Supporting UK foreign direct investment in ASEAN

Sherillyn Raga and Dirk Willem te Velde, 22 June 2021


The UK’s integrated review indicated more efforts towards deepening engagement with Indo-Pacific countries by sustaining and supporting bilateral and multilateral partnerships in the region, including with the
ASEAN. In June 2020, the UK applied to be one of ASEAN’s
Dialogue Partners
, which would allow the UK to attend high-level
ASEAN meetings together with the US and China, and
would facilitate further practical cooperation with the regional
bloc. All ASEAN countries are also members of the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while some
are in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement
Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), with whose members
the UK recently launched accession talks. This note
presents the trends in UK FDI in ASEAN, compares UK
investment with that of other major investors such as China
and US, and makes recommendations for boosting the role
of the UK in bringing quality investment to the region,
especially to the poorer ASEAN members.

Photo: Virtual Meeting Between ASEAN Foreign Ministers and The Foreign Secretary of The United Kingdom on COVID-19. ASEAN Secretariat/ Kusuma Pandu WijayaLicence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)