The OECD and Southeast Asia
In recent years, all ten ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) have intensified their participation in OECD committees and working groups, peer reviews and studies. The region has increasingly contributed to statistical data collection and international benchmarking exercises such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Investment Policy Reviews and have adhered to international standards and norms developed by the OECD. The OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme aims to further deepen the Organisation's engagement with the region.
The co-operation between the OECD and Southeast Asia covers the following areas:
- The OECD works closely with governments in Southeast Asia on issues related to food security and agricultural productivity. In 2015, the OECD launched a regional initiative, Building Food Security and Managing Risks: A Focus on Southeast Asia, to explore food security and risks within Southeast Asia. The most recent publications include Building Food Security and Managing Risk in Southeast Asia (2017) and Managing Food Insecurity Risk in Indonesia (2015).
- The OECD held the OECD-ASEAN region outreach event: Making agro-food markets work for ASEAN, in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on 5th-6th November 2018. It aimed to evaluate and strengthen the process of policy and trade reform through forward-looking analysis, and to provide policy options on emerging agricultural issues.
- The OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) annually publish the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. The 2016-2025 edition includes detailed projections of the medium-term outlook for commodities for OECD countries and emerging economies for 2017-2026, including a number of Southeast Asian countries.
- The Southeast Asia Regional Programme included competition policy as its new initiative at the Inter-Session Steering Group Meeting in September. Fostering Competition in ASEAN project aims to provide support to ASEAN Member countries for the implememtation of the ASEAN Competition Action Plan.
- ASEAN competition authorities are active participants in the Competition Programme of the OECD-Korea Policy Centre (OECD/KPC), which serves as an Asian-Pacific hub for training and assisting officials in developing and implementing effective competition law and policy.
- The OECD Global Forum on Competiton brings together high-level competition officials from over 100 authorities and organisations worldwide, including 10 Southeast Asian countries, to debate a wide range of key and emerging competition issues. The 2017 Global Forum discussed competition and democracy, judicial perspectives of competition law, challenges for small and developing agencies, Viet Nam's competition law and policy and competition in public markets.
- Established in 1999, the OECD Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance aims to support Southeast Asian countries in exchanging experiences and advancing the reform agenda on corporate governance while promoting awareness and use of the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance.
- Launched in 2014, the OECD-Southeast Asia Corporate Governance Initiative supports the regional development of vibrant and healthy capital markets through the advancement of corporate governance standards and practices with a focus on countries in the process of developing their economies such as Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
- The OECD Equity Markets Review of Asia (2018) provides a comprehensive and comparable picture of the use and functioning of public equity markets in the region, including Southeast Asia.
- In January 2017, the OECD launched Going Digital: Making the Transformation Work for Growth and Well-being. The project aims to help policy makers better understand the digital transformation that is taking place and create a policy environment that enables their economies and societies to prosper in an increasingly digital and data-driven world. The OECD is currently conducting a project on SEA Going Digital: Connecting SMEs.
- Singapore and Thailand have increasingly participated as Participant in the OECD Committee on Digital Economy Policy.
- OECD Economic Surveys analyse the major economic challenges in these countries and propose reform options drawing on international best practices. The OECD has conducted Assessments in three Southeast Asian Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia (2016, forthcoming 2019) and Thailand (forthcoming 2020).
- The OECD Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India monitors short-term macroeconomic challenges and medium-term economic trends in the region.
- Multi-Dimensional Country Reviews (MDCRs), a horizontal initiative led by the OECD Development Centre, support developing countries in designing high-impact development strategies. So far, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam (forthcoming) have participated in the MDCRs.
- The Asian Regional Roundtable on Macroeconomic and Structural Policy Challenges gathers policy makers from Southeast Asia annually to discuss the region’s structural policy challenges.
Education and Skills
- The OECD Southeast Asian Regional Policy Network (RPN) on Education and Skills was established to foster knowledge exchange for national growth and regional integration. The RPN, in collaboration with ASEAN, launched the Employment and Skills Strategies in Southeast Asia (ESSSA) in 2008.
- Southeast Asian countries have engaged in a number of OECD activities such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). To make PISA more relevant to a broader range of country contexts, the OECD has launched PISA for Development (PISA-D) with eight countries including Cambodia.
- The OECD supports the ASEAN Co-Ordinating Committee for MSMEs (ACCMSME) through the OECD-ASEAN Regional SME Policy Network. In partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Economic Research Institute, the 2018 edition of the OECD-ERIA ASEAN SME Policy Index was launched in Singapore.
- The annual Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs: An OECD Scoreboard features a full Thailand country profile and is expected to be rolled out to several ASEAN economies over the coming years.
- OECD SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Indonesia (2018) aims to improve the design, implementation and effectiveness of national SME and entrepreneurship policies in Indonesia.
- OECD Financial Education for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Asia (2017) provides guidance on, policy and practice relating to financial education for MSMEs and potential entrepreneurs in Asia, with a particular focus on Indonesia.
- Tourism is an important economic driver in the region; the Philippines has been actively engaged in the OECD Tourism Committee activities since 2012 and was one of the partner countries included in the OECD Tourism Trends and Policies in 2016.
Finance and Investment
- The ASEAN-OECD Investment Programme fosters dialogue and experience sharing between OECD countries and Southeast Asian economies on issues relating to the business and investment climate.
- In collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, the OECD has already conducted Investment Policy Reviews for seven Southeast Asian countries using the Policy Framework for Investment (PFI). The Investment Policy Reviews of Thailand and the second review of Indonesia and Myanmar are being undertaken.
- The OECD Investment Policy Review of Southeast Asia (2018) looks at common challenges across the region and at the interplay between regional initiatives and national reforms. It allows for a discussion of more thematic issues than are usually considered in the country-level reviews, including the possible role of regional initiatives in driving reform.
- In collaboration with UNIDO, the Integrating Southeast Asian SMEs in global value chains: Enabling linkages with foreign investors report (2019) identifies investment and related policies to enhance linkages between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia and multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their impacts on SME outcomes in Southeast Asia.
- Established in 1999, the OECD/ADBI Roundtable on Capital Market and Financial Reform in Asia ("Tokyo Roundtable") meets annually and offers a forum for discussion among Asian securities regulators, experts, private sector, scholars and international organisations.
- The rapidly increasing integration of ASEAN into the global economy highlights the importance of co-operation between Southeast Asia and the OECD on improving tax transparency and compliance. Several countries from the region are engaged in the Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative, and members of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, committed to implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) standard.
- Part of the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme, the Regional Policy Network (RPN) on Tax holds annual meetings to promote regional cooperation and exchange best practices on tax policy.
- On 7 June 2017, over 70 Ministers and other high-level representatives participated in the signing ceremony of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are among the 78 signatories to this Multilateral Insttrument.
Green growth and Sustainable development
- Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries are regularly invited to the OECD Global Forum on Environment to participate in the dialogue on emerging environment related issues such as conservation, biodiversity, climate change, water and energy.
- Towards Green Growth in Southeast Asia (2014) addresses the economic, social and environmental challenges of Southeast Asia’s booming economy and provides evidence that the region can pursue green growth.
- The OECD is currently undertaking a Green Growth Policy Review: Indonesia (forthcoming 2019). The Review will focus on assessing the country's policy framework for green growth and how effectively it has been integrated into economic policies and planning processes.
- The OECD’s Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia project promotes green growth in fast-growing cities in Southeast Asia by examining policies and governance practices that encourage greening and competitiveness in emerging economies.
- The OECD Water Programme promotes the design and implementation of integrated water policies that contribute to green growth and better health aiming to ensure good quality water to meet the needs of all users in Southeast Asia.
- Since 2015, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore are Associate countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA). In February 2016, the IEA co-hosted the Bali Clean Energy Forum with the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) and introduced Indonesia’s Centre of Excellence for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency.
- The OECD published Modelling of distributional impacts of energy subsidy reforms: An illustration with Indonesia (2015), a country-case study of the environmental, economic and distributional impacts of energy subsidy reforms in Indonesia.
- The Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) system is a multilateral agreement allowing participating countries - which include Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand - to share the results of various nonclinical tests done on chemicals using OECD methods and principles.
- Based on tools like the OECD Public Procurement Recommendations and Toolkit and OECD analysis, the organisation is partnering with several Southeast Asian countries to support their public procurement system reforms.
- The OECD is committed to promote open government as well as to fight transnational corruption in order to enhance public sector integrity to restore public trust in government. Seven Southeast Asian countries have already taken part in the framework of the ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific.
- The OECD Network on Open and Innovative Government in Southeast Asia supports Indonesia's strong interest in disseminating open government principles and practices across Southeast Asia and worldwide. Related publications on Southeast Asia include the Integrity Review of Thailand (2018), Open Government in Indonesia, Open Government in Myanmar and Administrative Simplification in Viet Nam. The OECD is undertaking the Open and Connected Government Review of Thailand (forthcoming2020)
- The ASEAN-OECD Good Regulatory Practice Network (GRPN) builds upon the longstanding partnership of the OECD with Southeast Asia on regulatory reform both regionally through APEC and ASEAN as well as bilaterally with individual ASEAN member states. The latest publications on the region include Implementing Good Regulatory Practice in Malaysia and Business regulation pillars: Good regulatory practice for ASEAN. In October 2018, the OECD launched a Report on Good Regulatory Practices to Support Small and Medium Enterprises in Southeast Asia, providing examples of GRP tools and approaches in areas such as administrative burden reduction, e-government, regulatory impact assessment, ex post evaluation, and stakeholder consultation.
Science, Innovation and Technology
- The OECD develops evidence-based policy advice on the contribution of science, technology and innovation to well-being and economic growth. The Review of Innovation Policy: Innovation in Southeast Asia and country-specific reviews of Viet Nam and Malaysia have assessed science, technology and innovation capacities of participating countries as well as the performance and institutional profiles of innovation systems.
- In 2015, nine Southeast Asian countries adopted the OECD Daejeon Declaration on Science, Technology and Innovation Polices for the Global and Digital Age.
- The OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook aims to inform policy makers and analysts on recent and future changes in global science, technology and innovation (STI) patterns and their potential implications on and for national and international STI policies. The 2018 edition of the Outlook included dedicated country profiles for Thailand.
- Boosting innovative capacity plays a pivotal role in economic development. The 2015 report Boosting Malaysia’s National Intellectual Property System for Innovation provides a comprehensive review of Malaysia’s national IP system, including concrete policy recommendations, and the 2014 report National Intellectual Property Systems, Innovation and Economic Development: with perspectives on Colombia and Indonesia provided a detailed analysis of Indonesia's system.
- Improving financial literacy and inclusion through the OECD's International Network on Financial Education helps strengthen financial stability and economic growth in Southeast Asia.
- The OECD’s Society at a Glance Asia/Pacific, Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific and Health at a Glace Asia/Pacific aim to seek to develop good practices of social development in Asia and the Pacific, including Southeast Asia.
- The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality, which is of paramount importance for development, economic growth and poverty reduction. The OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) covers all Southeast Asian countries and the OECD's Society at a Glance 2014 included a chapter focusing on ‘Gender equality in Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship in the Asia/Pacific region’.
- In the developing world, social classes become more apparent and social cohesion is essential in bridging the development gap at domestic and international levels. The first country to undergo an OECD Social Cohesion Policy Review (SCPR) was Viet Nam (2014).
- Cambodia and Viet Nam participate in the Youth Well-being studies within the framework of the EU-OECD Youth Inclusion Project (2014-2017). Country reports will include a multi-dimensional diagnosis of youth situation, youth-specific policy reviews and policy recommendations.
- In collaboration of the International Labour Organization, with support from the European Union, the OECD released a report on How Immigrants Contribute to Thailand’s Economy (2017). The report analyses several economic impacts of immigration on the coutnry's labour market, economic growth and public finance.
- The OECD's review on Social Protection System Review of Cambodia provides a contribution to the ongoing policy dialogue on social protection, sustainable growth and poverty reduction. It also monitors the implementation of the social protection policy framework in Cambodia.
- The OECD maintains comprehensive databases of comparable statistics to support its analytical and policy work such as the Revenue Statistics in Asian countries publication series covering Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
- This Quarter in Asia | Asian Business Cycle Indicators (ABCIs) is a tool which provides comparable information on the short-term economic climate of Asian economies. Data includes seven major Asian economies: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Trade liberalisation has played a key role in the economic transformation of the region, and promoting trade and upgrading Global Value Chains (GVCs) is key to continued growth. In 2016, the OECD and ERIA jointly organised a regional symposium on 'Making Global Value Chains Work for ASEAN'. This symposium examined the participation of ASEAN countries in GVCs to better guide policymakers in their efforts to make this participation more inclusive.
- All ten ASEAN countries participate in the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators.
- Trade in Value Added (TiVA) is an OECD-WTO joint initiative. Its database provides indicators for 63 economies covering OECD, EU28, G20, most East and South-east Asian economies and a selection of South American countries.
- The OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) is a unique, evidence-based diagnostic tool that provides an up-to-date snapshot of services trade barriers in 22 sectors across 44 countries, including Indonesia.