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To consolidate its emergence as a powerful trading bloc, ASEAN member states have been promoting special economic zones (SEZ) as a cornerstone for efforts to encourage more foreign investment.
SEZs – which include industrial parks, special export processing zones, technology parks, and innovation areas – gained increasing prominence after the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, and more so now as a tool to attract investors seeking to diversify supply chains because of the US-China trade war.
However, investors looking to take advantage of SEZs in ASEAN should seek to develop a base understanding before assessing factors that may impact their business. SEZs in each country comes with their own strengths and weaknesses; investors need to understand the profile of SEZs in each country, before conducting a comparative analysis and site visits.