In a process that began before 1997, but which was accelerated by the Asian Financial crisis, many countries in the region have been seeking to reduce the role of the state in the economy, and correspondingly to increase the range of private economic activities. This move has taken several forms including: the privatisation of state enterprises, deregulation of previously controlled sectors of the economy, encouragement of new competitors to enter markets, the opening of previously closed sectors to foreign investment, reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers, and the opening up of the domestic economy to foreign competition.

This project involved policy research across Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The purpose was to identify institutional strengths and weaknesses in these countries, with a view to seeing how Japanese assistance could support “good governance