The specter of protectionism under a Donald Trump administration in the U.S. could, if it takes root, undermine the global economy in the next four years. For Southeast Asia, regional growth was seen as an effort to compensate, albeit partially, for the global economic slowdown. The 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations launched their ASEAN Economic Community on Dec. 31, 2015.
The idea of the AEC was to further open the region and integrate more fully into the global system of free trade and investment. But what was intended as compensatory is now becoming a necessity.