Eurasian Economic Union and ASEAN: Complementarity Appraisal


ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union as regional integration blocks may be viewed as two opposite poles in terms of their accessibility to coastal regions. On the one hand, the Eurasian Economic Union is a unique integration arrangement, in which all member countries, apart from the Russian Federation, are landlocked. On the other hand, ASEAN may be termed as one of the most “oceanic” integration blocks in the world as out of its 10 members only Laos is landlocked, while out of the 50 largest container ports in the world eight are located in ASEAN countries, with Singapore being second on the overall world rankings. Such divergence in terms of geo-economics and accessibility to the seashores between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union should be considered not as a barrier to cooperation, but rather a complementarity factor that may reinforce the potential benefits from economic integration between these two groups. In particular, for ASEAN an alliance with the Eurasian Economic Union opens up a possibility for deeper penetration into a relatively secluded continental region. On the other hand, an alliance with ASEAN enables the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union to overcome continental barriers and use the alliances with ASEAN companies as a platform for integration into the global economy, for gaining access to a fast-growing Asian market and for optimizing transportation costs. The geographical factor in relations between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union argues in favor of creating a competitive transportation system that serves to intermediate trade flows between Southeast Asia and Europe. As a result, the ASEAN-Eurasian Economic Union alliance may be considered as a “hybrid” oceanic-continental alliance, in which the synergy of integration is derived not solely from trade and investment effects, but also from the transportation/logistical complementarity in the Eurasian geoeconomic space. The formation of an alliance between the two very different blocks in terms of their geoeconomics – the Eurasian Economic Union as a continental and ASEAN as an oceanic alliance – may provide important synergy for both blocks in terms of realization of their economic potential.


Eurasian Economic Union; ASEAN; geo-economy; integration blocks.

Authors: Yaroslav Lissovolik

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