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Southeast Asia risks stumbling toward a South American future

Current trajectory suggests region will struggle to escape middle-income trap

| Southeast Asia
Workers arrange blades at an assembly line in Rayong province, east of Bangkok, in April 2016: many of the necessary ingredients for productivity-led development are missing across much of  Southeast Asia.   © Reuters

William Bratton is author of "China's Rise, Asia's Decline." He was previously head of equity research, Asia-Pacific, at HSBC.

It is easy to forget that it was South America, not Asia, that was once seen as the world's emerging economic hot spot.

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