Saturday, January 16, 2010

ASEAN China Free Trade Zone

I haven't heard much talk about this. It will benefit people in terms of cheap goods from China, but will also drive down already low wages throughout the ASEAN countries.

It could provoke a lot of political instability because of the unemployment issues it will create.

From China's view, it is about reforging the traditional relationships that existed before the Western invasion, sort of a modern Chinese empire - with perhaps trappings of colonialist exploitation.

Filipino activist/scholar Walden Bello writes that "a second look makes one wonder if the relationship with China is not reproducing the old colonial division of labor, whereby low-value-added natural resources and agricultural products were shipped to the center while the Southeast Asian economies absorbed high-value added manufactures from Europe and the United States."

1"Indonesia back-tracks on China trade pact" - Channel News Asia
2"The China-Asean Free Trade Area: Propaganda and Reality" - Philippine Inquirer, Bello

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