ASEAN Business Information for Technology Companies

Patent Attorney in Asia

ASEAN stands for The Association of Southeast Asian Nations which is a regional organization that comprises ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and provide the facility of political, economic, security, educational, military, and socio-cultural integration among its members such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia and Laos. These facilities are provided to the other countries of Asia also. ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in the Philippines with its  headquarter in Jakarta, Indonesia. The founders of ASEAN are Abdul Razak Hussein, Narciso Ramos, Adam Malik, S. Rajaratnam, and Thanat Khoman.

In February 2016, the United States hosted its first-ever ASEAN Summit. The meeting was part of President Obama’s efforts to strengthen economic and security ties with Southeast Asia. The US’s interest in ASEAN countries has grown significantly in recent years as tensions rise over the highly disputed South China Sea. ASEAN is a political and economic alliance of ten countries. The group’s five original member states are Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, founded ASEAN in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam war. At the time, many Southeast Asian governments were at war with their respective communist-led groups. Guerrilla groups and leaders became increasingly concerned over the region’s political vulnerability. So, they formed an alliance to secure the region against the threat of communism and to give Southeast Asia a cohesive voice on Cold War issues.

ASEAN wants growth with the available rich resource reserves and an established manufacturing base which, only be possible by the regional economic integration agenda of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The main function of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is to realize the region’s end goal of economic integration. ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) visualize ASEAN as a single market and production base, a highly competitive region, with economic development, and integrated into the global economy. The Asian Economic Community facilitates the implementation of trade, investment, and services which, is necessary for each ASEAN member state.  ASEAN’s economic performance is very good across the globe. The region’s investment prospects in the ASEAN member state have made consistent growth.

Intra-ASEAN trade and Extra-ASEAN trade has been boosted by the prospect of an integrated ASEAN economy in the form of a unified market and single production platform through the free flow of goods and services, capital, investments, and skilled labour. In the future, it may be possible that the ten members of the ASEAN may persuade FDI to invest in their region, and several alternatives are there to make the region in to a better competition against a global economy. It is necessary to apply liberalization of trade, integration of capital markets, and standardization of legal and regulatory frameworks in the region of these states of ASEAN which, reduces the difficulty for doing business in these states.  

ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) was established in the year 1992 at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore in response to other emerging regional groups such as NAFTA, EU, etc. The main objective of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement is to create a single market and an international production base. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) attracts FDI and expands Intra ASEAN trade and investment and it strengthens, and deepens Intra ASEAN Industrial linkages. In December 1998, at the sixth ASEAN Summit, all members of ASEAN agreed that AFTA would come into effect in the year 2002, but it went into effect in 2003 for the automotive sector. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement increased competitiveness among AFTA members countries. The most important factor of AFTA is the liberalization of trade. The main motive of AFTA is to expand the intra-regional trade so that the consumers of ASEAN are benefited from choosing plenty of products of better quality.

ASEAN is becoming important in a trade and is now the third-largest in the world after the European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement. After comprising ASEAN6 such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam with Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, it has a combined GDP of US$2.31 trillion (2012). ASEAN is a trade bloc of ten nations with an aggregate economic size of $2.3 trillion which, is measured by the total GDP of the member countries. The main objective of the ASEAN trade bloc is to establish a fully-fledged economic community (AEC). The trading bloc’s diversity that ranges from advanced economies such as Singapore to developing countries such as Myanmar is an interesting feature. The ASEAN bloc cancelled all import and export duty taxes on items that traded between them except Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam who always continued to impose a duty on certain items. In the year 2015, the entire region became  free of duty.

ASEAN has a free trade agreement with other Asian nations. These Asian nations are now radically altering the global sourcing and manufacturing landscape. ASEAN has a treaty with the developed country such as China that has effectively done away with reduced tariffs on nearly 8,000 product categories, or 90% percent of imported goods, to zero. These are the favourable terms that affect China and the original ASEAN members such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand positively. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam also implemented these terms in the year 2015. 

FTA stands for Free Trade Agreement which, is a pact between two or more nations for reducing barriers between imports and exports among them. With the help of the Free Trade Agreement, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with few or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange. The main function of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade across international borders. China (FTA) gives benefits to Vietnam, Indonesia, and other ASEAN countries by offering lower wages and attracting foreign investment both for the Chinese market. ASEAN has a similar FTA with India, which is in the process of reducing tariffs on 90 percent of all traded goods between ASEAN and India. India has a sizeable middle-class consumer market, but it can grow as fast as China.

The member countries make ASEAN rank high in top priority for many patent applicants, and also, they have made a considerable improvement to their IP laws and enforcement practices. The improvement of IP laws and enforcement practices connected with advancements in technology and industry has made these jurisdictions much more desirable in recent years. There are possibilities of more applicants involve these countries in filing their strategies. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are the most filed destinations. There are many similarities among the ASEAN countries, but each country has its own unique set of IP laws.

Most of the applicants consider filing in ASEAN because of market opportunities, competitors, and manufacturing locales. The other advantage of filing in ASEAN countries is that examination and filing fees are very low. Most of the countries are also contributing their resources in their patent systems and creating specialized IP courts.