Joseph Tan, Asian chief economist for Credit Suisse Private Bank and council secretary of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), explains that it will take time for the effects of ASEAN integration efforts to show. "I don't think you will see an opening of the flood gates when it comes to free-flowing investment in Asia anytime soon," he says. "This is a process that will take a long time as governments become more confident about the interests of foreign companies and quasi-sovereign entities.
Another part of the process, according to Tan, is creating efficient regional financial structures. He believes that, while Asia is showing signs of economic decoupling from the West, its financial systems are still too closely linked. "Asia has all the surplus and savings, but their financial systems are really tied to the west," he explains. "There is lack of sophisticated financial intermediation, a lack of deep, well-functioning capital markets within Asia. And if that piece of the puzzle is completed, then Asia will be even more independent from the rest of the world.