The United Kingdom’s post-Brexit trade policy sheds a bright light upon opportunities for deeper ties with the ASEAN region. Jon Lambe, the U.K. ambassador to ASEAN has outlined that ASEAN is high priority for them. The U.K. government has already successfully become a dialogue partner with ASEAN earlier in 2021 and is also looking to join the CPTPP Asia Pacific trade agreement. The chart uses data from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics to show the historical values of trade in goods and services between the UK and their five biggest trading partners in ASEAN.
- The U.K.’s trade with the countries shown has increased over the past two decades, with the average value of exports to the countries 3.9-fold higher in 2019 than in 1999, and the average value of imports from the countries 4.3-fold higher in 2019 than in 1999.
- Singapore has consistently been the U.K.’s biggest trading partner in ASEAN, with exports increasing nearly four-fold, and exports increasing by 2.5 times in the time period shown.
- Vietnam and Thailand have been steadily exporting more to the U.K. than they import over the past decade. Indonesia has followed a similar balance to a lesser extent, while Malaysia has fluctuated between a net importer and a net exporter in the time period shown.
- The U.K. has already signed free trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam, which was facilitated by previous FTAs in place with the EU. The U.K. will need to forge deals from scratch with other ASEAN members and is already engaging with Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia for potential deals.
- Adding the U.K. to the CPTPP trade deal would be mutually beneficial for U.K. and ASEAN. Of the European countries, currently only Germany, the Netherlands and France have bigger portions of trade with the ASEAN nations.
by GUPTA, Sunena