Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for January 2nd, 2010

China-ASEAN Trade Pact

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 2nd January, 2010

A new mega-free trade area has entered the world scene, with the inauguration of the China-South East Asia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which links the People’s Republic to the 10-nation ASEAN bloc. This will make the region an even more formidable player over the next decade. China’s commerce with South East Asia has rocketed in recent years, despite the economic crisis afflicting so much of the globe — a sixfold increase since 2000. China has leapfrogged the United States to become ASEAN’s third most important trading partner and is expected similarly to overtake Japan and the European Union before long. Under the new agreement, tariffs will be scrapped on 90% of goods, and duties will be gradually lowered on a number of sensitive items, including (somewhat picturesquely) Brunei ambulances, Indonesian popcorn and Thai snowboard boots. The strongest opposition to the new FTA has come from certain sectors in Indonesia. But this will not stop its implementation and no-one doubts that this is the part of the world where the biggest economic growth is likely to be registered in the short-term.

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