched Globally Connected: Victoria’s Southeast Asia Trade and Investment Strategy.
By identifying pathways for trade and investment into Southeast Asia’s fast-growing markets, the Strategy will help boost the state’s economy, increase the Asia capability of local businesses and attract new investment.
The Southeast Asia Trade and Investment Strategy,aims to grow bilateral ties, promote Victoria and identify opportunities in the region in education, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and professional services, ICT, and the health and medical technology sectors. These sectors offer the most prospective opportunities in the region and are well-aligned with Victoria’s industry strengths and capabilities.
Four Key Pillars:
- Direction One: Facilitate Market Entry recognises the importance of supporting trade liberalisation and developing an Asia-capable state to enhance our engagement across the region.
- Direction Two: Promote Victorian Capabilities demonstrates how we are helping Victorian businesses make the most of in-market opportunities in countries across Southeast Asia.
- Direction Three: Identify Emerging Opportunities provides insights into complementarities between Southeast Asia’s emerging trends and the goods and services Victorian businesses have to offer.
- Direction Four: Strengthen Ties recognises the importance of connections at the cultural, government, business and institutional levels to facilitate economic relations across the region.
These directions set out to achieve four key outcomes for Victoria’s economic ties with Southeast Asia over the next ten years:
- Grow the value of Victoria’s professional services exports to Southeast Asia by 50 per cent
- Double the number of Southeast Asian student enrolments to Victoria
- Increase visitor expenditure from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to Victoria by 50 per cent; and
- Double the value of inbound investment from Southeast Asia to Victoria
The Victorian Government is focused on deepening and strengthening engagement with our priority markets of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Global Victoria is taking exploratory steps to deepen our engagement with the Philippines and Myanmar. The Strategy highlights the pivotal role the network of Victorian Government Trade and Investment Offices, based in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, play in helping connect Victorian businesses to the region and strengthening our trade relationships.
Why Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia’s economic growth trajectory is compelling - individual countries have experienced significant economic growth over the last several decades. Home to powerhouses and emerging economies of the 21st century such as Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, the region’s growth path is set to become stronger and more dynamic.
Victoria’s economic relationship with Southeast Asia is well-established. The region is our second largest trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade valued at $15.3 billion in 2016-17, an increase of over 30 per cent in the last decade. But there are more opportunities to deepen our relationships and capitalise on the dynamic markets on our doorstep.
Southeast Asia has a population of more than 630 million people. If the region was a single country, it would already be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $US2.5 trillion in 2017. The region continues to outpace global economic growth rates. By 2030, the region is forecast to be the world’s fourth largest economy.
The emerging opportunities in digital technology are a particular focus for the Strategy and Global Victoria. The Strategy envisions more investment and collaboration between Victoria’s tech sector and the ecosystems in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. To expand Victorian businesses’ access to opportunities in the region’s tech sector, Global Victoria will continue to lead tech and ICT focused trade delegations, such as CommunicAsia. the Singapore International Cyber Week Conference and the World Cities Summit.
Read the Strategy
- Find out how Victoria's partnership with the region will create jobs and economic development for both Victoria and Southeast Asia by downloading and reading the full Strategy PDF, 3.0 MB.
- Download and read an accessible version of the full Strategy DOCX, 674.6 KB.
Winter 2018 Update
Since a public announcement on 5 March 2018, Global Victoria has continued work on the development of a Southeast Asia Trade and Investment Strategy. Southeast Asia is Victoria’s second largest trading partner and vital to our economic growth and prosperity. There are significant opportunities to deepen our trade, investment, education, people-to-people and cultural ties with the dynamic countries of Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asia Trade and Investment Strategy outlines the Victorian Government’s commitment to strengthening ties with the region. The Victorian Government has a role to play in improving Victorian business skills, capabilities and access to do business in countries across Southeast Asia. The Strategy’s main themes are consistent with Victoria’s Globally Connected Trade Statement.
Actions featured in the Strategy have been designed to drive trade and investment outcomes in areas where Victoria’s industry capabilities align with market demand and emerging opportunities in the region. Raising awareness of opportunities in Southeast Asia will play a pivotal role in diversifying and securing Victoria’s economic future.
Global Victoria consulted widely with business and industry leaders to conduct an in-depth market analysis of the opportunities present in Southeast Asia. Your views and insights were critical in deepening our shared understanding of the Southeast Asian markets.
We hope the upcoming launch of the Strategy will enable Victorian business and industry to seize the many exciting opportunities available on our doorstep in Southeast Asia.
Trade missions to Southeast Asia
Since March 2018, Global Victoria has led a series of targeted trade missions to Southeast Asia. Trade missions play an important role in helping Victorian businesses meet potential partners, expand their networks, exchange information and find new business opportunities. Global Victoria plays a pivotal role in facilitating introductions and providing access to a wide network across Southeast Asia. Successful trade missions to Southeast Asia, including Food and Hotel Asia, CommunicAsia, and the Smart and Liveable Cities trade mission have helped open new opportunities for Victorian firms.
Autumn 2018 Update
The Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) is comprised of 10-member states, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. If the region were a single country, it would already be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $US2.7 trillion in 2017. Home to more than 630 million people, it has a larger population than the European Union or North America, and the third-largest labour force in the world, behind China and India.
The region’s youthful population, declining fertility rates and stronger workforce participation is producing a demographic dividend, with ASEAN’s working-age population expected to account for 68 per cent of the total population by 20251.
ASEAN has dramatically outpaced the rest of the world in growth of GDP per capita since the late 1970s. This has been closely linked to high rates of urbanisation. Over one third of ASEAN’s population already lives in cities, but this third contributes more than two thirds of the region’s GDP. It is estimated that an additional 90 million people will live in cities by 2030, which could add more than US$50 billion to ASEAN’s GDP2.
Already some 67 million households in the region are part of the “consuming class”, with incomes exceeding the level at which they can begin to make significant discretionary purchases. That number could almost double to 125 million households by 2025, making ASEAN a pivotal consumer market of the future3. These consumers will be younger, with more discretionary spending power and a greater focus on premium products.
Victoria has a great opportunity to capitalise on the significant and growing markets on its doorstep in the ASEAN region. We have good economic relationships with key markets in the region and a well-established presence in market, with Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia – but more can be done to better leverage existing links, relationships and expected growth in the region.
ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy
On 5 March 2018, the Minister for Trade and Investment announced the preparation of a Victorian Government ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy. The strategy will directly address the key opportunities and challenges coming from the region, and will build on the strong existing two-way connections between the parties.
The Victorian Government values your insights with regard to opportunities to grow and diversify the trade, investment and people-to-people relationships between Victoria and ASEAN. To guide the direction of the Strategy, we want your views on the future of Victoria’s engagement with the region: What is important to enhance trade and investment? What sectors should we focus on? What can we do better?
Read the discussion paper PDF, 102.2 KB for more information on the ASEAN Trade and Investment Strategy.
Submissions close 5PM, 29 May 2018.