Four recently emerged trends have accounted for the rapid economic expansion in the ASEAN region—accelerating investment flows from Japan and the Asian NIEs, rising intra-Asia trade, increasing diversification from commodity-based to manufacturing-based economies, and gathering pace of deregulation and privatization of these Southeast Asian economies. Over the years, Singapore has acquired strong expertise in several essential services and it is in the provision of such services to countries in Southeast Asia that further growth can be generated for the Singapore economy in the future. These are, specifically: transport services, financial services, and regional headquarters services to multinationals operating in the ASEAN region. As a small city-state connected to a vast hinterland, Singapore cannot expect to thrive if the regional economies perform sluggishly. Singapore's economic plans for the future must be predicated on helping its Southeast Asian neighbors to maintain their high growth momentum.
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