Integrity Legal

20th June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that it appears Malaysia (a member nation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN) will not be hosting other ASEAN nations at the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID). To provide further insight it may be best to quote directly from an article written by M. Saraswathi and posted on the website Bernama.com:

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) — There are no plans to include Asean nations in the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) as it will be too big to manage, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today. Malaysia would maintain the present dialogue format between the African and Caribbean countries, he said. “No. We don’t want too many countries to be involved. We will maintain the present format of African and Caribbean countries,” he said when asked if Malaysia intends to include Asean countries in LID at a press conference here today. This year’s dialogue is being attended by African leaders such as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso, Ugandan Vice-President Edward Sekandi and Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the appropriate hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful article.

In this blogger’s opinion, one of the positive aspects of the ASEAN community, for the membership, is a sort of general flexibility. It could be inferred from the quotation above that Malaysia has a strong trade relationship with certain countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Such relationships make the Malaysian economy rather unique compared to her other counterparts in the ASEAN community. This uniqueness would seem to create various levels of comparative advantage for the Malaysian economy. Concurrently, the other jurisdictions of ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) are able to receive a kind of refractive benefit from Malaysia’s strong trade relations in Africa and the Caribbean since ASEAN nations are able to streamline their direct trading with Malaysia herself. How ASEAN will evolve in the future remains to be seen, but it is clear that ASEAN is quite unique amongst the various regional organizations around the globe. Hopefully, this uniqueness will result in tangible benefits for the citizenry of the various ASEAN countries and for ASEAN’s trading partners as well.

On a related note, China was in the news recently as it is being reported that China is expanding her foreign reserves into non-dollar denominated assets. To shed further light upon these developments it may be best to quote directly from an article written by Jamil Anderlini and Tracy Alloway and posted to the Financial Times website, FT.com:

China began diversifying away from the US dollar in earnest in the first four months of this year, most likely by buying far more European government debt than US dollar assets, according to estimates from Standard Chartered Bank. China’s foreign exchange reserves expanded by around $200bn in the first four months of the year, with three-quarters of the new inflow invested abroad in non-US dollar assets, the bank estimated. “It certainly appears that China’s finally following through on its policy to diversify its foreign reserve holdings away from the US dollar,” said Stephen Green, the bank’s chief China economist.

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to find out further details. Frequent readers of this web log may recall that the United States and China are apparently cooperating with regard to ASEAN engagement, but this news came amidst announcements that China had divested rather sizable holdings in US Treasuries. As China continues to show further economic dominance on the global stage it will likely prove interesting to see how this nation invests her financial resources. Hopefully as China and ASEAN continue their economic growth it will accrue to the benefit of all concerned.

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