Engine for Dynamism and Stability
Edited by Masahiro Kawai, Jong-Wha Lee, Peter A. Petri and Giovanni Capanelli
Chapter 10: Perceptions of Economic Interdependence: The View of Asian Opinion Leaders
Giovanni Capannelli The perception of Asia as an economic region is strengthening among regional opinion leaders. The results of a survey conducted in the second half of 2007 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) show the increasing importance that the region is assuming for 600 leading individuals from government, media, business and the academy in 12 Asian countries. In summary, the survey results show that Asian opinion leaders are thinking more of and more ‘Asia’. Although the views of experts who deal professionally with issues related to Asia’s economic cooperation and integration do not necessarily reflect grassroots perceptions, the survey’s results are a clear indication of the rapid emergence of Asian regionalism and the degree of progress achieved in various areas through different initiatives and mechanisms. A thorough interpretation of the results also provides useful insights towards shaping an agenda for Asia’s economic cooperation in the future. This chapter is organized as follows. Section 10.1 reviews the progress of Asia’s economic interdependence in various areas – from trade and investment to money and finance – and discusses regional initiatives for macroeconomic and structural policy cooperation. Sections 10.2 and 10.3 explain the background and objectives of the ADB survey and describe its methodology. The following sections introduce the survey results. Section 10.4 presents opinion leaders’ assessment of Asia’s economic interdependence and its costs and benefits. Section 10.5 analyzes major initiatives for economic cooperation, including the prospects for the formation of an Asia-wide free trade and investment area, an economic community and a common...
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