Integrity Legal

25th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that Chinese Taiwan (also referred to as the Republic of China) has had some noticeable apprehension regarding its place in the Asian and global business communities. To quote directly from an article written by Paul Mozur, Aries Poon, and Jenny W. Hsu posted the official website of The Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com:

TAIPEI—A warning from a government trade council in Taiwan highlights concerns that the island has become increasingly isolated by the burgeoning network of free trade agreements connecting Asia and the rest of the world. Although Taiwan signed a landmark trade agreement with China last year, many experts say the island’s trade negotiations with key markets such as the European Union and Japan have been bogged down by Chinese opposition and political differences. This has led Taiwan’s export-dependent economy to become increasingly cut off from the network of trade agreements that have proliferated over the past decade, giving Taiwan’s regional rivals a competitive advantage that could harm the island’s long-term growth prospects, they argue…

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It would appear that some of the Taiwanese apprehension regarding relative isolation springs, at least in part,  from a recent agreement that was forged between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

“This [marginalization] is one key reason why Taiwan hasn’t been doing that great over the past decade … and recently the agreement between [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and China has given Southeast Asian countries better access to the Chinese market than Taiwan,” said Royal Bank of Scotland economist Erik Lueth. That agreement, known has Asean Plus One, was cited by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou as a key impetus for the signing of the framework agreement with China…

Clearly, there are geopolitical ramifications for all of the Asian economies resulting from the increasingly prominent position of ASEAN, which counts the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia amongst its membership,  in both an Asian context as a well as a global context. Some feel as though ASEAN represents a great deal of potential future growth for Asia as a whole as the economies in Southeast Asia become increasingly vibrant and increasingly interconnected to the other economies of Asia. This same growth potential could also be inferred in a global context as ASEAN seems poised to act as an increasingly important facilitator of trade world wide.

Bearing all of the above in mind, this blogger found it interesting that ASEAN officials are taking measures to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the recent disaster in Japan.  To quote directly from the official website of the Philippine Information Agency at pia.gov.ph:

MANILA, May 25 -– All hands are up as ASEAN Secretariat seeks volunteers for the ASEAN Caravan of Goodwill to visit survivors in Ishinomaki city, Miyagi Prefecture in Northeastern Japan, on 3-5 June 2011. The area has been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. What started as a simple idea to lift the spirit of and show comradeship with the survivors by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan—and agreed by the Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting on 9 April 2011 in Jakarta—is receiving tremendous response…

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It is certainly positive news that the ASEAN community is concerned enough about the situation in Japan to send Caravan of Goodwill. Hopefully, such endeavors will prove beneficial to the Japanese people as they have definitely been the victim of unfortunate circumstances in recent weeks.

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