Opinions < 2004 < April

Asian Values Shade Japan Hostage Crisis

Tom Plate, The Japan Times
April 29, 2004

It's true that Asian values may not be all they used to be. But they still pop up now and again with the capacity to dazzle and astonish. It's possible to argue, in fact, that if Asian values remain a strong enough force over time, they could even mitigate emerging Asian nationalism. Two recent Asian political dramas illustrate why.

Odd examples, perhaps; but the good news is that these common Asian values might just serve as the launching pad for the kind of regional economic organization imagined by the visionary Long.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20040429tp.htm

Solidifying East Asian Co-op

Wu Yixue, China Daily
April 29, 2004

The East Asian Community (EAC) is an alluring prospect, although its prototype and methods for realization are still under discussion. The establishment of institutionalized regional co-operation mechanism, similar to that of the European Union (EU), undoubtedly serves as the ultimate co-operation goal coveted by East Asian countries which lag behind in promoting regional integration. Facing accelerated globalization and regional integration, the two main trends of the current world from which no nation is immune, any country or region has no choice but to strive to keep pace. Otherwise, it risks being marginalized.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-04/29/content_327160.htm

The Neighbourhood, at least is Looking Good

Allan Gyngell
Sydney Morning Herald
April 29, 2004

...Take the four large Asian states that, more than any others in the region, will shape our security and economic growth - Japan, China, India and Indonesia. Japan's economy is growing again and it is forging a new, more active, role in the world; China's strong economic growth is matched by effective regional diplomacy; India is shrugging off the dead hand of a highly regulated economy and dynastic politics; and, over the past few weeks, Indonesia has taken an important step towards building a healthy democracy. There hasn't been a time in the past 50 years when the collective news from the four regional power centres has looked better.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/28/1083103550857.html

India Inc Flaunts at Boao

Urmi A Goswami, The Economic Times
April 27, 2004

Unprecedented growth in India and China has made the developed world bullish on Asia. So, how is Asia looking at its new-found glory? Several Asian leaders met at Boao, China, to chalk out a strategy that would provide a win-win solution to all the Asian countries. On day one of the third meeting of the Boao Forum, India, represented by Ficci, showcased the country as the “land of opportunity”. Addressing the official opening session of the conference, Ficci president Y.K. Modi said, “Today’s India is going through an intensely exciting phase of change, innovation, rediscovery of its potential and remaking of its future. The old landscape is vanishing; new landfalls are emerging and visible at a distance.

Click here to read the full Article : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/641234.cms

When will Asian Dollar Dream come True?

April 25, 2004

'Asian Dollar' is a goal that is worth pursuing," said Long Yongtu, secretary general of the Boao Forum for Asia 2004 Annual Conference, Sunday. ; As the globalization goes deeper, the importance of small countries' currencies is diminishing in economic terms. The development of the European Community has brought about the Euro, while in Asia, people are talking more and more about "Asian Dollar" as economic cooperation in this region is increasing in each passing day. Like Long, Fidel V. Ramos, chairman of the board of the forum, also mentioned "Asian Dollar". The integration of Asia has greater potential, comparing to Europe and America. Currently, Asia is experiencing the fastest economic growth in the world, and thus, a unitary currency for Asia is of great significance.

Click here to read the full Article : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/26/content_1439364.htm

Asia: A Rising Power of World Manufacturing

April 25, 2004

Experts believe that it is the global industrial transfer that enables an increasing number of things labeled "made in Asia" to become world crazes today. Experts attending the Annual Conference 2004 of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) agree that Asia, possessing an independent and integrated development, supply, production and sales mechanism, is becoming a rising power in the global economy. Speaking Sunday at the "supply chain and made in Asia" forum, Carlos Magarinos, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said it was the result of integration and optimization of global production sectors that Asia turned to be world manufacturing center.

Click here to read the full Article: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/25/content_1439295.htm

Hot Topics for Asia Pacific Cooperation

April 23, 2004

The ongoing 60th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) provides an important platform for Asia-Pacific countries to exchange views on economic growth and social problems. Hot topics under discussion for Asia-Pacific cooperation at thesession are as follows:


With the robust economic growth in recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has created a miracle by reducing its poor population to 400 million, but the region is still home to the majority of the world's poor. The United Nations has set up the Millennium Development Goals to reduce in half the world's poor population by 2015. Poverty reduction is a serious challenge for the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here to read the full Article : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/23/content_1437572.htm

Rising Asia Draws World Attention

April 22, 2004

From April 24 to 25, a small seaside village that is home to just over 20,000 people in China's southernmost island province of Hainan, will draw the world's attention as the 2004 annual conference of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is convened here.   The theme of this year's BFA annual conference has been set as "Asia seeks common success, an Asia that opens up to the world", which demonstrates that with the trend of globalization, Asian countries and regions have a common will to strengthen regional economic exchange and cooperation, to realize common development, and to further open up to the rest of the world.

Click here to read the full Article : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-04/21/content_1433317.htm

Revitalising The Bangkok Agreement

ProAct Newsletter, Editorial
April 2004

Asia’s first multi-member preferential trade agreement (PTA) between developing countries, signed in 1975 as the Bangkok Agreement, has so far failed to produce the desired results. Trade amongst the member countries has not been much encouraging. Nonetheless, member countries are putting in efforts to make the Agreement more fruitful, and are planning major reforms, through what can be touted as the ‘revitalisation exercise’.  Apparently, high importance is now being accorded to the pioneering Asian PTA, which originally comprised Bangladesh , India , Republic of Korea , Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Sri Lanka , and later acceded, by China in April 2001. It then becomes important to dig out the reasons for this renewed interest. More importantly, it becomes necessary to look into the future potential of the Agreement.  

Click here to read further: http://www.sawtee.org/PROACT_E-newsletter_Apr_04.html

Realising The Asian Dream

Nagesh Kumar, The Financial Express
April 21, 2004

The twenty-first century can be truly Asia’s if the current trend of rapid growth rates in China and India can be sustained. A study by Goldman Sachs has projected that China, India and Japan would have about 57 per cent share in world GDP by 2050 — roughly the share Asia had in global GDP up to 1820 AD, as estimated by an OECD study by economist Angus Maddison. In other words, Asia is on course to regain its place as the centre of gravity in the world economy. This transformation, however, will depend on Asia’s ability to manage the growing global macroeconomic imbalances without affecting the external demand that has fuelled a part of its rapid growth rates over the past decades.  

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.financialexpress.com/fearchive_frame.php Wednesday, April 21, 2004. Edits and Columns

Asia's Big Appetite Ensures a Healthy Commodities Market

Martin Wolf
Financial Times 
April 21, 2004 

China and, in time, India will generate much of the incremental world demand for primary commodities over the coming decade. It is far from clear that this will be enough to produce a decisive reversal in the long-term trend decline in the real process of commodities. More likely is increased volume, as supply is expanded to meet the Asian giants' demand. 

To read further, visit www.ft.com

The Challenge of East Asian Economic Integration

Munakata Naoko
The New Nation, Bangladesh 
April 20, 2004

The Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership, which was signed in 2002, is Japan's first-ever bilateral free trade agreement, and the process of concluding it has provided vital experience in terms of bolstering economic ties with other Asian countries. This is an area in which I have long had a processional interest; serving in Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. I was involved in discussions regarding East Asian regional frameworks from which Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad first proposed the idea of an East Asian Economic Caucus at the end of 1990. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which had been established in 1989, included the United States, on which Asia depends both for security and in the economic sphere. Mahathir's proposal, by contrast, was for a framework that would exclude the United States. Given Washington's fierce opposition, coupled with infighting within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over leadership of the proposed group, the EAEC had no chance of being implemented at the time it was proposed. Even so, it was unfortunate that Japan was unable to adopt a clear stance on the idea. At the time, I think the dominant view was that an Asia-only forum would compromise the Japan-US. alliance and could lead Japan down a path toward the warped Asianism seen before World War II. Talk of an East Asian forum without the participation of the United States remained taboo for a long time afterwards.

Click here to read the full Article : http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_8457.shtml

Can Japan-China-India Axis be a Reality

Sunanda K Datta Ray
April 17, 2004

It is extremely surprising that the Japanese ambassador's suggestion of a Japan-China-India axis has not received more attention in India. Two days after Yasukoni Enoki proposed this trilateral axis, the Chinese defence minister, Cao Gangchuan, who is also vice-chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission headed by former president Jiang Zemin, was in New Delhi for talks with George Fernandes. Describing the proposal as "important for Asia's stability and prosperity", Enoki said it "had been discussed informally with the Indian side and will help India correct its positioning in Japan's diplomacy."  

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.rediff.com/money/2004/apr/17guest1.html

Asians Fighting The Next Asian Energy Crisis

Richard Hanson
Asia Times
April 16, 2004

One of the enduring images of Japan's oil crises of the 1970s - a cool sartorial safari-wear statement - occurred during the sweltering summer of 1979 as the price of OPEC-controlled petroleum soared, threatening the economy in the nation's second oil crisis; the first oil upheaval had been in 1973.To champion the cause of energy conservation at the time, bulldog-faced prime minister Masayoshi Ohira - anything but a fashion plate - was persuaded by his advisers to become the poster guy to model an "energy-saving" suit, as government offices cut back on air conditioning.With cameras flashing, Ohira appeared on stage with a nifty beige safari-type, short-sleeved jacket, which he wore over a stiff, buttoned-up white shirt and dark tie. The fashion mavens mourned.

Two and half decades later, Japan and other Asian countries are still dependent on oil from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The Japanese government is stepping up its efforts to bring some order in Asia to the perilously chaotic state of energy supplies, dysfunctional local energy markets and, most threatening, a massive escalation in demand for oil and other energy resources.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/FD16Dh01.html

Asean Must Hasten Reforms to Draw More Foreign Capital

The Business Times Online
April 12, 2004 

...Can Asean, with its fierce respect for consensus, make progress fast enough to expand the potential of financial markets that, in the words of Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, are small and fragmented by international standards?

'Integrating our economies requires hard work, political will and, often, tough decisions,' he said.  

Click here to read the full Article : http://newslink.asia1.com.sg/

Asean+3 to Review Efforts to Cooperate Financially

The Business Times Online
April 12, 2004

Asean ministers, plus those from Japan, China and Korea, will gather at Jeju, South Korea,  to review broader regional attempts to achieve monetary and exchange rate cooperation, and to forge a pan-Asia bond market. The discussions will coincide with this year's annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, and the agenda is an unusually full and ambitious one, officials say. What is decided in Jeju could set the whole of East Asia on a course towards much closer economic, monetary and even political cooperation within a kind of European Union-type context, some sources suggest. A key issue is whether East Asia should move towards adopting an 'exchange rate mechanism' that could eventually lead o full monetary integration. Another is the need for a 'regional financial arrangement' and whether the existing network of bilateral currency swaps should be expanded and multi-lateralised. Third is development of an Asian bond market, which some say could make currency crises of the kind that hit Asia in 1997 a thing of the past.  

Click here to read the full Article : http://newslink.asia1.com.sg/

India and the Asean Countries could be Natural Partners For Trade

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray
The Telegraph, India
April 10, 2004

Chinese Singaporean asked me in bewilderment if Indians didn’t want to be rich. Assuring him that we hankered for wealth as much as anyone else but that we also craved the piety of virtuous penury, I repeated Sarojini Naidu’s gibe about the cost of keeping Gandhi in poverty to illustrate the Indian paradox. The contradiction is again apparent in ambivalence over the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore that was discussed recently for the eighth time. Obviously, there can be no conclusion until after the hurly-burly of elections. Equally obviously, Indians must be as clear as Singaporeans as to what they expect from a path-breaking treaty that is far more than the conventional free trade agreement. One objective should be to regain the Singapore market which India once supplied with virtually everything. Manhole covers to management training, ceiling fans to textbooks, iron safes to betel leaves and lorries were Indian. The second aim is even more important. Shining or not now, there certainly was a time when India’s light radiated out to southeast Asia. The CECA with Singapore could be the means of regaining the once and future swarnabhumi of what historians call Farther India.  

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.telegraphindia.com/archives/archive.html 10 April 2004, Opinions

Free Trade in South Asia Needs Synergy

Durgadas Roy, Asia Times
April 9, 2004

If the success of regional economic integration in other parts of the world is any guide, a free trade arrangement among the South Asian countries - namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - will be a big step towards their greater economic welfare.

India already has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand, is set to sign one with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and expects to sign another specifically with Singapore early next year. All these agreements could be the first step towards closer economic integration among the nations in this part of the world.

On the Asian continent, while several Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) involving ASEAN and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) have come into being, the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement, the South Asian Free Trade Area, and the ASEAN Free Trade Area, if seriously implemented, should complement each other, thus making regional economic integration viable. To this end, the trade policies of these countries must further the cause of regional cooperation towards developing their external sector.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FD09Df03.html  

Get Together to Strengthen Asian Power

JoongAng Daily
Kim Seok-hwan
April 7, 2004

Korea, China and Japan are the three major countries in East Asia. From ancient times until the present, the three countries have shared much. Historically, the three countries maintained unchallenged political, economic and cultural importance in the region. But the three countries have never met together to discuss and plan the future of East Asia. Most recently, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo sat down together at meetings of multilateral cooperative bodies such as ASEAN and the United Nations. But the bilateral or trilateral meetings took place at a third party's initiative, and the three countries have never prepared a meeting for themselves.

Click here to read the full Article : http://joongangdaily.joins.com/200404/07/200404072245141009900090809081.html

In Asia, Booming Demand Powers Stocks Rise

Thomas Watson
Christian Secience Monitor
April 2004

Finally, it seems, all of Asia is gaining strength. So are funds that invest there. In the first quarter, Pacific region funds advanced 10.5 percent, while Japan funds gained 13.7 percent, according to Morningstar. For the past 12 months, Pacific region funds have risen more than 62 percent and Japan funds are up nearly 70 percent.

Several factors contributed to this strong performance, but the main driver seems to be China. "You're seeing accelerated economic growth out of China and you're seeing a lot of demand for products into that market," says Michael Donnelly, a senior portfolio manager at American Century Investments in Kansas City, Mo. This demand has boosted exports into China from Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and India, Mr. Donnelly explains. Even Taiwan, which has a very good commercial - if not political - relationship with China, has benefited from China's growth, he notes.

Click here to read further: http://www.csmonitorservices.com/csmonitor/

Growing Economic Integration in Asia

Forbes magazine Online
April 5, 2004

At long last economic integration is taking off in East Asia. China imports components, raw materials, food and tropical products from Northeast and Southeast Asia. Just over three years ago China offered the ten countries of ASEAN a free-trade agreement (FTA). ASEAN and China signed a framework agreement in 2002. The FTA will be realized by 2010, but there has been an early-harvest package on goods and services since January. Moving ahead, Thailand has reached a limited bilateral agreement with China to accelerate some of their commitments under the framework agreement. Other ASEAN countries are seeking similar agreements.

Click here to read the full Article : http://www.forbes.com/business/global/2004/0419/016.html