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Posts Tagged ‘high speed rail link’

6th May 2014

In recent articles in the Financial Times the argument has be made that the Peoples’ Republic of China will economically overtake the United States of America in the year 2014. It  should be noted that Chinese economic outpacing of the United States is only measured in terms of statistical purchasing power and little more. In any event, this revealation is significant as it shows the increasing dominance of China in the world economy. The authors of the two articles (which can be found on the Financial Times official website here and here) appear to disagree as to the importance of these developments. The  author of the first article seems rather alarmist about the fact that China will overtake the USA in statistical purchasing power while the second author notes that this should not be viewed as China overtaking the USA in all facets of comparative economics. Furthermore, the second article notes that the United States still remains politically the most powerful nation in the world despite the fact that the world is evolving from a state of unipolarity with the United States as the lone Superpower able to effectively and virtually unilaterally project its power throughout the world, to a state of multipolarity in which many nations have increasing regional (or even global) dominance in certain spheres of economics as well as politics.

The notion that the world is moving toward a state of multipolarity leads this blogger to posit: how will the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) fit into the framework of a multipolar world? It seems reasonable to infer that ASEAN will become an increasingly important economic bloc following the integration of the various member states’ economies under the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is set to take effect on January 1, 2015. The creation of a single economic platform which will include approximately 400-500 million people, some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and some of the most strategically important geographical locations will likely lead to greater economies of scale for businesses in the region, a larger market for goods and services for the member states, and greater leverage to trade with countries outside of the bloc. However, these issues are not entirely pertinent to the question posited above. The differences between China and an integrated ASEAN economic platform will be substantial. First, some members of ASEAN rank amongst some of the largest economies in the world, in their own right. Meanwhile other economies within the region are still developing. This could lead to a “best of both worlds” scenario for ASEAN, China, and the USA. Case in point, Thailand has seen difficulties in recent years competing with cheaper Chinese labor, but the movements of labor and capital which will come hand-in-hand with ASEAN economic integration could lead to a situation where Thai companies could utilize labor pools in developing ASEAN member countries to offset the low cost of Chinese labor and thereby mitigate previous competitive disadvantages. Furthermore, the United States may find new markets for US goods in an integrated ASEAN and new venues for the manufacture of low cost goods in developing ASEAN nations that would allow for some economic de-coupling from China by the USA, thereby allowing the United States a freer hand in making foreign policy decisions vis-a-vis China. Finally, China stands to gain due to the increase in trade between China and the ASEAN nations which has recently been evidenced by the evolving nature of the geography of the Chinese economy. In recent years, increasing economic activity has been noted in Southern China across the border from Laos, which acts as a kind of entrepot for trade between China and Thailand as well as the Greater ASEAN community. Recent discussions of a high speed rail link connecting China, Laos and Thailand have also been cause for optimism that one day this region could play host to a booming economy which will bring large numbers of people out of poverty and create wealth for the peoples of all nations concerned.

Following ASEAN economic integration, there are likely to be myriad legal challenges for those businesses in ASEAN nations and abroad wishing to gain a foothold in this burgeoning market. The legal challenges posed will likely require the assistance of legal professionals in the region familiar with new ASEAN regulations as well as the internal regulatory frameworks of the various member states.

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7th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the value of trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to increase significantly in the coming months and years. In order to provide further insight into this issue it may be best to quote directly from a recent article posted on the website English.cri.cn:

Trade value between China and ASEAN nations is expected to top 300 billion U.S. dollars this year as the Free Trade Area (FTA) continues to offer boosts, said Xu Ningning, the executive secretary general of China-ASEAN Business Council. The FTA, which started operation since the beginning of last year, has boosted economic exchanges between China and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, Xu said Sunday at a forum in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province. The estimated amount will be higher than the 292.8 billion U.S. dollars registered between the two sides in 2010, up 37.5 percent from a year earlier. Customs data showed that in the first four months of this year, trade value between China and ASEAN nations rose 26.5 percent year-on-year to 110.2 billion U.S. dollars…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

The ASEAN community includes the following jurisdictions: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and the Kingdom of Cambodia. Many feel that these jurisdictions have a great deal of potential for economic growth in the future. Meanwhile, as can be gathered from the quotation above, China remains a vibrant economic actor which has been engaging the ASEAN economies. In previous postings on this blog it was noted that the United States of America and China are committed to cooperation in ASEAN engagement. Concurrently, China appears poised to create a rail link between Thailand and Greater China while a billion dollar Chinese trade complex is to be erected in Bangkok. In that vein, the Prime Minister of Malaysia was recently noted for discussing ASEAN relations with both China and India. To quote directly from the official website of Business Standard, Business-Standard.com:

After a speech calling for the establishment of a new multilateralism where nations, especially Asia, would not have to take sides between the United States and China, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) would not need to choose between India and China. “Asean is located between two great civilisations, China and India. Both these countries, as part of the Asean architecture, the Asean +3 and the East Asia Summit, are quite happy to accept Asean as the centrality in the whole process,” Najib said in reply to a question at the opening of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asian Security Summit: The Shangri La Dialogue. “Both these two countries want to engage constructively with Asean and (are) looking at ways and means of increasing their trade, investment and other forms of exchanges with the Asean countries. In short, I am quite optimistic we can develop a meaningful and constructive relationship with India and China,” he added…

In a geopolitical sense, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is positioned so as to enjoy trade benefits with both India and China, two of the world’s economies which are expected to show tremendous economic growth in the coming days, months, and years. This observation is made at a time when an inauguration of the Cambodian Securities Exchange is expected. To quote directly from the official website of Xinhua, Xinhuanet.com:

PHNOM PENH, May 30 (Xinhua) — Cambodia is scheduled to inaugurate the long-awaited Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on July 11, according to the statement of the finance ministry released to the media on Monday. And the first securities trading will begin towards the end of 2011, added the statement dated on May 26…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this article in detail. This blogger must point out that, although noted in the aforementioned article, it would seem that actual trading on the Cambodian Stock Exchange is apparently not expected to commence upon the exchange’s inauguration. To further elucidate this point it may be best  to quote directly from the official website of the Reuters News Service, Reuters.com:

May 30 (Reuters) – Trading on Cambodia’s long-awaited stock exchange, which was scheduled to start in July, has been delayed yet again until the end of the year because companies planning listings need more time to comply with regulations, operators said on Monday. Ek Sonn Chan, director general of state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), said there were many details still to be ironed out but his company was going ahead with plans for a $20 million flotation…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this story in further detail as it may provide further perspective upon these developments.

Clearly, there appear to be some bumps in the road toward getting this exchange operational. As with many things in Southeast Asia, it often takes a significant amount of time to undertake a substantial project such as the opening of a stock exchange. Interested parties are encouraged to conduct research into this issue until such time as the exchange’s trading operation is confirmed.

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