The role of ASEAN regional economic integration in Finnish companies' operations in Southeast Asia

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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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THE ROLE OF ASEAN REGIONAL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION IN FINNISH COMPANIES’ OPERATIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA Objectives of the research The main purpose of this thesis was to find out how and in what extent the regional economic integration of ASEAN has impacted the operations and decision-making of Finnish companies operating in Southeast Asia. Especially, the impact of ASEAN on the business environment and the institutional constraints the companies are possibly experiencing was studied. To understand the context, the role and the significance of Southeast Asia in the international strategies of the Finnish companies was discovered. This thesis is conducted as a part of the Center of Markets in Transition (CEMAT) research on ASEAN region. Methodology In this study qualitative research approach was applied. Data for the thesis was collected through interviews and documentary analysis. The interviewees were the representatives of Finnish companies operating in Southeast Asia who have professional experience of the region. Secondary data was collected from the electronic archives of the Finnish and foreign newspapers, company websites, and archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and ASEAN secretariat. Findings and conclusions The findings of this study indicate that the regional economic integration is not clearly visible in Southeast Asia and the business environment where the Finnish companies operate has not significantly changed as a result of regional integration and free trade agreements in the region. The Finnish companies have not experienced considerable institutional constraints and the ASEAN integration has not impacted the institutional framework. The role of Southeast Asia as a region in the international strategies of the Finnish companies is relatively significant, although China is the most important.
regional economic integration, ASEAN, Southeast Asia, international operations, Finnish companies, institutional framework, institutional constraint