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Siah Hwee Ang: "There is a need to cultivate a new mindset that identifies with Asean."

Their total nominal GDP would be round US$14 trillion (NZ$19.6t), more than half of Asia's total. Nevertheless, China's economy is four times larger than Asean's.

READ MORE: Siah Hwee Ang: Could Asean displace China?

In December 2015, the ten Asean countries came together to form the Asean Economic Community.

The combined population of China and Asean will soon come close to 2 billion.

The combined population of China and Asean will soon come close to 2 billion.

 

This was meant to make Asean an even more attractive market than the standalone markets.

But Southeast Asia is a diverse region. It encompasses many religions, languages, ethnicities, and cultures.

There is a need to cultivate a new mindset that identifies with Asean.

How the countries collaborate is still a work-in-progress, though we had a good glimpse of it in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations

In those negotiations, we also got to observe Asean working with China.

China and Asean go back a long way in trade though.

It was China that first proposed having a free-trade agreement with Asean.

The Asean-China Free Trade Area, also known as the China-Asean Free Trade Area (CAFTA), has been in effect since January 2010.

Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, and Laos joined the upgraded protocol of the CAFTA in 2015.

China is co-operating with several Asean countries around infrastructural developments in the context of the One Belt One Road Initiative, though there are also signs of strains as arbitration cases begin to surface.

What China can achieve may rely to a certain extent on how China can get Indonesia involved.

In 2016, China was the third-largest foreign direct investor in Indonesia at US$2.67 billion, behind Singapore and Japan.

2016 marked the 25th anniversary of Asean-China dialogue relations. Asean Member States and China held a series of events to commemorate this milestone.

China's unbalanced development across the sub-regions may provide some lessons for the Asean region moving forward.

On some dimensions, 10 countries operating as a single market is an unlikely scenario, unfortunately.

China is currently the largest trading partner of Asean, and Asean is China's third-largest trade partner, fourth-largest export market and second-largest source of imports.

From 1991 to 2016, bilateral trade volume grew nearly 56-fold while two-way accumulative investment volume rose nearly 355-fold.

2017 marks the China-Asean Year of Tourism.

China is Asean's largest source of foreign tourists. In 2016, more than 38 million trips were made between the two parties.

Since the implementation of the Asean-China Air Transport Agreement and its protocols in early 2017, 37 cities in Asean have been connected with 52 cities in China.

All aspects point to the greater interconnectedness between the economies of Asean and China.

The total trade volume of Asean with China is projected to increase to US$1t by 2020.

For Asia and the world economy to grow, Asean and China need to work closer together economically. And they are.

By the same token, when either Asean or China slows down, chances are high that the other will also experience a slowdown in growth.

Because of Asean's diversity, companies thinking of China and Asean would benefit from learning more about the dynamics within the Asean market and each Asean nation's individual relationship with China.

As China and Asean deepen their economic ties (alongside their geopolitical ones) and push towards the formulation of a 2030 blueprint for the China-Asean strategic partnership, it is likely that knowledge, not just of the individual countries, but also of their linkages will become crucial for participation in these markets.

Siah Hwee Ang is the BNZ chair in business in Asia and also chairs the enabling our Asia-Pacific trading nation distinctiveness theme at Victoria University.

 

ที่มา : https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/97871111/siah-hwee-ang-implications-as-china-and-asean-deepen-their-economic-ties

 

 

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