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The idea of an economic bloc in Southeast Asia is finally coming to fruition after 30 years of discussion.
When it does, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will create a single market of over 600 million people, making the region more attractive than any single nation would be on its own and boosting its long-term prospects.
Much of the progress is being driven by urbanization, supported by a young, literate population and growing middle class, coupled with competitive labour costs. However, amid this potential, much of Southeast Asia faces challenges of transparency, legal and political risks, and corruption.
Following is the emerging picture for four of the biggest countries in the economic bloc: Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
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