The Asia-Pacific Region – The Strategy for Future Development
The global financial, economic and reproduction crisis of 2008 – 2009 gave additional dynamism to economic processes developing in the Asia-Pacific economic space, accelerated its transformation into a major center of the world economy and trade.
This is not surprising, since over 50 states and territories adjoin this area of the planet, including the largest economic countries: India, China, USA, Japan, Canada, Russian Federation, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand etc. It is the Asia-Pacific region that is confidently leading in terms of GDP growth and foreign trade turnover, intensively increasing industrial production, demonstrating outstanding achievements in the effective commercial use of the results of scientific and technological progress, and actively introducing innovations. The generally recognized economic successes of many APR countries are based on their competitive advantages, provided by a high level of savings, relatively low (in most cases) labor costs, a course towards accelerated industrialization, and a clearly expressed export orientation of national economies.
Among the very different Asia-Pacific states, there are leaders and outsiders. To a decisive extent, the APR owes its geoeconomic rise to the PRC, which has become the second economy in the world and the world’s largest exporter of goods, primarily industrial ones.
Despite the impressive progress in economic development and increasing foreign trade turnover, an important geo-economic and geopolitical characteristic of this vast region remains the “blank slate phenomenon”. In other words, in the Asia-Pacific region (largely due to its gigantic scale), a network of stable strategic interests and strong mutual obligations of the leading world powers has not yet been created, there are no trade and economic associations of an integration type with the participation of, if not all, then at least, the main regional players.
In fact, multilateral mechanisms of interaction are just being formed here, without which it is impossible to effectively use the entire aggregate potential of the region. The experience of other regions of the world (primarily Europe) and life itself suggest that trade and economic cooperation in the APR should be carried out along two tracks:
- interethnic (bilateral contacts between countries);
- supranational (multilateral), which plays a special role in the development and promotion of regional projects, the development of unification processes.
The urgent need to create integration blocs has long been recognized by the political establishment and business communities of the Asia-Pacific states. It cannot be said that nothing has been done in this area so far. On the contrary, the countries of the Pacific Area have made a considerable number of attempts at economic unification, the formation of integration groups and the creation of regional development banks. Here are the most famous ones:
- APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (established in 1989 in Canberra, Australia, headquartered in Singapore, includes 21 members);
- ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (established in 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, the secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia, unites 10 member countries);
- Pacific Alliance – formed in 2012 by four Latin American countries: Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. There are 49 observer states;
- ADB – Asian Development Bank (founded in 1966, headquartered in Manila, Philippines. It includes 48 regional and 19 non-regional members);
- AIIB – Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (founded in 2014 in Beijing, where representatives of 21 countries signed a “Memorandum of Understanding.” Subsequently, the number of member states increased to 57, the headquarters is located in Beijing).
Nevertheless, the level of integration into the APR is clearly insufficient. The task of forming mega-regional associations of a new generation is urgent. The Obama administration set out to solve it, lobbying for the creation of the TPP, since it considered it vital for the trade, economic and strategic interests of the United States to consolidate and expand its positions in the Pacific region.